Marine Services Fees

You Asked About... Precision Navigation Systems Discount as Applied to the Marine Navigation Services Fee (MNSF)

Caution and Disclaimer

While all possible care was taken to insure consistency with the Marine Navigation Services Fee Schedule in this pamphlet produced by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), the Fee Schedule shall take precedence in the event of a discrepancy between the contents of this pamphlet and the Fee Schedule.


On May 26, 1996, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans issued a bulletin regarding a reduction in the Marine Navigation Services Fee (MNSF) for all ships subject to the fee that were operating with a Precision Navigation System (PNS) on board. This 5% reduction, effective June 1, 1996, signals that the Canadian Coast Guard recognizes the significant safety and efficiency benefits of on board and operational precision navigation systems. For further details regarding the Coast Guard’s interim "Standard for ECDIS and DGPS", see Annex I of the Fee Schedule – "Fees to Be Paid for Marine Navigation Services Provided by the Canadian Coast Guard".


Question 1:

What is a Precision Navigation System (PNS)?


Answer to question 1:

A Precision Navigation System (PNS) is composed of two navigational electronic data information systems. The first is an Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) which displays information from a System Electronic Navigational Chart with positional information from navigational sensors that help to assist the mariner in route planning and monitoring. The second, is the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) which is used for terrestrial long range navigation by using transmitted corrections from satellite signals originating from the United States DOD Global Positioning System (GPS).


Question 2:

Why a PNS discount?


Answer to question 2:

The installation of PNS systems meeting Coast Guard’s interim standard on board vessels operating in Canadian waters has the potential to reduce the risks of marine accidents/incidents and eventually lead to a reduced demand for navigational aids and corresponding cost reductions in the provision of these services by the CCG. The PNS discount is the CCG’s way of encouraging the commercial shipping industry to embrace this new navigational technology.


Question 3:

How does PNS affect me as the owner/operator of a vessel?


Answer to question 3:

The PNS discount has the potential to reduce your MNSF by 5%. As an owner/operator of a vessel you are entitled to apply for a 5% reduction in the MNSF as long as your vessel meets or exceeds the Interim Standard set out in Annex I of the "Fees to be Paid for Marine Navigation Services Provided by the Canadian Coast Guard".


Question 4:

What vessels are eligible for consideration for a PNS discount?


Answer to question 4:

All vessels (i.e. foreign flag, Canadian registered and Coasting Trade) that are subject to payment of the MNSF fee are eligible to be considered for the 5% PNS discount.


Question 5:

What is the significance of November 1, 1999?


Answer to question 5:

On November 1, 1999, the CCG’s revised compliance policy on PNS discounts took effect. On that date, vessels which have not yet been assigned PNS numbers by the CCG will not receive the 5% PNS discount until their owners/operators have made application for the discount.


Question 6:

Why do I need to complete an application for PNS regarding MNSF?


Answer to question 6:

A PNS reduction is not automatically given to a vessel. The vessel must qualify to receive the reduction in the MNSF. In order for the CCG to verify what PNS you have on board your vessel(s), an application must be submitted to the Marine Services Fees, Billing, Collection and Compliance (MSFBCC) office with all the details of your PNS on board. Documents to be completed and submitted consist of an Application Form with a "Checklist of Required Features" detailing the registered features of your systems. Upon review of your application by a CCG expert on PNS systems, either a Letter of Acceptance or Denial will be sent directly to you and/or your agent of record.


Question 7:

What does the Letter of Acceptance/Denial say and why do I need it?


Answer to question 7:

After the CCG has reviewed your application for the PNS discount and if it has been approved, a Letter of Acceptance will be sent to you and/or your agent of record. This letter states that your vessel qualifies to receive the PNS discount and your agent can apply the discount on your vessel’s MNSF invoices when preparing them for payment. This letter also issues you a unique PNS number for your vessel which your agent should note on all MNSF invoices issued to your vessel. If your application is denied, the CCG will provide you with a Letter of Denial stating why your systems did not qualify.


Question 8:

If I am denied the PNS discount on my initial application, can I re-apply again?


Answer to question 8:

If, at a later date, PNS systems on board a vessel are updated, simply send in the old evaluation with your new system specifications and the CCG will re-evaluate your vessel’s on board PNS systems and notify you if you qualify for the discount on your MNSF fees at that time.


Question 9:

How often do I have to submit an application to the MNSF office for my vessel?


Answer to question 9:

You need only submit one application for each vessel applying for the PNS discount. The discount will apply for the life of the vessel provided the on-board systems remain the same.


Question 10:

What if a vessel is handled by a different agent each time it calls a Canadian port? How will these agents know if the vessel qualifies for a PNS discount?


Answer to question 10:

The MSFBCC office will maintain an updated list of all vessels qualifying for the PNS discount. This list will be made available to shipping agents before November 1st and agents will be notified periodically of additions to the list. A list of vessels issued PNS numbers can also be obtained by directly contacting the MSFBCC office.


Question 11:

Who applies the PNS discount to foreign flag vessels? Canadian registered vessels? Coasting Trade vessels?


Answer to question 11:

Shipping agents handling foreign flag vessels apply the discount to MNSF invoices issued by them to these vessels based on a continuously updated list of vessels issued PNS numbers provided to agents by the CCG. The CCG applies the PNS discount, if applicable, on MNSF invoices it sends directly to Canadian registered and Coasting Trade vessels.


