Latest SOLAS Amendments Now in Effect

by | Thursday, July 10, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

On July 1st, the new requirements under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) went into full effect. Adopted in 2012, these amendments were created as part of the IMO’s efforts on large passenger ship safety, and they are designed to ensure that all vessels can be used as rescue assets – with the proper equipment to rescue persons from the water and/or survival craft in the event of an accident.

Included in the amendments are:

  • Recovery of Persons from the Water
  • Reducing On-Board Noise
  • Fire-Fighter Communication
  • Drills and On-Board Training
  • Protection of Vehicle
  • Forms of Certificates and Equipment Records
  • Container Convention

Recovery of persons from the water

The purpose of this requirement is to strengthen safety at sea and support rescue coordinators in a wide variety of rescue operations. A vessel’s plans must take into account all related guidelines for creating plans for the recovery of persons from the water.

Vessels built prior to July 1, 2014 must comply with the requirement by or before the first periodical or renewal safety equipment survey of the ship following July 1st. For ships to which SOLAS does not apply, implementation of the amendments is encouraged under the MSC Resolution, which was also adopted in 2012. This resolution invites SOLAS Contracting Governments to decide how far the SOLAS requirements should apply.

For mariners, the IMO has issued “A Pocket Guide to Recovery Techniques.” (See page 46 of the linked document.)

Reducing on-board noise

This regulation requires new vessels to be constructed for noise reduction, and to protect those on-board from noise. The requirement is in accordance with the new code on vessel noise levels, which establishes mandatory maximum level limits for control rooms, machinery spaces, workshops, accommodations, etc.

Fire-fighter communication

This amendment requires a minimum of two, two-way portable radio apparatus for each fire party for fire-fighters’ communication to be transmitted. The apparatus must be explosion-proof or intrinsically safe. Vessels that were constructed before July 1, 2014 must comply with this requirement by July 1, 2018.

On-board training and drills

On-board training and drills now require an on-board method for recharging the breathing apparatus cylinders used for such drills, or otherwise a reasonable quantity of spare cylinders.

Protection of vehicle

Protection of vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces relate to fixed fire-extinguishing systems. Ships constructed before July 1, 2014 may comply with the previous requirements.

Forms of certificates and equipment records

Amendments to the appendix to the SOLAS Convention replace all previous forms of records of equipment and certificates, including the 1988 Protocol and the 1978 Protocol.

Container convention

Amendments to the Convention for Safe Containers (CSC), 1972, were adopted in 2013 to facilitate the entry into force of the amendments to the CSC Convention adopted in 1993. The amendments introduce a transitional timeframe for marking containers with restricted stacking capability, and also include a list of deficiencies that don’t require an immediate out-of-service decision, but DO require further safety measures to ensure safe transport.

Finding the Information You Need

For more information on topics of interest to the maritime industry, visit the My Vessel Logs blog.

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