[INFOGRAPHIC] Certificate of Free Pratique in Brazilian ports: understand more about the subject

  • 07/05/2019
  • 11 minutes

For merchandise circulation, operation, and docking, every vessel that arrives at a Brazilian port needs a CFP, the Certificate of Free Pratique (in Portuguese, “Certificado de Livre Prática”, or CLP). Know more about this document issued by Anvisa to guarantee health safety on the ships at the ports.

You can also listen to this article in the audio version.

The history of navigation was certainly transformed when the health conditions on the vessels started to become more sophisticated. Before that, for many months at a time, ships and big vessels carried people, viruses, and bacteria with no criteria from one side of the world to the other.

Nowadays, the care dedicated to regulating the activities of the ships and investigating their hygiene and health conditions guarantee the health of the crew and the passengers, as well as the quality of the products being transported.

Summing this question up quickly, it’s worth remembering the moment when the International Health Regulations was created in 1969, and revised in 2005. Approved at an Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO), it advocates fundamental measures to prevent, protect, control, and offer a public health response against the international spread of diseases.

In parallel, in Brazil during 1999, a law defined the National Health Surveillance System, which created the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa). With the institutional goal of promoting the population’s health protection, it does the health control of the production and commercialization of products, including of the environments, processes, airports, borders, and ports.

Thus, it falls to Anvisa the responsibility of product regulation, health inspection, and the health status of travelers on the vessels. Therefore, the organization created the Certificate of Free Pratique (CFP), a non-transferable document that guarantees the analysis of these operating conditions.

No ship operates or docks without presenting this certificate. Because of its relevance and meaning, we’ve talked to José Roque, executive director of the Shipping Agencies Syndicate of São Paulo, who will further explain the subject.

What is the Certificate of Free Pratique? Understand

To guarantee the right to operate, Anvisa issues this permit called Certificate of Free Pratique. With it, the vessel has the right to operate, as long as it keeps good health conditions on board.

For that, the documents and places from the information presented at the moment of the request are analyzed. A health inspection may also be carried out before the ship sails away.

In order for the Certificate of Free Pratique to be issued, the inspection must happen in the light of day, until 4 p.m. at the most. “After that time, the ship must remain docked and inoperative”, explains José Roque, “and the inspection is transferred to the next day, from 9 a.m.”. This rigor results from an instruction from the World Health Organization.

Without a valid certificate, the entry or exit of persons is prohibited, as well as the beginning of any operation. The exception is on the case of vessels going through grave health matters on board or justified emergency situations.

When, how, and who should request the certificate?

The request of the Certificate of Free Pratique must be done with a maximum advance of 48 hours and a minimum of 24 hours of the vessel’s estimated time of arrival at the port.

It’s worth considering that, in some ports, where Anvisa’s stations provide service only on working days, the CFP can be requested with a maximum advance of 72 hours.

The shipping agent is the one responsible for requesting it via the “Porto Sem Papel” system, in obedience to all the health requirements. The ship’s commander informs the agency if there are or there aren’t sick people on board through the Maritime Declaration of Health and sends in the relevant documentation.

According to Roque, vessels operating on long-distance navigation, cabotage, interior, maritime and/or port support might also request the Certificate of Free Pratique to the health authority in exercise at the port of health control to which it is destined, when it’s not carrying a valid CFP.

Two models can constitute the Certificate of Free Pratique. Check it out:

  • Free Pratique on board: issued after the health inspection;
  • Free Pratique via radio: issued with no health inspection previous to its docking.

“We must highlight that the Certificate of Free Pratique via radio is always issued after a documental analysis that’s considered satisfactory in relation to the information”, explains the executive director, “but that doesn’t exempt the vessel of being submitted to a health inspection”.

How does Anvisa analyze requests? Find out

Of all the consenting organizations, Anvisa is the first one to have access to the ship, as a guarantee and a prevention to public health.

Anvisa’s inspector carries out an analysis of the documentation handed in by the shipping agent as soon as the request is filed with the agency.

If the inspector deems it necessary, a health inspection of the vessel is solicited. Afterward, if everything has been considered satisfactory, he or she can approve the request and issue the related Certificate.

What is the certificate’s validity?

The Certificate of Free Pratique is valid throughout the period the vessel remains at the health control port. Vessels carrying a Brazilian or a foreign flag receive a Certificate of Free Pratique valid for 90 days.

Ships with a Transit Time inferior to 12 hours might request the CFP if it has already set sail from the port before the one where it’s scheduled. In this case, it’s important to keep the Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH) updated.

If the health certificate expires, the agent might request a 30-day extension before its expiration date. Roque points out the fact that, if that’s not done, a new fee will be charged and another inspection must be requested.

What are the necessary documents to request the Certificate of Free Pratique?

Vessels that request the CFP must hand in the following documents to the health authority at the health control port — when requesting the certificate or the arrival communication:

  • Maritime Health Declaration, signed by the commander or by someone designated by him or her;
  • list of travelers, with their respective places and dates of embarking and disembarking;
  • declaration of Health Responsibility;
  • a copy of a valid Certificate of Exemption from Health Control on Board or Certificate of Health Control of Board, or its nationwide equivalents signed by the commander or by someone designated by him or her;
  • a copy of the last Certificate of Free Pratique issued in the ship’s country.

It’s important to check if the health certificates have been issued by ports that are properly regulated in the World Health Organization list, because only those are valid.

Anvisa’s portal also informs that petitions with missing documents, and forms and declarations filled out incorrectly or with missing or false information are not subjected to technical requirements, leading to the summary rejection of the petition.

Alongside the Certificate of Free Pratique, there are also other certificates, such as Deratization, Disinfection, Decontamination, among others, each one with a relevant role in navigation.

Since sailing is a need, we invite you to learn a little more about the future of logistics in the next few years.