What are the major amendments to SOLAS which have entered into force in 2014?

1 January  2014: Entry into force of May 2012 SOLAS amendments .

  1. Amendment to SOLAS regulation II-1/8-1, to introduce a mandatory requirement for new passenger ships for either onboard stability computers or shore-based support, for the purpose of providing operational information to the Master for safe return to port after a flooding casualty;
  2. Amendment to SOLAS regulation III/20.11.2 regarding the testing of free-fall lifeboats, to require that the operational testing of free-fall lifeboat release systems shall be performed either by free-fall launch with only the operating crew on board or by a simulated launching;
  3. Amendment to SOLAS chapter V to add a new regulation V/14 on ships’ manning, to require Administrations, for every ship, to establish appropriate minimum safe manning levels following a transparent procedure, taking into account the guidance adopted by IMO (Assembly resolution A.1047(27) on Principles of minimum safe manning); and issue an appropriate minimum safe manning document or equivalent as evidence of the minimum safe manning considered necessary; 
  4. Amendment to SOLAS chapter VI to add a new regulation VI/5-2, to prohibit the blending of bulk liquid cargoes during the sea voyage and to prohibit production processes on board ships;
  5. Amendment to SOLAS chapter VII to replace regulation 4 on documents, covering transport information relating to the carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form and the container/vehicle packing certificate; and
  6. Amendment to SOLAS regulation XI-1/2 on enhanced surveys, to make mandatory the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (2011 ESP Code, resolution A.1049(27)).

1 July 2014: Entry into force of November 2012 SOLAS amendments.

  1. Reducing on-board noise:- entering into force on 1 July 2014 is the new SOLAS regulation II-1/3-12,which requires new ships to be constructed to reduce on-board noise and to protect personnel from noise, in accordance with the revised Code on noise levels on board ships, which sets out mandatory maximum noise level limits for machinery spaces, control rooms, workshops, accommodation and other spaces on board ships.
  2. Recovery of persons from the water :- Amendments to SOLAS regulationIII/17-1 to        require ships to have plans and procedures to recover persons from the water, as well as related Guidelines for development of plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water. Also, a related MSC resolution on Implementation of SOLAS regulation III/17-1 to ships to which SOLAS chapter III does not apply;
  3. Fire-fighter communication on-board:- Amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/10 on fire fighting enter into force on 1 July 2014, to require a minimum of two two-way   portable radiotelephone apparatus for each fire party for fire fighters’ communication to be carried. The apparatus shall be of an explosion-proof type or intrinsically safe. Ships constructed before 1 July 2014 shall comply with the above requirements not later than the first survey after 1 July 2018.
  4. Instructions, on-board training and drills:- Amendments to regulation II-2/15 on instructions, on-board training and drills require an on-board means of recharging breathing apparatus cylinders used during drills, or a suitable number of spare cylinders.
  5. Protection of vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces ,Another amendment to regulation II-2/20 on protection of vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces related to fixed fire-extinguishing systems, updates the requirements.  The amendments apply to ships constructed on or after 1 July 2014. Ships constructed before 1 July 2014 shall comply with the previously applicable requirements.
  6. Forms of certificates and records of equipment:-Other amendments to the appendix to the annex to the SOLAS Convention replace all forms of certificates and records of equipment, including its 1988 Protocol, and further amendments relate to the forms of the Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate and Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate of its 1978 Protocol.
Five discuss
  1. Recovery of persons from the water

The SOLAS amendments, adopted in 2012, were developed as part of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s work on large passenger ship safety and are aimed at ensuring all ships have the capability to effectively serve as a rescue asset and have the right equipment to be able to rescue persons from the water and from survival craft, in the event of an incident.
This new requirement is intended to enhance safety at sea and also to provide support to search and rescue coordinators in all types of rescue operations and, particularly, in those situations where there is insufficient dedicated search and rescue capacity or access to helicopters and specialized rescue craft is limited.
The ship’s plans and procedures should take into account related Guidelines for the development of plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water (MSC.1/Circ.1447). Ships constructed before 1 July 2014 are required to comply with the requirement by the first periodical or renewal safety equipment survey of the ship to be carried out after 1 July 2014,whichever comes first.
The implementation of the requirements on ships to which SOLAS does not apply is encouraged under a related MSC resolution, also adopted in 2012,  which invites SOLAS Contracting Governments to determine to what extent the requirements should apply to: cargo ships of a gross tonnage below 500 engaged on any voyage; cargo ships of a gross tonnage of 500 and above not engaged on international voyages; passenger ships not engaged on international voyages; fishing vessels; high-speed craft; dynamically supported craft; special purpose ships; and mobile offshore drilling units.
For seafarers, IMO has issued A Pocket Guide to Recovery Techniques (IMO I947E).

About the author

Amit Sharma

Graduated from M.E.R.I. Mumbai (Mumbai University), After a brief sailing founded this website with the idea to bring the maritime education online which must be free and available for all at all times and to find basic solutions that are of extreme importance to a seafarer by our innovative ideas.

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