Question 12:

What happens if my vessel makes several calls at Canadian ports after I have submitted the application and before the Coast Guard makes a final determination on its eligibility for the discount?


Answer to question 12:

If the vessel qualifies, the CCG will reimburse 5% of the MNSF fee paid by a vessel, minus the agent administrative fee, for each loading/unloading at a Canadian port from the time of the receipt of the application for the discount until the time of a formal decision on the matter by the CCG. Each subsequent trip by that vessel to any Canadian port will only require the PNS number to be shown on the invoice submitted to DFO Revenue Accounting for the PNS discount to be given.


Question 13:

What if all the vessels I own/operate have all the same PNS systems on board?


Answer to question 13:

If you own/operate vessels with identical PNS systems on board, you need only submit one application with the specifications of the systems on board, as well as a list of all the vessels on which these systems are installed.


Question 14:

How are tug and barge combinations treated in relation to the PNS discount?


Answer to question 14:

Tug and barge combinations, regardless of physical configuration, are treated as two separate vessels, except in the Western Region where barges are exempted from payment of the fee. Each vessel is required to have its own on board and operating PNS system in order to qualify for the 5% discount.


Question 15:

What is a Letter of Compliance and where do I obtain one?


Answer to question 15:

A Letter of Compliance is issued by the CCG directly to a manufacturer of a PNS system once its system has been approved. The letter states that the approved product meets or exceeds the interim standard needed for the CCG to issue a 5% fee reduction to vessels billed the MNSF. For quicker processing of applications sent to the CCG, vessel owners/operators should ask the manufacturer of their PNS equipment for the Letter of Compliance. This Letter of Compliance will ensure a quicker assignment of a PNS number to your vessel as it indicates that your system has already been approved by the Coast Guard.


Question 16:

If I sell my vessel or if it changes name, do I have to contact the Coast Guard or, as a new owner/operator, do I have to re-submit an application?


Answer to question 16:

The CCG would like to be informed of any new vessel owner or name changes and it is the responsibility of the former owner to inform the CCG of a sale. If the name of a vessel changes, a new PNS application is not required, and the vessel would continue to be assigned its original PNS number. If you are unsure of your vessel’s PNS number, please contact the MSFBCC office.


Question 17:

When applying the PNS discount to a foreign flag vessel invoiced the MNSF, does the agent have to quote the PNS number of the vessel?


Answer to question 17:

Yes, the CCG requires that the agent note the vessel’s PNS number in the "Agent’s Remarks" box on paper MNSF invoices or in the "Agent Information Reference Box" on invoices created electronically using the CCG template. If the PNS number is not quoted, the 5% discount will be denied.


Question 18:

Will the PNS numbers for Canadian registered and Coasting Trade vessels appear on MNSF invoices issued directly by Coast Guard?


Answer to question 18:

No, they will not; the CCG will automatically calculate the PNS discounts, if applicable, before issuing and mailing out the invoices. If owners of these vessels wish to know the number assigned to their vessels, they should contact the MSFBCC office.


Question 19:

What happens if a collecting agent inadvertently applies the PNS discount to an ineligible vessel?


Answer to question 19:

The MSFBCC office will request that the agent return the 5% discount and we will make the appropriate adjustments to the 5% administrative fee withheld by agents.


Question 20:

What about vessels that received the 5% PNS discount prior to November 1, 1999?


Answer to question 20:

If a vessel’s PNS system has been evaluated prior to November 1, 1999 and found to meet or exceed the Coast Guard’s interim standard, this vessel will be assigned a PNS number immediately and will continue to receive the 5% discount on all invoices. After November 1st, vessels who have not been assigned a PNS number will no longer receive the discount until a determination of their eligibility has been made by CCG.


Question 21:

A Master’s Declaration for the PNS discount was submitted for my vessel prior to November 1, 1999. Is this sufficient proof to qualify for the PNS discount?


Answer to question 21:

A signed Master’s Declaration alone does not qualify the vessel for the 5% PNS discount. A completed application including the Checklist of Required Features from which to evaluate the vessel’s eligibility is required from the owner/operator.


Question 22:

Do the same rules regarding PNS discounts apply across the country?


Answer to question 22:

Yes, the PNS policy is the same in Eastern Canada and the Western Region. However, because there are differences in the MNSF rate structure, owners/operators of vessels entering Canadian waters in the Western Region should contact the MSFBCC office regarding clarification of the application of the discount.


Question 23:

Does the PNS discount apply to the Coast Guard’s icebreaking and dredging fees as well?


Answer to question 23:

No, the PNS discount applies only to vessels paying the MNSF fee.


Question 24:

Where do I obtain an application for the PNS discount?


Answer to question 24:

The application form for a 5 % reduction for vessels having PNS is available directly from the MSFBCC office.


Question 25:

Where do I send my completed application for a PNS discount and how can I obtain more information on PNS as it applies to the MNSF?


Answer to question 25:

Applications can be sent to:

Marine Services Fees Billing, Collection & Compliance Division
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
200 Kent Street, Station 9W063
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0E6
Fax number: (613) 990-4338

More information can be obtained by writing to the above address or by calling 1-800-563-6295.