Sub-Committee on Stability and Load Lines and on Fishing Vessels' Safety (SLF)

44th session: 17-21 September 2001

Revised fishing vessel safety Code agreed in principle

The draft text will now be referred to other technical Sub-Committees in 2002/2003 for review and finalization and the final draft text should be ready for submission to IMO's senior technical safety body, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), for approval in 2004.

The revised Code and Guidelines will contain 11 comprehensive chapters, covering: general provisions; construction, watertight integrity and equipment; stability and associated seaworthiness; machinery and electrical installations and periodically unattended machinery spaces; fire protection, fire detection, fire extinction and fire fighting; protection of the crew; life-saving appliances and arrangements; emergency procedures, musters and drills; radiocommunications; shipborne navigational equipment; and crew accommodation.

Annexes will cover: illustration of terms used in the definitions; recommended practice for anchor and mooring equipment; memorandum to administrations on an approximate determination of ship’s stability by means of the rolling period tests (for ships up to 70 m in length); recommended practice on portable fish-hold divisions; recommended practice for ammonia refrigeration systems in manned spaces; recommended contents of fishing vessels’ medicine chest; recommendation for testing life-jackets; recommendations on performance standards for certain shipborne electronic aids to navigation including radar, radio direction finders (RDF), echo-sounders, gyro-compasses; and recommended standards for pilot ladders.

The revised Code and, to the extent possible, the Guidelines will reflect the regulations contained in the 1993 Protocol to the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels. The Protocol, which modified and replaced the Torremolinos Convention, has yet to receive sufficient ratification to enter into force.

The Code of Safety for Fishermen and Fishing Vessels (parts a and B) for the Design, Construction and Equipment of Small Fishing Vessels and the Voluntary Guidelines were initially developed in co-operation with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in the 1970s, with amendments adopted in 1983. while the Code applies to decked fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and above, the Voluntary Guidelines apply to decked fishing vessels of 12 metres in length and over but less than 24 metres. 

Although recommendatory in nature, the revised Code and Voluntary Guidelines are designed to assist national administrations and others involved in framing national and regional laws and regulations on fishing vessel safety and thereby contribute to improved safety on these vessels.

High-speed craft model tests – draft interim guidelines agreed

The Sub-Committee agreed a draft MSC circular on Interim Guidelines for the conduct of high-speed craft model tests.

The new 2000 High-Speed Craft Code (HSC Code), which is expected to enter into force on 1 July 2002 and will apply to craft built after that date, includes, amongst other amendments, a requirement for the positioning of an inner bow door on ro-ro HSC fitted with bow-loading openings.  However, exemptions from this requirement are considered to be appropriate in a number of circumstances.

One of the exemptions incorporated in the text of the 2000 HSC Code (paragraph may be invoked if a craft can be shown to comply with certain residual stability criteria even if water accumulates on the vehicle deck(s) as a result of failure of the bow shell door.  Model testing is one option for determining the quantity of water that accumulates.

The proposed interim guidelines for the conduct of HSC model testing are intended to ensure that such model tests would be sufficient and adequate so that the exemption would be applied safely and consistently, and so that the safety of the craft would not be endangered.

The draft interim guidelines and circular will be put forward to the MSC at its 75th session in May 2002 for approval, with a view to reviewing them in a few years time in the light of experience gathered from their application.

Draft amendments to HSC Code agreed

The Sub-committee agreed draft amendments to the 2000 HSC Code relating to paragraphs 2.2.1 and of chapter 2 on buoyancy, stability and subdivision. The draft amendments relate to the integrity of boundaries, openings and penetrations of buoyant spaces which may be subjected to increased fluid pressure after damage.

The amendments were developed based on the lessons learned from the accident involving the high speed craft Sleipner in November 1999, off the coast of Norway.

Revision of SOLAS chapter II-1

The Sub-Committee continued work on the revision of parts A, B and B-1 of SOLAS chapter II-1 (Construction – Structure, subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations). The aim is to finalize the work in 2003 so that a new, revised, chapter can be adopted in 2004 for entry into force in 2006.

