What are major IMO amendments with their Date of enforcement?

Action dates

IMO’s conventions are regularly amended and revised while new instruments/protocols are adopted. The forthcoming dates of entry into force of amendments/instruments already adopted are shown.

Date of entry into force
Convention or Code
1 July 2006May 2004 amendments to SAR – persons in distress
1 July 2006June 2003 amendments to SOLAS/May 2004 amendments to SOLAS
1 July 2006December 2004 amendments to SOLAS – revised bulk carrier chapter, free-fall lifeboats, S-VDRs
1 November 2006July 2005 amendments to FAL          
21 November 2006July 2005 amendments to MARPOL – Annex VI
1 January 2007October 2004 amendments to MARPOL – revised Annexes I and II
1 January 2007Amendments to IBC and IGC Codes
May 2005 amendments to SOLAS
1 August 2007March 2006 amendments to MARPOL – oil fuel tank protection
1 January 2008May 2006 amendments to SOLAS – LRIT
1 January 2008May 2006 amendments to STCW – ship security officers, fast rescue boats
1 March 2008October 2006 amendments to MARPOL – South Africa special area
1 January 2009May 2005 amendments to SOLAS – revised chapter II-1
1 January 2010October 2006 amendments to MARPOL – revised Annex III
1 July 2010May 2006 amendments to SOLAS

Expanded Information

Date of entry into force

Convention or Code

1 July 2006
June 2003 amendments to SOLAS

Chapter V – Safety of Navigation

Amendments to SOLAS regulations V/2 Definitions and V/22 Navigation Bridge Visibility add the definition of “length” to regulation V/2 and a consequential editorial change is made to regulation V/22. The definition states that “length of a ship means its length overall”.

Amendments to SOLAS regulation V/28 on Records of navigational activities add a new paragraph on daily reporting. The amendment will require all ships of 500 gross tonnage and above, engaged on international voyages exceeding 48 hours, to submit a daily report to their company, to include ship’s position; ship’s course and speed; and details of any external or internal conditions that are affecting the ship’s voyage or the normal safe operation of the ship. The aim of the amendments is to address the responsibilities of ship operators to provide information of benefit to those responsible for mounting rescue operations.

1 July 2006
May 2004 amendments to SAR – persons in distress

The amendments to the Annex to the SAR Convention include:

  • addition of a new paragraph in chapter 2 (Organization and co-ordination) relating to definition of persons in distress;
    new paragraphs in chapter 3 (Co-operation between States) relating to assistance to the master in delivering persons rescued at sea to a place of safety; and
  • a new paragraph in chapter 4 (Operating procedures) relating to rescue co- ordination centres initiating the process of identifying the most appropriate places for disembarking persons found in distress at sea.
1 July 2006
May 2004 amendments to SOLAS

Persons in distress at sea
Amendments to chapter V (Safety of Navigation) – to add a definition of search and rescue services; to set an obligation to provide assistance, regardless of nationality or status of persons in distress, and mandate co-ordination and co-operation between States to assist the ship’s master in delivering persons rescued at sea to a place of safety; and to add a new regulation on master’s discretion.

Accidents with lifeboats
Amendments to SOLAS chapter III (Life-saving appliances and arrangements) which are intended to help prevent accidents with lifeboats during drills. The amendments, which are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2006, stem from work by the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) intended to address the unacceptably high number of accidents with lifeboats that have been occurring over recent years. Crew have been injured, sometimes fatally, while participating in lifeboat drills and/or inspections.

The amendments to Regulation 19 (Emergency training and drills) and Regulation 20 (Operational readiness, maintenance and inspections) concern the conditions in which lifeboat emergency training and drills should be conducted and introduce changes to the operational tests to be conducted during the weekly and monthly inspections, so as not to require the assigned crew to be on board in all cases.

Carriage of immersion suits
Amendments to SOLAS chapter III Regulation 32 – Personal life-saving appliances to make changes to the number of immersion suits to be carried on all cargo ships. The amendments introduce carriage requirements for one immersion suit per person on board all cargo ships, including bulk carriers. At present, the regulation requires carriage of at least three immersion suits for each lifeboat on a cargo ship, as well as thermal protective aids for persons not provided with immersion suits.

