Solas Amendments (2019 – 2021)

Q. IMO Resolution A1116 (30) is, ‘Escape route signs and equipment location markings’. To which ships will this apply?
This resolution entered into force on 1st Jan 2019. All ships constructed on or after 1st January 2019, and which underwent repairs, alterations, modifications and outfitting within the scope of SOLAS Chapters II-2 and/or III as applicable, on or after 1st January 2019 must comply.

Q. What was the need of this resolution?
There was the need for uniform international symbols (in line with ISO standards), to indicate the location of emergency equipment as well as muster stations.

Q. What must be complied with?
These ships must comply with the requirement in respect of using onboard the signs listed in tables 1, 2 and 3 in the Annex to Res. A.1116(30).

Q. What is provided in table 1?
Table 1 provides the standardized shipboard safety signs used in workplaces and public areas in terms of functional category, referent number, referent, graphical symbol as well as geometric shape and colour.
Signs are categorized according to their function. Thus, MES for means of escape signs which provide escape route identification. EES would provide emergency equipment signs which provide use and location of first aid facilities, portable safety equipment etc. LSS is the short for life-saving systems and appliances signs, which provide use and location of life-saving systems and appliances. In the other columns of table 1: FES contains fire-fighting equipment signs; PSS contains prohibition signs; WSS contains hazard warning signs; and MSS contains mandatory action signs.

Q. What is provided in table 2?
Signs in table 2 may be displayed to form a sequence of critical mandatory actions to safely launch a lifeboat, rescue boat, or liferaft. Thus, the signs are for: fastening safety belts; closing and securing hatches in launch sequence; starting engine in launch sequence; lowering lifeboat to the water in launch sequence; etc.

Q. What is provided in table 3?
Table 3 summarizes the standardized shipboard fire control plan signs used in workplaces and public areas to assist trained persons in the operation and management of shipboard fire control systems. The standardized symbols used in these signs are in accordance with the symbols found in the standard ISO 17631. Thus, the symbols are provided for: fire control plan; remote control for fire doors; closing device for ventilation inlet or outlet (machinery spaces); emergency fire pump; international shore connection; inert gas installation; emergency source of electrical power (battery); etc

Q. State a few amendments caused to IMSBC Code.
The 5th amendment of IMSBC code entered into force on 1st January 2021. The consolidated edition of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), incorporating amendment 05-19, since the IMSBC Code was first adopted in 2008. Several new schedules are introduced. There are the changes in respect of the schedule of coal.  Coal as per the amended schedule could be Group A and B unless it is shown to be Group B only by a test. The particle distribution being as follows:

  • not more than 10% by weight of particles less than 1 mm ; and
  • not more than 50% by weight of particles less than 10 mm.

Two or more coals when blended can form Group A and B.  Thus, coal may liquefy if shipped at a moisture content in excess of its transportable moisture limit. Certain group B cargoes (cargoes that possess a chemical hazard which could give rise to a dangerous situation on a vessel) like flue dust, containing lead and zinc; matte containing copper and lead; etc were added to the cargoes for which the Fixed Gas Fire-Extinguishing system (FFEA) may be exempted, when loaded. Bauxite Fines has been added to group A. A corresponding test procedure for determining transportable moisture limit (TML) of Bauxite cargoes is also added. The shipper has responsibility to declare whether a solid bulk cargo is classified as harmful to the marine environment (HME) or non-HME.

Q. What is the provision in respect of breathing apparatus?
For ships constructed on or after 1 July 2014, there is a requirement for breathing apparatus to be fulfilled at the latest by 1 July 2019.
“Breathing apparatus shall be a self-contained compressed air breathing apparatus for which the volume of air contained in the cylinders shall be at least 1,200 l, or other self-contained breathing apparatus which shall be capable of functioning for at least 30 min. All air cylinders for breathing apparatus shall be interchangeable. Compressed air breathing apparatus shall 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 l”.

