Certification of an Offshore Supply Vessel as a Passenger Vessel

Transport Publication - TP 13585 E


1. Process Flowchart 


2. Purpose 

2.1 This procedure describes the roles and responsibilities of the Authorized Representative (AR), Transport Canada Marine Safety (TCMS), and Recognized Organizations (RO) in authorizing and certifying Offshore Supply Vessels ( OSV s) to carry industrial personnel.

3. Authority

3.1 The procedure is authorized by the Marine Safety Executive (MSE).

4. Background 

4.1 The procedure describes the process by which Transport Canada permits OSV s to transport industrial personnel in accordance with the policy TRANSPORTATION OF INDUSTRIAL PERSONNEL ON OFFSHORE SUPPLY VESSELS ( RDIMS number 7034364).

4.2 Industrial personnel are often transported to and from offshore installations via OSV s and are classified as passengers. The SOLAS convention defines a passenger vessel as a vessel which carries more than twelve passengers. To carry up to 12 passengers a vessel must be SOLAS certified and to carry more than 12 passengers the OSV must be certified as a passenger vessel.  

4.3 Transport Canada Marine Safety has permitted OSV s to carry up to 36 passengers provided vessels meet the established standard of equivalency detailed in a letter dated June 23, 1998 and signed by the Director General of Marine Safety. The decision to allow up to 36 passengers was conditional upon a vessel meeting an equivalent level of safety in the following key areas: fire protection measures, lifesaving equipment, intact stability, subdivision and damage stability, accommodation standards, and drills and familiarization.

5. Scope

5.1 This procedure is applicable to AR , ROs and ARs carrying out activities specific to the inspection, certification, and operation and of OSV s engaged in the transportation of industrial personnel.

6. Responsibility

6.1 The Director of Domestic Vessel Regulatory Oversight is responsible for maintaining these procedures.

6.2 The Regional Directors are responsible for implementation and adherence of these procedures in their respective regions.

6.3 Comments or queries related to this policy and their application should be addressed to:

Manager, Flag State Inspection Standards
Phone: (613) 991-3142, e-mail: insp.stand-norm.insp@tc.gc.ca

7. Procedure

7.1 The AR requests to have their OSV certified as a passenger vessel in order to transport more than 12 industrial personnel. The request is made to AR , or to an RO where the vessel is enrolled in the Delegated Statutory Inspection Program (DSIP).

7.2 The AR submits all documentation and plans necessary to support the request for a Passenger Vessel Certificate. 

7.3 Either AR or the RO inspects the vessel in accordance with all applicable Canadian regulations for passenger vessels.

7.4 Following the inspection, where the vessel meets all the requirements for a passenger vessel, AR or the RO issues a Passenger Vessel Certificate.

7.5 If an OSV is inspected and deemed non-compliant, the AR can either make the modifications necessary to ensure compliance, or submit a request to the Marine Technical Review Board (MTRB) for an exemption from a specific passenger vessel regulatory requirement. The submission must propose an equivalent or higher level of safety in the areas where exemptions are requested. The MTRB reserves the right to establish limitations on the number of industrial personnel that can be transported.

7.6 Upon approval from the MTRB, the OSV is re-inspected to ensure the provisions establishing an equivalent level of safety are in place. Once verified, AR or the RO issues a domestic Passenger Vessel Certificate valid for unlimited voyages (Canadian ports only).

7.7 In all situations the issuance of a Vessel Passenger Certificate is conditional on the following being respected;

  • An OSV must carry a valid Safe Manning Document indicating the required complement and certification when engaged in the transportation of industrial personnel. The assessment to obtain the applicable Safe Manning Document may result in additional crewmembers or crewmembers being required to hold the Passenger Safety Management certificate /endorsement for vessel’s personnel, as per the Marine Personnel Regulations, Section 230.
  • The OSV must develop and adhere to procedures for the carriage of passengers. The procedures must include familiarization training and frequency of fire and survival craft drills. 
  • At no time shall the aggregate of crew and industrial personnel exceed the maximum number of certified berths aboard.

8. Related Documents 

8.1 Policy on transportation of industrial personnel by Offshore Supply Vessels.

9. Definitions

9.1 Offshore Supply Vessel: a vessel used for the transportation of stores, materials, equipment or personnel to, from and between offshore installations.

9.2 Industrial Personnel: individuals carried aboard an OSV who are employed in a phase of exploration, exploitation, or production of offshore mineral or energy resources on or at an offshore installation and who hold a valid MED or BST training certificate.

9.3 Offshore installation: means a marine structure located at an offshore site. The term includes: fixed production platforms; floating production platforms; floating storage units; any unit certificated as a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) or mobile offshore unit (MOU); accommodation units; seismic vessels; floating production, storage and operations units (FPSO, FSO, FSU or MOSU); and maintenance units.

