What is the Purpose of load line certificate and what is load line exemption certificate ?

Load line certificate certifies that vessel complies with the loadline convention. Loadline convention basically limits the ships on the minimum freeboard it needs to maintain. The minimum freeboard required by the loadline convention is calculated by taking into account many factors including reserve buoyancy of the ship.

Loadline convention applies to ships of more than 24 meters in length.

Not all ships of more than 24 meters in length need to comply with loadline convention. There are some exemptions to it whuch are detailed in article 6 of the loadline convention.

Article 6 - Exemptions

(1). Ships when engaged on international voyages between the near neighbouring ports of two or more States may be exempted by the Administration from the provisions of the present Convention, so long as they shall remain engaged on such voyages, if the Governments of the States in which such ports are situated shall be satisfied that the sheltered nature or conditions of such voyages between such ports make it unreasonable or impracticable to apply the provisions of the present Convention to ships engaged on such voyages.

(2). The Administration may exempt any ship which embodies features of a novel kind from any of the provisions of this Convention the application of which might seriously impede research into the development of such features and their incorporation in ships engaged on international voyages. Any such ship shall, however, comply with safety requirements, which, in the opinion of that Administration, are adequate for the service for which it is intended and are such as to ensure the overall safety of the ship and which are acceptable to the Governments of the States to be visited by the ship.

(3). The Administration which allows any exemption under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Article shall communicate to the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (hereinafter called the Organization) particulars of the same and reasons therefore which the Organization shall circulate to the Contracting Governments for their information.

(4). A ship which is not normally engaged on international voyages but which, in exceptional circumstances, is required to undertake a single international voyage may be exempted by the Administration from any of the requirements of the present Convention, provided that it complies with safety requirements which, in the opinion of that Administration, are adequate for the voyage which is to be undertaken by the ship. 

When exemptions to any ships is allowed as per article 6 of the loadline convention, The vessel is provided with a "Loadline Exemption Certificate".

Bottom point is that all ships of over 24 meter in length to which loadline convention applies need to either have a

  • Loadline certificate or
  • Loadline exemption certificate