Seafarer documents

The issuance of Certificates of Competency (in Dutch called the "vaarbevoegdheidsbewijs"), seaman’s book (the "monsterboekje") as well the as the recognition of foreign certificates are alle carried out by Kiwa register.

Kiwa register is designated as the official body for issuing seafarer documents on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in the Netherlands. Kiwa is an international commercial organisation active in quality assurance and certification.

Certificate of Competency

Every crew member on board a Dutch flagged vessel, needs to have a valid Certificate of Competency (¨vaarbevoegdheidsbewijs¨) or endorsement, which complies with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention). Kiwa issues these certificates to individuals who meet the requirements relating to competence, experience and physical fitness. Each position has its own requirements. Depending on the position and specific circumstances.

Masters and officers from countries outside the Netherlands may, under certain conditions, also be employed on Dutch flagged vessels. The STCW Convention states that seafarers who hold a Certificate of Competency from a country that has a mutual agreement with the Netherlands will be recognized (link to countries). Most relevant countries in this context, that are responsible for supplying qualified crew members to the international shipping sector, as well as all EU and EEA countries, are recognized. Masters and officers who have a foreign Certificate of Competency, which is covered by one of the earlier mentioned (mutual) agreements, only need to request an endorsement of their credentials. If your company has seafarers with a Certificate of Competency from a country not yet covered by the existing arrangements, a request can be forwarded to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

All foreign masters must once obtain a certificate for Dutch Maritime Law and Public order (in compliance with Regulation 1/10, paragraph 2 of the STCW) for masters holding foreign certificates of competency on ships registered in the Netherlands.

Please refer to the Kiwa website for Seafarers’ endorsements, including information on how to obtain them.

Certificates of Proficiency 

Besides Certificates of Competency, there are also Certificates of Proficiency (CoPs). Basically, these are documents which are issued after attending approved training programmes such as Basic Training and Advanced Fire Fighting. These certificates are issued by training institutions.  According to the STCW Convention there are additional CoP requirements for working on certain types of vessel (for instance tankers) or individual positions (for instance a cook).

Acceptance of foreign training certificates (CoPs) when applying for Dutch certificate 

Foreign training certificates from countries with which the Netherlands has an agreement that meets the conditions of STCW Regulation I/10 can be changed to a Dutch certificate for sailing on a Dutch flagged vessel after a request to Kiwa. The conditions for acceptance are the following: 

An overview of countries  that meet the STCW I/10 regulations can be found here.

Seaman’s book

Every seafarer on the muster roll must be in the possession of a valid seaman’s book (monsterboekje). Seafarers who do not have Dutch nationality can qualify with a foreign seaman’s book written in the English language or, when in another language, if a copy is also available in English.

More information can be obtained at Kiwa Register BV