A certificate is proof that the vessel was found upon inspection to meet applicable standards. Certificates are issued for a specific time period, sometimes with requirements for periodical surveys.

The certificate is an important document that must always be available onboard and that can be checked at inspections, port state controls, calls in port, etc.

The Swedish Transport Agency issues certificates for Swedish vessels on national or international voyages. Formal agreements with five major international classification societies (American Bureau of Shipping, Bureau Veritas, Det Norske Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd and Lloyd’s Register) gives them the right to issue certificates on behalf of the Maritime Safety Inspectorate within certain areas.

The basic national safety certificates are defined in the Swedish Ship Safety Act 2003:364 as follows:

Trade Certificate: Proof that a vessel was found seaworthy when surveyed.

Passenger Ship Safety Certificate: Proof that a vessel was found suitable to carry passengers when surveyed and states the maximum permitted number of passengers the vessel may carry.

Load Line Certificate: Proof that the vessel’s freeboard has been established upon survey and that load lines have been marked correctly and permanently.

Safety Management Certificate: Proof that the vessel’s safety management organisation was found in compliance with the shipping company’s approved safety management organisation.

Document of Compliance on Safety Management: Proof that the shipping company’s safety management organisation has been approved upon survey of the shipping company.

There are also a number of more or less specialised certificates for various types of vessels and equipment.