With the adoption of the proposed amendments, immersion suits will become, as lifejackets, a personal life-saving appliance for each person on board thus offering better thermal protection and improved chance of survival and rescue. The MSC also adopted consequential amendments to the 1988 SOLAS Protocol relating to the records of equipment.

1 July 2006
December 2004 amendments to SOLAS

Bulk carrier safety
A new text for SOLAS chapter XII (Additional safety measures for bulk carriers) incorporates revisions to some regulations and new requirements relating to double-side skin bulk carriers.

The amendments include the addition of a new regulation 14 on restrictions from sailing with any hold empty and requirements for double-side skin construction as an optional alternative to single-side skin construction. The option of double-side skin construction will apply to new bulk carriers of 150m in length and over, carrying solid bulk cargoes having a density of 1,000 kg/m3 and above.

Free-fall lifeboats on bulk carriers
an amendment to regulation 31 in SOLAS chapter III (Life-saving appliances and arrangements) makes mandatory the carriage of free-fall lifeboats on bulk carriers.

Simplified Voyage Data Recorders
Amendments to regulation 20 of SOLAS chapter V (Safety of Navigation) give a phased-in carriage requirement for a shipborne simplified voyage data recorder (S-VDR).

The regulation requires a VDR, which may be an S-VDR, to be fitted on existing cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards, phasing in the requirement for cargo ships of 20,000 gross tonnage and upwards first, to be followed by cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards.

The S-VDR is not required to store the same level of detailed data as a standard VDR, but nonetheless should maintain a store, in a secure and retrievable form, of information concerning the position, movement, physical status, command and control of a vessel over the period leading up to and following an incident.

Other amendments:

– SOLAS chapter II-1 regulation 18 Construction and initial tests of watertight doors, sidescuttles, etc., in passenger ships and cargo ships to allow testing of watertight doors with a prototype pressure test in certain circumstances. Also regulation 45 – Precautions against shock, fire and other hazards of electrical origin to replace the existing paragraph 10 and the addition of a new paragraph 11 in order to control the installation of electrical equipment in spaces where flammable mixtures are likely to collect and in hazardous locations on tankers.

– SOLAS chapter V regulation 19 Carriage requirements for shipborne navigational systems and equipment to add the words “being clearly readable by the helmsman at the main steering position” in paragraph 2.5 relating to carriage of a gyro compass, or other means to determine and display heading by shipborne non-magnetic means.

– SOLAS chapter VII regulation 10 to delete the superfluous words “For the purpose of this regulation, the requirements of the Code shall be treated as mandatory.”

– SOLAS chapter V – addition of Simplified Voyage Data Recorder (S-VDR) to the Record of Equipment for the Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate (Form E).

– International Code for Application of Fire Test Procedures (FTP Code) in Part 2 – Smoke and toxicity test – the addition of “(200 ppm for floor coverings)” in the table of limits in 2.6 Classification criteria, 2.6.2 Toxicity.

– International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 2000 (2000 HSC Code) relating to buoyant spaces in Chapter 2 – Buoyancy, stability and subdivision.

– International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) – to reflect the draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 Regulation 45 – Precautions against shock, fire and other hazards of electrical origin. (entry into force date of 1 January 2007).

– STCW Code – amendments to Table A-VI/2-1 – Specifications of minimum standards of competence in survival crafts and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats.

1 November 2006
July 2005 amendments to FAL

The amendments are intended to modernize the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965 in order to enhance the facilitation of international maritime traffic.

The amendments include the following:

  • a Recommended Practice for public authorities to develop the necessary procedures in order to use pre-arrival and pre-departure information to facilitate the processing of information, and thus expedite release and clearance of cargo and persons;
  • a Recommended Practice that all information should be submitted to a single point to avoid duplication;
  • encouragement of electronic transmission of information; and
  • the addition of references to the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and SOLAS chapter XI-2 in the Standards and Recommended Practices which mention security measures; and
  • amendments to the IMO Standardized FAL Forms (1 to 7).

Persons rescued at sea

As amendments to the SOLAS and SAR Conventions adopted in May 2004 (expected to enter into force on 1 July 2006), relating to persons rescued at sea will place for the first time, obligations on Contracting Governments to “co-ordinate and co-operate” in progressing the matter so that assisted survivors are disembarked from the assisting ship and delivered to a place of safety within a reasonable time; a further amendment relates topersons rescued at sea, to be included in a standard in Section 2 – Arrival, stay and departure of the ship, in section H Special measures of facilitation for ships calling at ports in order to put ashore sick or injured crew members, passengers, persons rescued at sea or other persons for emergency medical treatment. The amendment will require public authorities to facilitate the arrival and departure of ships engaged in the rescue of persons in distress at sea in order to provide a place of safety for such persons.