Q. What are the recent changes to IAMSAR manual?
Changes are made to International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) manual vide MSC.1/Circ.1594. A new section on search and rescue operations (SAR) by maritime rescue services in areas remote from search and rescue facilities, in times of armed conflict, is added. The section on mass rescue operations is updated. These amendments are included in the 2019 edition of the manual.

Q. What is the basic philosophy behind the probabilistic concept of subdivision?
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
The philosophy behind the probabilistic concept is that:

  • probability of a compartment  getting damaged and then the probability that the ship would survive if only that compartment is damaged, as derived from past experience would be a useful information to reach acquired subdivision index;
  • two different ships with the same attained index are of equal safety and, therefore, there is no need for special treatment of specific parts of the ship, even if they are able to survive different damages.

Q. Although, the amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-1 had aimed include passenger ships to the probabilistic principle and harmonise cargo ship and passenger ship damage stability, what additional precautions must be taken?
Additionally, the areas in forward and bottom regions, are given special attention in the regulations and dealt with by special subdivision rules provided for cases of collision and grounding. It was found necessary to include a deterministic ‘minor damage’ on top of the probabilistic regulations for passenger ships to avoid ships being designed with unacceptably vulnerable spots in some areas of ship.

Q. What are the SOLAS amendments to Chapter II/1 regarding subdivision, entering into force on 1 January 2020?
The amendments & II/2 entered into force from 1st January 2020. The review has taken into account recommendations arising from the investigation into the 2012 Cost Concordia incident. The amendments aim to ensure increased capability for new passenger ships to remain stable in case of flooding after collision or grounding. A brief summary is as follows:
The changes are made to calculations regarding ‘required subdivision index’ for passenger vessels. Changes are also made in respect of calculating S factor. Limits are introduced regarding the distance between small wells and the keel line unless a damage stability check is made. The minimum limit for the vertical damage extent is introduced. According to the new rules the air pipes terminating in a superstructure will be considered unprotected openings, unless equipped with a watertight means of closure.
The other changes made are in respect of: testing of watertight hatches; permitting a butterfly valve at the collision bulkhead on cargo ships; and ruling out the possibility of leaving watertight doors open.
The revised explanatory notes to Solas II/1 regarding subdivision and stability regulations are also available.

Q. In respect of ‘safe return to port after flooding’, what must be provided to Master of a passenger ship?
For the purpose of providing operational information to the Master for safe return to port after a flooding casualty, passenger ships must have:

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

Q. What is regulation 20-1 of Chapter II-2?
Regulation 20-1 is requirements for vehicle carriers carrying motor vehicles with compressed hydrogen or natural gas in their tanks for their own propulsion as cargo.
The purpose of this regulation is to provide additional safety measures for vehicle carriers with vehicle and ro-ro spaces intended for carriage of motor vehicles with compressed hydrogen or compressed natural gas in their tanks for their own propulsion as cargo.
Electrical equipment and wiring inclusive of that used in ventilation arrangement, the fans used, wire mesh guards shall be of a certified safe type for use in explosive methane and air mixtures.

Other equipment which may constitute a source of ignition of methane and air mixtures shall not be permitted.
At least two portable gas detectors shall be provided. Such detectors shall be suitable for the detection of the gas fuel and be of a certified safe type for use in the explosive gas and air mixture.

Q. What is the provision in respect of fire windows of ships with less than 36 passengers?
Fire integrity of windows for ships carrying not more than 36 passengers

The amendments to Solas reg. II-2/  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. The amendments explicitly require that for ships carrying not more than 36 passengers, windows facing survival craft and escape slides, embarkation areas and windows situated below such areas shall have a fire integrity at least equal to “A-0” class.

Relevant amendment to IGC Code
The amendments  to the IGC Code are aligning the wheelhouse window fire-rating requirements in the IGC Code with those in SOLAS chapter II-2.

Q. What are the amendments to the FSS Code?
Amendments to chapter 8 of the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) are regarding the following:

  1. prevention of internal corrosion and clogging of sprinklers;
  2. the inclusion of a new chapter 17 in the FSS Code;  , 
  3. helicopter facility, foam firefighting appliances; and
  4. the distribution of crew in public spaces for the calculation of stairways width. 

