Caribbean Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate

The Shipping Inspectorate supervises commercial Dutch and foreign ocean-going vessels, crews, shipping companies and classification offices. IMO (International Maritime Organization) requires this oversight. The Shipping Inspectorate is part of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) and falls under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

The Caribbean Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate focuses specifically on vessel safety, crew, environmental protection, operations and loading for the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba).

There are offices on both Bonaire and St. Eustatius. The head office on Bonaire is managed by Chief Inspector Koert Heidergott and the office on St. Eustatius by Shipping Inspector Marniks Rink.

Every vessel operating in the waters of the Caribbean Netherlands must be registered. This requirement applies to pleasure craft, fishing boats as well as commercial shipping.

Pleasure craft and fishing boats up to 12m

Recreational and fishing vessels registered in the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius) must comply with the BES Vessels Act of 1930. Supervision in Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba is carried out by the harbour masters. They evaluate the ships, and issue the necessary registration cards.

Further information about the harbour offices on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba:

Commercial shipping

Oversight of this type of shipping activity is performed by the Caribbean Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate. The inspectorate monitors international commercial shipping under foreign flags (Port State Control, PSC) and international commercial shipping under the Dutch flag (Flag State Control, FSC).

Inspections of foreign ocean-going vessels (Port State Control, PSC)

ILT performs inspections of foreign-flagged ocean-going vessels in the ports and anchorages of the Caribbean Netherlands. The Caribbean Netherlands is a signatory to the Caribbean MoU on Port State Control. This memorandum constitutes an alliance between several Caribbean countries, with the goal of banning ships that do not meet international safety standards.

All participating countries conduct PSC inspections in the same way. This collaboration creates and promotes a level playing field in the region. Inspectors check vessels for compliance with safety, environmental and working conditions requirements, as agreed in the regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Inspections of Dutch ships (Flag State Control)

Inspections of ocean-going vessels flying the Dutch flag are performed in the Caribbean Netherlands in the same manner that they are in the Netherlands. Read more about inspections of Dutch ocean-going vessels.

Legislation and Caribbean codes

Ocean-going vessels operating around the Caribbean islands are subject to the international rules of Solas and Marpol. In addition, there are two specific international codes:

  1. SCV code: This code applies to passenger and cargo vessels between 5 and 24 meters in length.
  2. CCSS code: This code applies to cargo vessels longer than 24 meters but with internal volumes less than 500 GT. Ships falling under any of these codes must carry the associated certificate(s).

The most recent versions of the codes and Dutch maritime legislation can be found on the website of the Netherlands Regulatory Framework (NeRF).

Crew requirements for ships under the CCSS and SCV code

When performing any type of commercial activity, not just the vessel but also the crew must be certified. Ships subject to the conventions and CCSS must comply with the requirements of the STCW Convention on seafaring crew.

Vessels covered by the SCV code require the crew to have the appropriate certification, such as Boatmaster 1, 2 or 3, depending on the specific requirements set forth in the SCV code.

Requirements for ocean-going vessels registered in the Caribbean Netherlands

For local vessels operating within the established area boundaries, the rules are contained in the “Regeling veiligheid zeeschepen” (Marine vessel safety regulations), specifically in Annex 6 Article 41b. These regulations can also be found in Dutch legislation: - Regeling - Regeling zeevarenden - BWBR0032140 (

Ships that comply with these rules may qualify for a “Nationaal Veiligheidscertificaat” (National Safety Certificate). The sailing area to which this applies is defined for each island in the "Regeling veiligheid zeeschepen" and extends to several miles from the coast.

Boatmaster certificates and licenses

The required Boatmaster certificates can be obtained from an institution recognized by the Netherlands. To convert this certificate to a Boatmaster license further requires a VHF certificate, which can be obtained from the National Inspectorate for Digital Infrastructure (Rijksinspectie Digitale Infrastructuur, RDI) Depending on the license, a medical examination or general practitioner’s certificate may also have to be provided. Proof of accumulated nautical experience may be an additional requirement. It can be met by providing a seaman’s book or, if unavailable, a statement from an employer or from the harbour master. In addition, basic safety training may be required.

Once all the documents needed to apply for a Boatmaster license have been collected, the application form can be completed and, together with the required documents, mailed to the Caribbean Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate, which handles the issuance of the boatmaster licenses for Boatmaster 1, 2, and 3. Other documents, CoCs and seaman’s books can be obtained from KIWA.

Download: Statement Sailing Time Boatmaster

More information

For further information: ILT/Shipping, Caribbean Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate.



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