10. Date of Application 

10.1 This procedure is effective from the date on January 01, 2012.

11. Date for Review 

11.1 This procedure will be reviewed 12 months after it has come into effect and at intervals of 3 years after the initial review.

12. RDIMS Reference 

12.1 The English version of this document is saved in RDIMS under reference number 7036042 – PROCEDURE – CERTIFICATION OF AN OFFSHORE SUPPLY VESSEL AS A PASSENGER VESSEL.

12.2 La version française du présent document est dans le SGDDI et porte le numéro de référence 7173273 – PROCÉDURE – CERTIFICATION DES NAVIRES RAVITAILLEURS AU LARGE COMME UN BÂTIMENT À PASSAGERS).

13. Keywords 

  1. Offshore Supply Vessels
  2. Industrial personnel


Guidelines for Establishing Equivalencies for Offshore Supply Vessels

When transporting more than 12 industrial personnel, Offshore Supply Vessels ( OSV s) are considered to be passenger vessels. However, it is known that OSV s may not meet all regulatory requirements for a passenger vessel. Accordingly, the Authorized Representative (AR) for an OSV wishing to transport more than 12 industrial personnel is required to submit a request to the Marine Technical Review Board (MTRB) for an exemption from specific regulatory requirements that the vessel does not meet. In order to grant such an exemption, the MTRB request must demonstrate an equivalent or higher level of safety.

This guideline document lists several common areas where OSV s may not meet passenger vessel requirements, as well as some demonstrated equivalencies that have been accepted by the Board in the past. Information contained in this document can be used as guidance when preparing the MTRB request. This list is not exhaustive and the particulars of each vessel and proposed equivalencies will be considered by the MTRB during its deliberations. 
Depending on the design, an OSV may be capable of meeting some or all of the regulatory requirements described below. An assessment must be carried out for each vessel.

Fire Protection Measures

The requirement to divide the vessel in main vertical and horizontal zones does not apply.
If the vessel does not meet the structural fire protection requirements for a passenger vessel  :

  • The vessel must comply with Part X of the Hull Construction Regulations. The Board has previously accepted this as an equivalency for the carriage of up to 36 passengers (industrial workers).
  • An efficient patrol system must be maintained when the vessel is engaged in the transportation of industrial personnel so that an outbreak of fire can be promptly detected.
  • Risk factors for fire in the accommodation space should be minimized, such as prohibition of smoking except in designated areas and restriction of industrial personnel from certain areas of the vessel.
  • Frequency of fire and survival craft drills must be in accordance with the Fire and Boat Drill Regulations for a vessel carrying passengers.

Primary Life Saving Equipment

If the vessel does not meet the requirements for a Class I or II ship, Life Saving Equipment Regulations:

  • The lifesaving equipment must be based on the total persons on board and must comply with the relevant provisions for a new Class IX ship as prescribed in the Life Saving Equipment Regulations.
  • Before each voyage:
    • Survival suits provided must be verified to ensure that they are of an appropriate size for each member of the complement, including industrial personnel.
    • Verify that industrial personnel carried on board have a valid Marine Emergency Duty (MED) or Basic Safety Training (BST) and current medical clearance.
    • Although industrial personnel may not be assigned specific duties in relation to the muster list, they must receive vessel familiarization training in accordance with the Marine Personnel Regulations section 205 (1).

Intact Stability

The vessel, in the condition of a full complement, should meet the requirements of one of the following:

  • Stability, Subdivision and Load Line Standards ( TP 7301) Stab 5, Stab 6 or Stab 7; or
  • IMO Intact Stability Code 2008 Part A and Part B section 2.4 as applicable.

Subdivision and Damage Stability

The vessel must meet the requirements of the standard TP 10943 (Passenger Vessel Operations and Damaged Stability).

  • Consideration may be given for a reduced transverse damage penetration in some areas.

If the vessel does not meet the requirements of TP 10943:

  • The vessel must meet Section 3 from IMO Resolution MSC 235.(82) Design and Construction of Offshore Supply Vessels, 2006 on subdivisions and damage stability. Vessels built prior to 2006, if unable to meet the requirements of Section 3 from IMO Resolution MSC 235.(82), must comply with Section 3 from Resolution A-469(XII) Design and Construction of Offshore Supply Vessels.


Sleeping accommodations must be supplied for the complement of the vessel, including all industrial personnel and shall not exceed the certified number of berths for the vessel. Accommodations are to comply with Crew Accommodation Regulations and Marine Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. The MTRB process cannot be used for exemptions from requirements prescribed by the MOHS regulations.

Voyage Data Recorders

Voyage data recorders will become mandatory for certain passenger vessels when the Voyage Data Recorder Regulations come into force (presently at Gazette 1).  As passenger vessels, all OSV s over 500 gross tonnage which intend to carry more than 12 industrial personnel, will be required to comply with the requirements of the Voyage Data Recorder Regulations.

Other Measures

The MTRB may establish further requirements for each vessel, which may include limitations on the maximum number of industrial personnel that may be transported.