Alert, response, and capacity building under the International Health Regulations (IHR)

Note on arrangements for the issuance of Ship Sanitation Certificates

As of 15 June 2007 the International Health Regulations (2005) ("IHR (2005)") have introduced new certification procedures for ships. The new certificates are entitled Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate/Ship Sanitation Control Certificate ("Ship Sanitation Certificates" or "SSC"). These SSC replace the previous Deratting/Deratting Exemption certificates ("DC/DEC") provided for under the 1969 Regulations.

Ports Listing

WHO is requesting information from States Parties regarding which ports each State Party is authorizing to issue these certificates and their extensions thereto. As it becomes available, this information will be made accessible through the "SSC Ports List" which will be published on this website.

It should be noted that the listing of ports authorized by States Parties for the purpose of issuing SSC is not the same as the separate designation by them of points of entry for development of core public health capacities as specified under Annex 1B of the IHR (2005). Such designations not only include international ports but also airports and ground crossings, and the capacities required extend beyond inspection and certification1.

Validity of Deratting Certificates

Deratting Certificates issued prior to 15 June 2007 remain valid for a maximum of six months after the date of their issuance. Accordingly, in the six month period from 14 June to 14 December 2007 both unexpired DC/DEC and newly issued SSC will be in use. After 15 December 2007, no Deratting Certificate will be valid.

Advice in respect of the period of introduction of SSC

A number of States have indicated that they may not be in a position to implement all of the requirements relating to these new SSC immediately as of 15 June 2007.

a) Arriving ships. In order to minimize potential short-term disruptions to international traffic, States Parties may wish to consult with each other with a view to considering transitional measures concerning the SSC; such measures may relate to exercising their discretion under the IHR (2005) not to require application of sanitary measures based solely upon the failure of an arriving ship to produce an SSC. Please note that this approach would not in any way affect the right of competent authorities to take sanitary measures based upon evidence of a public health risk found on board or otherwise as provided under the IHR (2005)1.

b) Recording of sanitary measures. Some provisions in the IHR (2005) require that when a State Party applies sanitary measures to a ship, or is not able to carry out required control measures or re-inspection is required, information on the evidence found and control measures applied (or needed) must be recorded on the SSC. (E.g., Articles 27.2, 39.5; Annex 5.2 and 5.5).

For this purpose, States Parties may note that the relevant certificate in Annex 3 (Model Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate / Ship Sanitation Control Certificate) is available in electronic format on the WHO web site, and may be copied for use in this context. If so used, States Parties must include the name of the applicable State Party on the certificate. Please note that the WHO logo, in any format, may not be included at this time.

Interim technical advice on inspection and certification

Based on the work of the WHO informal transportation working group the WHO Secretariat is preparing interim technical advice on these issues, which will be made available on this web page.


1 Provisions relating to the issuance of Ship Sanitation Control Exemption/Ship Sanitation Control Certificates include: Articles 20.2 & .3, 27 and 39; Annexes 3, 4-5.

Provisions relating to the core capacity requirements at points of entry include: Articles 20.1, .4 &. 5 and 21; Annex 1B.

2 In this regard, States Parties may refer to Articles 27 and 39, and in particular Article 39.2, which provides that "if a valid Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate or Ship Sanitation Control Certificate is not produced or evidence of a public health risk is found on board a ship, the State Party may proceed as provided in paragraph 1 of Article 27" (which concerns application of sanitary measures).

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