Waveney District Council

Port health

Ships sanitation, inspection and maritime declaration of health

Lowestoft Port Health Authority extends the full length of the Waveney District Council coast and 12 miles out to sea. The Food and Safety Team undertakes port health functions and carries out ship sanitation inspections anywhere within this area. This allows for the inspection at sea of larger vessels, unable to enter the confines of the port. 


Ships 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 IHRs 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 with
  • Ship Sanitation Control Certificates (where the public health authorities are satisified that procedures necessary to rid the ship of infection, contamination and/or their vectors/reservoirs have been effectively carried out).

The certificates carry a six month period of validity and can be renewed at any port authorised to issue such renewals. Lowestoft is authorised to issue both of the above certificates. The full list of authorised ports can be viewed on the WHO website, see list of authorised ports.

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


Charges - 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015

Gross Tonnage   Charge (£)
Up to 1,000 75
1.001 - 3,000 110
3,001 - 10,000 170
10,001 - 20,000 225
20,001 - 30,000 285
Over 30,000 Contact us.

With the exception of: 

  • Vessels with the capacity to carry between 50 and 1000 persons: £340
  • Vessels with the capacity to carry more than 1000 persons: £585.

Lowestoft Port Health Authority charges an additional £161 for inspections at sea (excluding launch hire). Where the time taken for an inspection exceeds 3 hours an hourly rate of £75.50 per hour will be charged based on the total trip time.

Extensions to Ship Sanitation Control Certificates will be charged at £50.


Ships Sanitation Inspection

Prior to arrival at the designated Port, it is essential that the Authority is presented with relevant documentation to assist us with the completion of the Ships Sanitation Inspection.  The documents that should be presented to this Authority include:

  • International Ship Port Security Notification (ISPS)
  • Port Waste Notification 
  • A copy of the previous Ships Sanitation Certificate
  • Maritime Declaration of Health.

Once an agreed time and date have been confirmed an officer will attend and carry out a Ships Sanitation Inspection, during the visit it will be expected that various areas of the vessel will be inspected, these may include:

  • Galley
  • Crew accommodation
  • The bridge
  • Deck areas
  • Waste storage.

For more information regarding Ships Sanitations please visit the Association of Port Health Authorities website or contact Lowestoft Port Health Authority on 01502 562111 or email environment@waveney.gov.uk


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.

If you have any queries regarding the requirements of the International Health Regulations 2005 or the ship sanitation certificate provisions, please contact us on 01502 562111 or email environment@waveney.gov.uk

Contact us

Telephone: 01502 562111

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