Q. What are the amendments to FTP Code?
The amendments to annex 3 to the 2010 FTP Code are about the fire protection materials and required approval test methods for passenger ships and high-speed crafts.

Q. Which new ship types are included in IS Code 2008?
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; and
  • ships engaged in lifting operations.

Q. What are the recent amendments regarding the requirements for maintenance, thorough examination of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear etc.?
Amendments to SOLAS regulations III/3 and III/20 enter into force on Jan, 2020. These effectively make mandatory the requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear. Personnel who perform the ‘annual thorough examinations and operational tests’ and ‘five-year thorough examinations, any overhaul, overload operational tests and repair’ must be certified by the manufacturer or authorized service provider for each make and type of the equipment to be worked on in accordance with the specified minimum capabilities, education and training, and quality system requirements. A copy of valid documents of certification of personnel and authorization of the service provider as appropriate is to be included with the statement.

Q. What is evacuation analysis in respect of passenger ships?
The amendments to SOLAS regulation 13 of chapter II-2 extend beyond RoRo passenger ships, to passenger ships. All new passenger ships carrying more than 36 passengers must be built with evacuation analysis, early in the design process. Thus, the probability of congestion during an abandonment due to normal movement of passengers and crew along escape routes, should be eliminated. There is the possibility that:

  • crew may need to move along these routes in a direction opposite to the movement of passengers;
  • the escape arrangements must be sufficiently flexible, as certain escape routes, assembly stations, embarkation stations or survival craft may not be available as a result of a casualty.

Q. What is the amendment in respect of waiving the requirement for an approved foam-type extinguisher of at least 135 l capacity?
SOLAS regulations II-2/1 and II-2/10 are amended by IMO resolution MSC.409(97), which waives the requirement for an approved foam-type extinguisher of at least 135 l capacity, for boilers protected by fixed water-based local application fire-extinguishing systems, may apply to all ships on or after 1 January 2020.

Q. How often the damage control drills on passenger ships must be conducted?
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.

Q. What is the new survey guidelines under the harmonized system of survey and certification?
These guidelines take into account relevant IMO mandatory instruments and amendments thereto entering into force up to and including 31 December 2017.  The resolution, (HSSC), 2017, provides details regarding the types of survey; application and arrangement of the guidelines; and description of the various types of surveys.

Q. When do the amendments to ESP code 2011, come in force.
Amendments to the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections During Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 came in force on 1st Jan 2011. The new, 2020 edition contains all amendments to the Code since its adoption: resolutions viz. MSC.371(93), MSC.381(94), MSC.405(96), MSC.412(97) and MSC.461(101). The latest amendments in resolution MSC.461(101) enter into force on 1 January 2021.

Q. List a few amendments to IMDG Code caused under Amendment 39-18.
Amendments 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.

Q. What are the changes in respect of modernization of the GMDSS.
The amendments to chapter IV of SOLAS (Radio communications), and the appendix to the annex to the 1974 SOLAS Convention, replace 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).

Q. How are the model forms of the Certificates of Fitness amended?
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).

Q. What is the MARPOL amendment in force since Jan 2021 regarding cargo residues and tank washings?
This is regarding the cargo residues and tank washings of persistent floating noxious liquid substances causing amendments to MARPOL Annex II to strengthen, in specified sea areas, discharge requirements for cargo residues and tank washings containing persistent floating products with a high-viscosity and/or a high melting point residues. These can solidify under certain conditions. Certain vegetable oils and paraffin-like cargoes may behave thisway. Thus, the requirement of prewash for specific products, in specified areas is required. The discharge of residue/water mixture generated during the prewash must be given to a reception facility in such cases.  

Q. List the amendment to IBC Code, coming in force on Jan 21.
Amendments to the IBC Code include the following revised chapters:

  1. 17, providing summary of minimum requirements.
  2. 18, providing list of products to which the code does not apply.
  3. 19, providing index of products carried in bulk.
  4. 21, providing criteria for assigning carriage requirements for products subject to the IBC Code.

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