The revision is intended to harmonize the subdivision and damage stability provisions contained in part A (General provisions), those for passenger ships (part B) and cargo ships (part B-1), to be based on the “probabilistic” method.

The probabilistic method (resolution A.265(VIII) was originally developed in 1973 through the detailed study of data relating to collisions collected by IMO. 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 earlier “deterministic” method, in which ships’ subdivision is based on theoretical principles.

The Sub-Committee agreed to continue the work intersessionally by re-establishing the Correspondence Group on Subdivision and Damage Stability (SDS). The work will include close liaison with the co-ordinator of the HARDER research project: a project being undertaken by a consortium of European industrial, research and academic institutions to study the probabilistic approach for assessing a ship’s damage stability. The HARDER project is developing damage stability principles that can be used to assess rationally the safety of both existing and future ship designs.

Draft SOLAS regulation on tests of watertight doors agreed

The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/18.2 relating to initial tests of watertight doors in passenger and cargo ships, to allow for prototype testing as an acceptable alternative to actual watertight door testing. The proposed draft text will be submitted to the MSC for approval for future adoption.

Large passenger ship safety

The Sub-Committee discussed issues relating to large passenger ship safety, referred to the Sub-Committee by the MSC as part of its work on large passenger ship safety.

The Sub-Committee agreed to refer a number of issues to the Correspondence Group on Subdivision and Damage Stability (SDS), noting the guiding philosophy that the regulatory framework should place more emphasis on the prevention of a casualty from occurring in the first place; and that future large passenger ships should be designed for improved survivability so that, in the event of a casualty, persons can stay safely on board as the ship proceeds to port.

The tasks for the correspondence group include:

Regulatory gap: Characterize the designed survivability of the ship

To consider how an analytical relationship between the “time to sink” and residual damage stability could be developed for all damage cases in which the survivability index “s” is less than 1.  The methodology should make use of probabilistic principles as necessary to be compatible and used in conjunction with the future probabilistic harmonized stability calculation methods;

Regulatory gap: Structural integrity of the ship after damage

To propose a methodology to consider structural performance after damage that accounts for additional loads due to flooded spaces and hull structural degradation, in terms of damage stability, longitudinal strength and local strength for prevention of progressive flooding.  The methodology should account for the effects of sea state.  For future ships, the methodology would integrate the structural integrity criteria with stability criteria.  For existing ships, the methodology would provide operational guidance;

Regulatory gap: Raking damage issues for future ships

To review the damage stability provisions of draft SOLAS chapter II-1 and make recommendations on how to address bottom raking damage for future large passenger ships.

Load Lines revision

The Sub-Committee continued its ongoing work in developing amendments to the 1988 Protocol to the 1966 Load Lines Convention. The Protocol entered into force in February 2000.

The Sub-Committee re-established a correspondence group to further work on the draft text, in order to finalize the revision, including, among other issues: finalizing the collection of input data for hatch cover loading, strength and safety factors for all types of ships; finalizing work on minimum bow height formulae; continuing research and analysis of minimum freeboard; and considering matters related to watertightness of chain lockers in order to prevent progressive flooding; conducting investigation regarding the distribution of reserve buoyancy.

High-speed craft and Load Lines  - draft MSC circular agreed

The Sub-Committee agreed a draft MSC circular, for submission to the MSC for approval, on the Application of the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, and the 1988 Protocol relating thereto, to high-speed craft. The draft circular recommends that in the case of high-speed craft fully compliant with the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 1994 (1994 HSC Code), Governments can accept the necessary relaxations from the requirements for conditions of assignment of freeboard or any other requirement of ICLL 1966, or of that Convention as modified by its Protocol of 1988. In the case of high-speed craft fully compliant with the 2000 HSC Code Governments can accept the provisions of that Code as incorporating an equivalent standard of protection to ICLL 1966, or that Convention as modified by its Protocol of 1988. As the case may be, an appropriate International Load Lines Certificate should be issued to the craft.