21 November 2006July 2005 amendments to MARPOL – Annex VI

The amendments to the Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships in Annex VI include the establishment of the North Sea SOx Emission Control Area (SECA).

The NOx Technical Code is also updated.

1 January 2007
October 2004 amendments to MARPOL – revised Annexes I and II

Revised MARPOL Annex I (oil)
The revised MARPOL Annex I Regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil incorporates the various amendments adopted since MARPOL entered into force in 1983, including the amended regulation 13G (regulation 20 in the revised annex) and regulation 13H (regulation 21 in the revised annex) on the phasing-in of double hull requirements for oil tankers. It also separates, in different chapters, the construction and equipment provisions from the operational requirements and makes clear the distinctions between the requirements for new ships and those for existing ships. The revision provides a more user-friendly, simplified Annex I.

New requirements in the revised Annex I include the following:

  • Regulation 22 Pump-room bottom protection: on oil tankers of 5,000 tonnes deadweight and above constructed on or after 1 January 2007, the pump-room shall be provided with a double bottom.
  • Regulation 23 Accidental oil outflow performance – applicable to oil tankers delivered on or after [date of entry into force of revised Annex I plus 36 months] 1 January 2010; construction requirements to provide adequate protection against oil pollution in the event of stranding or collision.

Oman Sea – new special area under MARPOL Annex I
The Oman Sea area of the Arabian Seas is designated a special area in the revised Annex I.

The other special areas in Annex I are: Mediterranean Sea area; Baltic Sea area; Black Sea area; Red Sea area; “Gulfs” area; Gulf of Aden area; Antarctic area; and North West European Waters. In the special areas, there are stricter controls on discharge of oily wastes.

Revised MARPOL Annex II (noxious liquid substances carried in bulk)
The revised Annex II Regulations for the control of pollution by noxious liquid substances in bulk includes a new four-category categorization system for noxious and liquid substances. The revised annex is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2007.

The new categories are:

  • Category X: Noxious Liquid Substances which, if discharged into the sea from tank cleaning or deballasting operations, are deemed to present a major hazard to either marine resources or human health and, therefore, justify the prohibition of the discharge into the marine environment;
  • Category Y: Noxious Liquid Substances which, if discharged into the sea from tank cleaning or deballasting operations, are deemed to present a hazard to either marine resources or human health or cause harm to amenities or other legitimate uses of the sea and therefore justify a limitation on the quality and quantity of the discharge into the marine environment;
  • Category Z: Noxious Liquid Substances which, if discharged into the sea from tank cleaning or deballasting operations, are deemed to present a minor hazard to either marine resources or human health and therefore justify less stringent restrictions on the quality and quantity of the discharge into the marine environment; and
  • Other Substances: substances which have been evaluated and found to fall outside Category X, Y or Z because they are considered to present no harm to marine resources, human health, amenities or other legitimate uses of the sea when discharged into the sea from tank cleaning of deballasting operations. The discharge of bilge or ballast water or other residues or mixtures containing these substances are not subject to any requirements of MARPOL Annex II.

The revised annex includes a number of other significant changes. Improvements in ship technology, such as efficient stripping techniques, has made possible significantly lower permitted discharge levels of certain products which have been incorporated into Annex II. For ships constructed on or after 1 January 2007 the maximum permitted residue in the tank and its associated piping left after discharge will be set at a maximum of 75 litres for products in categories X, Y and Z – compared with previous limits which set a maximum of 100 or 300 litres, depending on the product category.

Alongside the revision of Annex II, the marine pollution hazards of thousands of chemicals have been evaluated by the Evaluation of Hazardous Substances Working Group, giving a resultant GESAMP2 Hazard Profile which indexes the substance according to its bio-accumulation; bio-degradation; acute toxicity; chronic toxicity; long-term health effects; and effects on marine wildlife and on benthic habitats.

As a result of the hazard evaluation process and the new categorization system, vegetable oils which were previously categorized as being unrestricted will now be required to be carried in chemical tankers. The revised Annex includes, under regulation 4 Exemptions, provision for the Administration to exempt ships certified to carry individually identified vegetable oils, subject to certain provisions relating to the location of the cargo tanks carrying the identified vegetable oil.

