UCSL and ASI update (from 7th of November 2022) to the clients/companies operating in geographical scope of "Russian Federation"

11 November 2022
UCSL United Certification Systems Limited is registered in Cyprus and continues to provide certification services in accordance with international standards MSC Fishery and Chain of Custody to companies registered and located in the Russian Federation with some limitations (see below).

According to the decision of Assurance Service International, certain restrictions came into force, namely, as of 15th of March 2022, CABs are not allowed to:

  • issue any new certifications (for both initial and transfer clients), add sites / groups members or issue scope extensions in Russia.
Note 1: MSC fisheries CABs are allowed to finish such certification processes if the applicant CH successfully passed the Announcement Comment Draft Report stage and signed a contract for full assessment with the CAB prior to 15 March 2022; i.e. Stage MSC-FCP-V2.2-7.11 "Decision to proceed to announcement by client" is completed before 15th of March.

Note 2: All other CABs are allowed to finish initial certification processes if the certification audit (remote or onsite) has started prior to 15 March 2022. Further applicable Scheme Owner decisions related to certification in Russia must be considered.

  • enter into new agreements for certification in Russia.
CABs may continue to conduct surveillance and recertification audits, until further notice from ASI and/or the MSC. CABs may further reduce the scope of their CHs. ASI will continue to conduct remote surveillance assessments for such CAB audits.

Can CABs provide surveillance and re-certification audits to existing certificate holders (CHs) based in Russia?

CABs may continue to conduct surveillance and recertification audits in Russia. However:

· CABs shall demonstrate to ASI, upon request that they are able to operate legally wherever they are based and in line with sanctions imposed in their jurisdiction. Upon request, CABs shall provide ASI with evidence that sanctions also do not apply to their client(s) prior to each audit.

Note: The term "sanctions" relates to official governmental sanctions imposed on Russia by – for example, but not limited to – the US, UK or EU, and applies to both the certified entity as well as individuals affiliated with the CH.

· Upon request, CABs shall demonstrate that they have the technical resources and capacity to undertake any assessments, whether for current CHs or for transfers-in, in accordance with MSC scheme requirements. Included within these assessments will be appropriate risk assessments and due diligence evaluations.

· In support of two abovementioned points, ASI reserves the right to conduct extra assessments (to assess the CAB evaluations above) before such transfers or audits can take place.

· ASI will continuously work with involved parties to monitor the developments and to make further adjustments to our oversight approaches and/or to CAB scopes as needed. CHs should contact their CAB for more information. ASI cannot guarantee that accreditation will be maintained without interruption since governmental regulations/sanctions which may also apply to ASI GmbH are outside of ASI's control.

Can existing certificates in Russia be maintained if CABs cannot do onsite audits of CHs?

Yes, as long as there are no other rules by Scheme Owners (e.g. variation requests, derogations), CABs may postpone such audits and extend expiry dates for an initial period of 6 months.

What happens to the validity of Certificate Holders (CHs) if a CAB stops providing certification in Russia? Can those CHs be transferred to another CAB?

ASI is determining on an ongoing basis which CABs can and are willing to accept such transfer requests to continue to operate in Russia. We will continuously work with involved parties to monitor the developments and to make further adjustments to our oversight approaches and/or to CAB scopes as needed. ASI's evaluation has been concluded with the following:

MSC Fisheries

The transfers of Russian fisheries certificates are only possible from a CAB that terminates or suspends its certification activities in Russia.

Note 1: The CAB shall provide ASI with evidence that sanctions do not apply to itself or to the fishery client group in providing certification services, prior to the next surveillance or re-certification audit.

Note 2: Each transfer will be assessed individually by ASI before a CAB can transfer the CH.

Note 3: After transfer of certificates ASI may also conduct any type or number of extra assessments considered necessary, at the sole discretion of ASI.

MSC Chain of Custody (CoC)

The transfers of Russian CoC certificates are only possible from a CAB that terminates or suspends its certification activities in Russia. CABs that can and are willing, at their own discretion, to accept CoC transfers are: SGS, UCSL, BVC, MRAG, SCS (traders only), CUP ( traders only)

Note 1: CH shall contact your MSC CAB for more information. MSC CHs of CABs that stop their operations in Russia may be transferred to a new CAB, and existing certificates may remain valid for a period of 90 days to permit CHs to undertake the transfer process with their new CAB.

Note 2: All CABS that have accepted transfers of CoC CHs in Russia shall provide evidence to ASI that sanctions do not apply to those CHs, or itself in providing certification services. This shall be provided on a monthly basis as a minimum, starting 01.10.22, and/or on request by ASI.

This decision is valid until further notice from ASI (Please note that the initial decision was valid for six months, i.e. until 15 September 2022). The Suspension will be lifted after ASI has re-evaluated the risks and confirmed that there are no more unacceptable risks to its reputation, commercial activities and safety of involved personnel. ASI will continuously monitor the situation in Russia and the Ukraine.

Please note that this suspension does not affect the certificate validity and trade of existing Certificate Holders, as long as there is no further decision by either the ASI, MSC or the UCSL.

UCSL alongside with MSC and ASI offer ongoing support to any fishers and supply chain partners with queries about the latest situation.

In case of any questions, please contact UCSL CEO, Olga Shuvalova: o.shuvalova@ucsl.eu

UCSL Marine Program Team