An overview of SOLAS 2020 Amendments

By October 29, 2019Uncategorized

Several amendments of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) agreed in 2016, 2017 and 2018 are entering into force in less than three months, marking reforms to SOLAS and to international codes made mandatory under the SOLAS Convention.

The amendments entering into force from 1st January 2020 are:

-Amendments to requirements on subdivision and damage stability

Adopted: June 2017 (MSC 98)

IMO adopted a set of amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 relating to subdivision and damage stability, following a substantive review of SOLAS chapter II-1 focusing particularly on new passenger ships. The review has taken into account recommendations arising from the investigation into the 2012 Costa Concordia incident.

The amendments aim to ensure increased capability for new passenger ships to remain stable in case of flooding after collision or grounding.

Unless otherwise provided, the amendments shall only apply to ships:

  • for which the building contract is placed on or after 1 January 2020; or
  • in the absence of a building contract, the keel of which is laid, or which are at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 July 2020; or
  • the delivery of which is on or after 1 January 2024.

In conjunction with the adoption of the above, the MSC adopted the Revised Explanatory Notes to SOLAS chapter II-1 subdivision and damage stability regulations.

The MSC also approved the revised guidance for watertight doors on passenger ships which may be opened during navigation.

-Amendments on passenger ships safety

Adopted: May 2018 (MSC 99)

IMO has adopted amendments to SOLAS regulations II-1/1 and II-1/8-1, concerning computerized stability support for the master in case of flooding for existing passenger ships.

“For the purpose of providing operational information to the master for safe return to port after a flooding casualty, passenger ships shall have:

  • an onboard stability computer; or
  • shore-based support, based on the guidelines developed by the Organization.”

-Amendments on damage control drills

Adopted: June 2017 (MSC 98)

Starting from January, amendments to SOLAS regulations III/1.4, III/30 and III/37 on damage control drills for passenger ships will require damage control drills to take place on all passenger ships every three months from 2020. 

-Definition of vehicle carrier and requirements for vehicle space

Adopted: November 2016 (MSC 97)

The amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/3.56 relate to the definition of vehicle carrier and draft new SOLAS regulation II-2/20.2 on fire safety requirements for cargo spaces containing vehicles with fuel in their tanks for their own propulsion, specifically vehicles which do not use their own propulsion within the cargo space.

The MSC 97 considered the decisions of the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment that only “pure car and truck carriers” needed to comply with SOLAS regulation II-2/20-1 and that the definition provided in SOLAS regulation II-2/3.56 should be amended accordingly, taking into account a proposal by Antigua and Barbuda, Germany, Norway and IACS.

-Fire integrity of windows for ships carrying not more than 36 passengers

Adopted: June 2017 (MSC 98)

The amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/9.4.1.3 seek to clarify the requirements for fire integrity of windows on passenger ships carrying not more than 36 passengers and on special purpose ships with more than 60 (but no more than 240) persons onboard.

Harmonization of survey periods of cargo ships not subject to the ESP Code

Adopted: November 2016 (MSC 97)

The harmonized system under regulation XI-1/2-1 provides for a one-year standard interval between surveys, based on initial, annual, intermediate, periodical and renewal surveys, except for MARPOL Annex IV, which is based on initial and renewal surveys. It also provides for a maximum period of validity of five years for all cargo ship certificates, as well as a maximum period of validity of 12 months for the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate.

-Amendments to the (FSS Code)

Adopted: November 2016 (MSC 97)

The amendments to the International Code for Fire Safety Systems are clarifying the distribution of crew in public spaces for the calculation of stairways width.

-Amendments to FTP Code

Adopted: November 2016 (MSC 97)

The amendments to annex 3 to the International Code for the Application of Fire Test Procedures, 2010 (2010 FTP Code) relate to fire protection materials and required approval test methods for passenger ships and high-speed craft. 

-Amendments to IGC Code

Adopted: November 2016 (MSC 97)

The Amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) are aligning the wheelhouse window fire-rating requirements in the IGC Code with those in SOLAS chapter II-2. 

Amendments to IMDG Code (Amendment 39-18)

Adopted: May 2018 (MSC 99)

The amendments are in line with recommendations from the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and include:

  • new provisions regarding IMO type 9 tank,
  • a set of new abbreviations for segregation groups and
  • special provisions for carriage of lithium batteries and of vehicles powered by flammable liquid or gas. 

Amendments to the IS Code

Adopted: May 2016 (MSC 96)

The amendments to the 2008 International code on Intact Stability extend validity to:

  • ships engaged in anchor handling operations;
  • ships engaged in harbour, coastal or ocean-going towing operations and escort operations;
  • ships engaged in lifting operations 

-Modernization of the GMDSS

Adopted: May 2018 (MSC 99)

Also entering into force in 2020 are the amendments to chapter IV of SOLAS (Radio communications), and the appendix to the annex to the 1974 SOLAS Convention, replacing all references to “Inmarsat” with references to a “recognized mobile satellite service” and consequential amendments to the International Code of Safety for High speed Craft, 1994 (1994 HSC Code), the International Code of Safety for High-speed Craft, 2000 (2000 HSC Code) and the Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships, 2008 (2008 SPS Code). 

-Amendments to the model forms of the Certificates of Fitness

Adopted: May 2018 (MSC 99)

The amendments are clarifying the requirement for an approved loading and stability manual/booklet to be supplied to the ship, under the:

  • International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code),
  • International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code),
  • Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (BCH Code),
  • Code for Existing Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (EGC Code), and
  • the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (GC Code). 

-Protection against noise

Adopted: November 2016 (MSC 97)

Under the amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-12 on protection against noise, the existing paragraph 2.1 is amended to read as follows:

“.1 contracted for construction before 1 July 2014 and the keels of which are laid or which are at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 January 2009;

 

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