Transport of vegetable oils
An MEPC resolution on Guidelines for the transport of vegetable oils in deep tanks or in independent tanks specially designed for the carriage of such vegetable oils on board dry cargo ships allows general dry cargo ships that are currently certified to carry vegetable oil in bulk to continue to carry these vegetable oils on specific trades. The guidelines also take effect on 1 January 2007.

Consequential amendments to the IBC Code
Consequential amendments to the International Bulk Chemical Code (IBC Code) were also adopted in October 2004, reflecting the changes to MARPOL Annex II. The amendments incorporate revisions to the categorization of certain products relating to their properties as potential marine pollutants as well as revisions to ship type and carriage requirements following their evaluation by the Evaluation of Hazardous Substances Working Group.

Ships constructed after 1986 carrying substances identified in chapter 17 of the IBC Code must follow the requirements for design, construction, equipment and operation of ships contained in the Code.

1 January 2007
December 2004 – adoption of amendments to Codes by the MSC

International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code) – revised Code adopted. (See above)

International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) – amendments to reflect the amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 Regulation 45 – Precautions against shock, fire and other hazards of electrical origin.

May 2005 -amendments to SOLAS

  • New SOLAS regulation II-1/3-7 to require ship construction drawings to be maintained on board and ashore.
  • New SOLAS regulation II-1/3-8 concerning towing and mooring equipment. The regulation will require all ships to be provided with arrangements, equipment and fittings of sufficient safe working load to enable the safe conduct of all towing and mooring operations associated with the normal operation of the ship.
  • New SOLAS regulation II-1/23-3 concerning water level detectors in the cargo hold(s) on new single hold cargo ships other than bulk carriers.
  • Amendment to SOLAS regulation II-1/31 Machinery control to restrict the application of propulsion control automation systems to new ships only.

Also, amendments to the Guidelines on the enhanced programme of inspections during surveys of bulk carriers and oil tankers (resolution A.744(18)), as amended
The amendments to the Guidelines on the enhanced programme of inspections during surveys of bulk carriers and oil tankers (resolution A.744(18)), as amended, incorporate some elements of the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) required for certain single hull tankers under the revised MARPOL regulation I/13G and include re-organization of the guidelines to include a new section on survey guidelines for the inspection of double hull tankers.

1 August 2007
March 2006 amendments to MARPOL

MARPOL regulation on oil fuel tank protection
The amendment to the revised MARPOL Annex I (which was adopted in October 2004 with entry into force set for 1 January 2007) includes a new regulation 12A on oil fuel tank protection. The regulation is intended to apply to all ships delivered on or after 1 August 2010 with an aggregate oil fuel capacity of 600m3 and above. It includes requirements for the protected location of the fuel tanks and performance standards for accidental oil fuel outflow. A maximum capacity limit of 2,500m3 per oil fuel tank is included in the regulation, which also requires Administrations to consider general safety aspects, including the need for maintenance and inspection of wing and double-bottom tanks or spaces, when approving the design and construction of ships in accordance with the regulation. Consequential amendments to the IOPP Certificate were also adopted.

The MEPC also agreed to include appropriate text referring to the new regulation in the amendments to the Guidelines for the application of the revised MARPOL Annex I requirements to FPSOs and FSUs and approved a Unified Interpretation on the application of the regulation to column-stabilized MODUs.

Definition of heavy grade oil
A further amendment to the revised MARPOL Annex I relates to the definition of “heavy grade oil” in regulation 21 on Prevention of oil pollution from oil tankers carrying heavy grade oil as cargo, replacing the words “fuel oils” with “oils, other than crude oils”, thereby broadening the scope of the regulation.

MARPOL Annex IV amendments
The amendment to MARPOL Annex IV Prevention of pollution by sewage from ships adds a new regulation 13 on Port State control on operational requirements. The regulation states that a ship, when in a port or an offshore terminal of another Party, is subject to inspection by officers duly authorized by such Party concerning operational requirements under the Annex, where there are clear grounds for believing that the master or crew are not familiar with essential shipboard procedures relating to the prevention of pollution by sewage.

