SOLAS amendments from MSC 91
(Dec 6 2012)
Class society ABS has reported that a significant number of SOLAS amendments were adopted at the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee's (MSC) 91st session, which met from 26th to 30th November.
For example, the MSC adopted resolution MSC.337(91), which contains a new Code (with mandatory and recommendatory provisions) to prevent the occurrence of potentially hazardous noise levels on board ships and to provide standards for an acceptable environment for seafarers.
Compliance with the Code requires measurement of noise levels in work, navigation, accommodation and service spaces under simulated port conditions and at normal service speed at no less than 80% of the maximum continuous rating (MCR).
Deviation from this normal service condition maybe permitted for ships with special propulsion and power configurations, such as diesel-electric systems.
Newly adopted SOLAS regulation II-1/13-2 as contained in resolution MSC.338(91) will apply the Code to new ships ≥ 1,600 gt - unless the Administration deems that compliance with a particular provision is unreasonable or impractical.
New ships are those:
With a building contract placed on or after 1st July 2014; or
In the absence of a building contract, the keel of which is laid, or which is at a similar stage of
construction on or after 1st January 2015; or
Regardless of the building contract or keel laying date, the delivery is on or after 1st July 2018.
Certain types of vessels, are exempted, but not tankers.
Means of communication At least two two-way portable radiotelephones are to be provided for each fire party designated on board ships constructed on, or after 1st July 2014. Ships constructed before this date are to comply no later than the first annual survey after 1st July 2018.
These provisions apply to portable radios used on tankers and those intended to be used in hazardous areas of all ships, which are to be of an explosion-proof, or intrinsically-safe type.
Breathing apparatus - Self-contained compressed air-operated breathing apparatus of firefighter's outfits provided on board all ships shall, no later than 1st July 2019, have a capacity of at least 1,200 liters, or be capable of functioning for at least 30 mins.
These amendments do not phase-out existing pump and hose breathing systems, which were permitted on ships constructed before 1st January 2002.
Each compressed air breathing apparatus is to be fitted with an audible alarm and a visual or other device, which will alert the user before the volume of the air in the cylinder has been reduced to no less than 200 liters. All air cylinders for breathing apparatus are to be interchangeable.
No later than 1st July 2014, all ships are to carry on board a means of recharging breathing apparatus cylinders used during drills, or a suitable number of spare cylinders to replace used cylinders.
Revisions to the requirements in the Firefghting Systems (FFS) Code were adopted, as contained in resolution MSC.339(91). The revisions address fixed firefighting systems of the gas, deck-foam, waterspray and water-mist type and apply to ships constructed on or after 1st July 2014.
Starting conditions for the emergency fire pump and emergency source of power requirements for fire detection and alarms systems which are fitted on ships constructed on or after 1st July 2014 were also adopted.
All ships are to be provided with plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water. The plans and procedures (which do not need to be approved by the Administration) are to identify the equipment intended to be used for recovery purposes and measures to be taken to minimise the risk to shipboard personnel involved in recovery operations.
Ships constructed on or after 1st July 2014 are to comply at delivery. Ships constructed before 1st July 2014 shall comply by the first intermediate or first renewal survey of the ship to be carried out after 1 July 2014, whichever comes first.
Guidelines for the development of plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water were also approved.
MSC also adopted resolution MSC.340(91) which contains revisions to the carriage requirements for products in Chapter 17 of the IBC Code, as well as Chapters 18 and 19 of that Code. These are the same revisions contained in resolution MEPC.225(64) that was adopted in October by MEPC 64.
On entry into force of these amendments on 1st June 2014, a chemical tanker will be required to be certified with a revised cargo list (where relevant) and a revised Certificate of Fitness. There are about 150 products that have revised carriage requirements.
Entry Into Enclosed Spaces - The committee approved draft amendments to SOLAS chapter III, the 1994 and 2000 HSC Codes, the DSSC Code and the MODU Codes related to enclosed space entry and rescue drills.
Such drills, which are to be held on board at least once every two months, are to check personal
protective equipment, rescue equipment and communication equipment and procedures.
Finally, in determining a ship's attained Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) as per resolution MEPC.212(63), the committee concurred with MEPC 64's decision that a lower threshold for the minimum installed propulsion power for bulk carriers, oil and chemical tankers and combination carriers is needed.
These ships are to have a minimum power to maintain manoeuvrability under adverse weather conditions
(Beaufort 8 6m significant wave height; 19 m/s mean wind speed).
The method for determining this lower minimum threshold is contained in a set of interim guidelines, which were approved by the MEPC and MSC 91 and will be issued as an MSC/MEPC circular.