New Year brings new IMO requirements

DECEMBER 29, 2015 — As usual, New Year's Day will see that a slew of amendments to IMO treaties enter into force .

Those taking effect on January 1, 2016 include new requirements for verification of compliance, making audits mandatory under the IMO Member State Audit Scheme. What that one is all about, of course, is trying to ensure that member states live up to their obligations.

Others include SOLAS amendments to require inert gas systems on board new oil and chemical tankers of 8,000 dwt and above; the latest amendment to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code; requirements for stability instruments on tankers and new testing requirements for life-jackets.

Audits under the IMO Member State Audit Scheme become mandatory

Amendments to a number of treaties covering safety, training, prevention of pollution, load lines, tonnage measurement and collision prevention make the audits under the IMO Member State Audit Scheme, mandatory for all IMO member states from January 1, 2016.

Up to 25 member state audits per year are expected under the audit scheme, which aims to provide a mechanism by which member states can be assessed, in order to determine to what extent they are implementing and enforcing the applicable IMO instruments by identifying areas in need of improvement, as well as areas of good practices.

The idea behind the scheme is to support the enhanced implementation of IMO instruments, as the scheme will provide member states with an overview of how well they are carrying out their duties as flag, coastal and port States, under the relevant IMO treaties.  The process will also feed into IMO's technical cooperation program, to provide targeted assistance and capacity-building to States, as well as to the Organization's regulatory process.

The treaties amended are:

  • SOLAS 1974;
  • STCW 1978 and STCW Code;MARPOL annexes I through to VI;
  • Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (LL PROT 1988);
  • International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (LL 1966);
  • International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969 (TONNAGE 1969);
  • Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREG 1972).

Other SOLAS amendments

Other SOLAS amendments entering into force on January 1, 2016 include:

  • amendments to SOLAS regulations II-2/1, II-2/3, II-2/4, II-2/9.7 and II-2/16.3.3, to introduce mandatory requirements for inert gas systems on board new oil and chemical tankers of 8,000 dwt and above, and for ventilation systems on board new ships; plus related amendments to chapter 15 of the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) on inert gas systems.
  • amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/29 on steering gear, to update the requirements relating to sea trials.
  • amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/10, concerning fire protection requirements for new ships designed to carry containers on or above the weather deck.
  • amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/13.4, mandating additional means of escape from machinery spaces.
  • new SOLAS regulation II-2/20-1, which provides 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.

Amendment 37-14 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code

The amendments to the IMDG Code become mandatory from January 1, 2016. They include updates to the provisions for radioactive material, reflecting the latest (2012) provisions from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), new marking requirements for "overpack" and "salvage" and updates to various individual packing requirements.    

Carriage of stability instruments mandatory for tankers

Mandatory carriage requirements for a stability instrument for oil tankers and chemical tankers enter into force on January 1, 2016, under amendments to MARPOL Annex I, the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying. Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (BCH Code), the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code) and the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code).

LSA Code lifejacket testing

The amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code relate to the testing of lifejackets. The requirements for testing adult lifejackets are updated and new paragraphs are added relating to the testing of infant lifejackets, including the possibility to substitute manikins for human test subjects.

Revised IGC Code

The completely revised and updated International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) will enter into force on January 1, 2016, with an implementation/application date of July 1, 2016. The amendments were developed after a five-year review and are intended to take into account advances in science and technology.

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