Amendments to BCH Code
Amendments to the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (BCH Code) were adopted as a consequence of the revised Annex II of MARPOL 73/78 and the amended International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), which are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2007. The MEPC also adopted a resolution on Early and Effective Application of the 2006 amendments to the BCH Code to invite MARPOL Parties to consider the application of the amendments to the BCH Code, as soon as practically possible, to ships entitled to fly their flag. Also adopted were the revised Guidelines for the provisional assessment of liquids transported in bulk. In this context the Committee urged industry, in particular the chemical industry, to provide information on the revision of List 2 of the MEPC circular which contains pollutant-only mixtures based on section 5 of the revised Guidelines.

1 January 2008
May 2006 amendments to SOLAS – LRIT

The new regulation on LRIT is included in SOLAS chapter V on Safety of Navigation, through which LRIT will be introduced as a mandatory requirement for the following ships on international voyages: passenger ships, including high-speed craft; cargo ships, including high-speed craft, of 300 gross tonnage and upwards; and mobile offshore drilling units.

The SOLAS regulation on LRIT establishes a multilateral agreement for sharing LRIT information for security and search and rescue purposes, amongst SOLAS Contracting Governments, in order to meet the maritime security needs and other concerns of such Governments. It maintains the right of flag States to protect information about the ships entitled to fly their flag, where appropriate, while allowing coastal States access to information about ships navigating off their coasts. The SOLAS regulation on LRIT does not create or affirm any new rights of States over ships beyond those existing in international law, particularly, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), nor does it alter or affect the rights, jurisdiction, duties and obligations of States in connection with UNCLOS.

The LRIT information ships will be required to transmit include the ship’s identity, location and date and time of the position. There will be no interface between LRIT and AIS. One of the more important distinctions between LRIT and AIS, apart from the obvious one of range, is that, whereas AIS is a broadcast system, data derived through LRIT will be available only to the recipients who are entitled to receive such information and safeguards concerning the confidentiality of those data have been built into the regulatory provisions. SOLAS Contracting Governments will be entitled to receive information about ships navigating within a distance not exceeding 1000 nautical miles off their coast.

The regulation foresees a phased-in implementation schedule for ships constructed before its expected entry into force date of 1 January 2008 and an exemption for ships operating exclusively in sea area A1 from the requirement to transmit LRIT information, since such ships are already fitted with AIS. It also identifies which authorities may have access to LRIT information.

Also adopted were performance standards and functional requirements for LRIT and an MSC resolution on Arrangements for the timely establishment of the long range identification and tracking system.

1 January 2008
May 2006 amendments to STCW Convention and STCW Code – security officers, fast rescue boats

The amendments add new minimum mandatory training and certification requirements for persons to be designated as ship security officers (SSOs). The amendments to the STCW Convention and to parts A and B of the STCW Code include Requirements for the issue of certificates of proficiency for Ship Security Officers; Specifications of minimum standards of proficiency for ship security officers; and Guidance regarding training for Ship Security Officers.

Further amendments to part A of the STCW Code add additional training requirements for the launching and recovery of fast rescue boats. The amendments have been prepared in response to reports of injuries to seafarers in numerous incidents involving the launching and recovery of fast rescue boats in adverse weather conditions.

1 January 2008
Amendments to the IMDG Code

The amendments to the IMDG Code (Amendment 33-06) include those prepared on the basis of proposals received from Member Governments and Organizations and those prepared by the UN Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. They relate to transport of Ethylene Oxide with Nitrogen up to a total pressure of 1 Mpa (10 bar) at 50oC (UN 1040); Polymeric beads (UN 2211); Plastics moulding compound (UN 3314); Ammonium Nitrate (UN 1942) and Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer (UN 2067); segregation provisions for class 8 acids and alkalis when not in limited quantities; and the packaging of articles containing dangerous goods in limited quantities. Governments are invited to apply the amendments on a voluntary basis from 1 January 2007, pending their entry into force date on 1 January 2008.

1 March 2008
October 2006 amendments to MARPOL – South Africa special area

The designation of the Southern South Africa waters as a Special Area under Annex I (Regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil from ships) , will provide measures to protect wildlife and the marine environment in an ecologically important region used intensively by shipping.

1 January 2009
May 2005 amendments to SOLAS

A revised SOLAS chapter II-1 is intended to harmonize the provisions on subdivision and damage stability for passenger and cargo ships. The revised provisions in parts A, B and B-1 will be applicable to new ships built after the expected entry into force date of 1 January 2009.

