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Lowestoft Port

Lowestoft Port Health Authority extends along 17km (27 miles) of coastline and 12 miles out to sea. Our Food and Safety Team undertakes port health functions and carries out ship sanitation inspections within the confines of the port.

Ship Sanitation

Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate/Ship Sanitation Control Certificate are issued by the Authority to identify and record all areas of ship-borne public health risks together with any required control measures to be applied.

The certificates as explained in para 2.4 of International Health Regulations (IHRs) 2005 are concerned with disease in a wider sense that encompasses both infection and contamination. Potentially a number of infectious diseases or kinds of contamination could be spread by ships. Accordingly the IHR's 2005 provide for ships engaged in international journeys to be issued with:

  • Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificates (where public health authorities have inspected a ship and found no evidence of infection or contamination, or of vectors or reservoirs of infection and contamination or of microbiological, chemical and other risks to human health, or signs of inadequate sanitary measures) or
  • Ship Sanitation Control Certificates (where the public health authorities are satisfied that procedures necessary to rid the ship of infection, contamination and/or their vectors/reservoirs have been effectively carried out)
  • Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificates and Ship Sanitation Control Certificates are valid for a maximum of six months. This period may be extended by one month if the inspection or control measures required cannot be accomplished at the port. An extension certificate may be granted up to 30 days before the expiry date of the existing Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate or Ship Sanitation Control Certificate.

Lowestoft port is authorised to issue all four of the above certificates.

The charges for the certificates are reviewed by the Association of Port Health Authorities and it recommends a national rate to its members.

Certificate charges - 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

Gross TonnageCurrent Rate (20/21)
Up to 1,000 £100 
1.001 - 3,000 £135 
3,001 - 10,000 £205 
10,001 - 20,000 £265 
20,001 - 30,000 £340 
Over 30,000 £400 
Vessels with 50 - 1000 persons £400
Vessels with 1000 persons £680 
Extensions to Ship Sanitation Control Certificates £70 

Inspections are only carried out on vessels that have arrived at the port. We do not carry out ship sanitation inspections for ships at sea. Ship sanitation requests that have been booked with officers and cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice will still be charged and invoiced at the full fee.

Please be aware 10 working days’ notice should be given when applying, in order for us to prepare the necessary paperwork and schedule the inspection.

Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificates

In response to the current Coronavirus pandemic, Lowestoft Port Health Authority has made changes to the way that we carry out physical ship sanitation inspections to minimise the risks to both our staff and seafarers on board vessels. We will assess the ship’s documents and systems by electronic means beforehand to minimise the time that Port Health Officers spend on board vessels which will reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Should any crew members have symptoms of Covid-19 or test positive prior to the ship inspection the inspecting officer must be informed immediately by contacting 03330 162 000.

Prior to a physical ship sanitation inspection please upload copies of the following documents when you apply:

  • Crew List
  • Current Maritime Declaration of Health
  • Existing Ship Sanitation Certificate
  • Food hygiene training record(s) for the cook
  • Food Safety Management System including temperature records
  • Garbage Log for the last 28 days
  • General arrangement plan (schematic drawing of the vessel)
  • Medical Log for the last 3 months
  • Medical Chest Certificate
  • Potable Water Test Reports (drinking water analysis for E coli, Enterococci, coliforms)
  • The International Sewage Pollution Prevention Plan
  • Your most recent Legionella Policy / Test Reports including any water temperature records

Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate Request form

Ship Sanitation Extension Certificates

In addition to a physical ship sanitation, Lowestoft Port Health Authority also issue Ship Sanitation Extension Certificates. The extension will be valid for one month. You can apply for the extension as many times as needed whilst the current Coronavirus pandemic is ongoing.

In order to facilitate the certificate extension please upload copies of the following documents when you apply:

  • A fully completed up-to-date Maritime Declaration of Health
  • Copy of Medical Log for the last 3 months
  • Crew list
  • Existing valid Ship Sanitation Certificate (this must not have expired)

If the documentary check is satisfactory we will stamp the current Ship Sanitation Certificate with the extension stamp, sign it and date it as extended for 30 days. We will email a colour scan back to the vessel/shipping agent.

Maritime Declaration of Health

A Maritime Declaration of Health is the form used to provide such information. It covers:

  • details of the ship
  • status of any Ship Sanitation Certification
  • number of passengers
  • previous ports visited
  • health questions, including whether:
    • anyone has died on board
    • anyone is sick
    • there is any case of disease which could be infectious
    • there is any condition that could lead to the spread of disease

This information ensures compliance with Article 37 of the International Health Regulations 2005.

A Maritime Declaration of Health must be completed by the Master of the vessel and countersigned by the ship's surgeon if one is carried. It should be delivered to the Medical Officer of Health or a health protection officer. In practice, completed Maritime Declarations of Health are sent to the vessel's agent for forwarding to health authorities, or given to a Customs Officer to forward.

Any illness reported on the Maritime Declaration of Health should have been declared on the Advance Notice of Arrival or the 'no change of health status' form.

Where an illness is reported, the Maritime Declaration of Health should be handed directly to a health protection officer or medical officer of health upon arrival, unless authorities advise otherwise.

Granting of pratique

Health officials may grant quarantine clearance (pratique) provided the following are true:

  • The Advance Notice of Arrival form is received within the prescribed time
  • A 'no change of health status' message is received within 12-24 hours of arrival
  • The Medical Officer of Health or a Health Protection Officer is satisfied there is no quarantinable disease or other public health threat on board the ship

A ship with an illness on board that is not a quarantinable disease, or does not constitute a grave danger to public health, will usually still be granted pratique. The Medical Officer of Health will liaise with the incoming vessel prior to arrival to determine whether any measures are required to manage potential public health risks.

Advice that pratique has been granted will be provided to the:

  • Ship's Master
  • Harbourmaster and/or pilot
  • Customs Service
  • MAF Quarantine Services
  • Ship's agent

East Suffolk Council does not offer potable water testing. If you need this service, please use an appropriate United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited laboratory or service. Further information from UKAS