DNV GL introduces electronic signatures for fleet in service documents

Electronic signatures are becoming easier, more secure and more common in all industries, shipping included. To make fleet in service documents accessible from anywhere in the world, DNV GL will soon begin issuing documents with electronic signatures.


Relevant for all ship owners and managers, flag states and port state authorities.

In mid-November, survey reports and selected forms will be issued with an electronic signature, and class and statutory certificates will follow in the second quarter of 2017.

This offers the following benefits: 

  • The documents are published on our customer portal My DNV GL immediately upon completion of a survey and are passed on to the ship captain as well as the ship manager’s office. This also applies to documents issued from a DNV GL office, for example when updating a list of cargo for chemical tankers.
  • Documents with electronic signatures are both safe and easy to share with charterers, ports, flag administrations, insurers and other stakeholders. The documents cannot be changed by the receiver without breaking the signature, and the validity of a document can be verified through an online authentication service. 
  • Once electronic certificates are included in this initiative in 2017, electronic signatures and storing will lower the risk of losing certificates. Furthermore, issues such as wrong or missing endorsements, stamps or signatures will be eliminated. 

How does the electronic signature work?

The electronic signature solution used by DNV GL satisfies the requirements of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as laid down in FAL.5/Circ.39/Rev.2 (Guidelines for the use of electronic certificates).

A signature panel is shown at the top of the document viewer. If a document is tampered with, a text box will appear stating that this document is not authentic. The documents carry an electronic seal and a unique tracking number (UTN) for the purpose of checking their validity and authenticity. The validity of the documents can be checked through an authentication service by accessing and entering the UTN and the ship’s DNV GL ID. This service will be available from 13 November 2016.

Looking ahead towards electronic certificates in 2017

Certificates with electronic signatures have been successfully piloted on ferries trading between Copenhagen and Oslo and supported by Danish (flag state) and Norwegian (port state) maritime administrations. The pilot will now be expanded with tankers flying the Bahamas flag, and with key customers in Singapore and the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority. The pilots give valuable experience from stakeholders such as flag administrations, port state control and vetting companies. This experience will be useful when class and statutory certificates with electronic signatures are issued for all vessels from the second quarter of 2017.


DNV GL is working towards a more effective way of doing business, and e-signatures are only one of many ways to facilitate your daily business. We recommend our customers to embrace the e-signatures: it’s safe, it’s effective, and it’s the future.


IMO webpage on electronic business


For more information, please contact your local DNV GL office. empty