The amendments, which have been intensively developed over the past decade, are based on the “probabilistic” method of determining damage stability, which is itself based on the detailed study of data collected by IMO relating to collisions. Because it is based on statistical evidence concerning what actually happens when ships collide, the probabilistic concept is believed to be far more realistic than the previously-used “deterministic” method.

The revision has taken into account the results of the HARDER (Harmonisation of Rules and Design Rational) research project: a project undertaken by a consortium of European industrial, research and academic institutions to study the probabilistic approach for assessing a ship’s damage stability and to develop new criteria and indexes for subdivision based on probability of survival, taking into account effects from waves, heeling moments, cargo shift, transient effects and equalization arrangements.

Also, new SOLAS regulations XI-1/3-1 and amendments to regulation XI-1/5 on the mandatory company and registered owner identification number.
And amendments to add the IMO unique company and registered identification number to relevant certificates and documents in the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (the ISM Code) and International ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

1 January 2010
October 2006 amendments to MARPOL – revised Annex III

The revised MARPOL Annex III Regulations for the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form. The Annex has been revised to harmonize the regulations with the criteria for defining marine pollutants which have been adopted by the UN Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Sub-Committee, based on the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

1 July 2010
May 2006 amendments to SOLAS

Amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-2 – Fire protection
These include amendments relating to Regulation 9 – Containment of fire, so as to include a requirement for water-mist nozzles which should be tested and approved in accordance with the guidelines approved by the Organization; and in Regulation 15 – Arrangements for oil fuel, lubricating oil and other flammable oils, new text relating to the application of the regulation to ships constructed on or after 1 February 1992 and on or after 1 July 1998.

Amendments to SOLAS Chapter III – Life-saving appliances and arrangements
In Regulation 7 – Personal life-saving appliances, the amendments add a new requirement for infant lifejackets. For passenger ships on voyages of less than 24 hours, a number of infant lifejackets equal to at least 2.5% of the number of passengers on board is to be provided; and for passenger ships on voyages of 24 hours or greater, infant lifejackets are to be provided for each infant on board. A further amendment relates to the provision of lifejackets for larger passengers and states that, if the adult lifejackets provided are not designed to fit persons with a chest girth of up to 1,750 mm, a sufficient number of suitable accessories are to be available on board to allow them to be secured to such persons.

Amendments to SOLAS Chapter IV – Radiocommunications
The amendments relate to the provision of radio equipment, in Regulation 7, to require ships to carry an EPIRB capable of transmitting a distress alert through the polar orbiting satellite service (COSPAS-SARSAT) operating in the 406 MHz band; and, in Regulations 9 and 10, to clarify that the means of initiating ship-to-shore distress alerts may be through the Inmarsat geostationary satellite service by a ship earth station.

Amendments to SOLAS Chapter V – Safety of navigation
The amendment adds a new paragraph to Regulation 22 – Navigation bridge visibility to allow ballast water exchange at sea, provided that the master has determined that it is safe to do so and takes into consideration any increased blind sectors or reduced horizontal fields of vision resulting from the operation to ensure that a proper lookout is maintained at all times. The operation should be conducted in accordance with the ship’s ballast water management plan, taking into account the recommendations on ballast water exchange. The commencement and termination of the operation should be recorded in the ship’s record of navigational activities.

Amendments to the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code)
The amendments replace the text of Chapter 5 Fixed gas fire-extinguishing systems with a revised text.

Amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliance Code (LSA Code)
The amendments include the requirement that all life saving appliances should withstand in stowage an air temperature range of 30°C to +65°C and personal life-saving appliances should remain operational throughout an air temperature range of -15°C to +40°C. The colour of life-saving appliances is now specified to be “of international or vivid reddish orange, or a comparably highly visible colour on all parts where this will assist detection at sea”. The existing section 2.2 on General requirements for lifejackets is revised and replaced. Further amendments relate to specifications for immersion suits and anti-exposure suits.

Amendments to Guidelines for the authorization of organizations acting on behalf of the Administration (Resolution A.739(18))
The amendments to the guidelines, which are mandatory under SOLAS chapter XI-1, add a new paragraph 2-1 to require the use of only exclusive surveyors and auditors for surveys and certification, although radio surveys may be subcontracted to non-exclusive surveyors.

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