New High-Speed Craft Code and new fire safety regulations amongst SOLAS amendments entering into force on 1 July 2002
Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) affecting many aspects of ship safety enter into force on 1 July 2002. They include a new revised SOLAS chapter on fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction, amendments to chapters II-1, IX and X (to make a new High-Speed Craft Code mandatory) and record of equipment attached to safety certificates.
New rules on fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction
A revised SOLAS chapter II-2 (Construction - Fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction) enters into force, which also makes a new International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) mandatory.
The revised chapter was developed over eight years by the Sub-Committee on Fire Protection and provides an entirely new structure for SOLAS chapter II-2 which may better accommodate the way port and flag States and ship designers deal with fire safety issues in the future.
The new structure focuses on the “fire scenario process” rather than on ship type, as the previous SOLAS chapter II-2 was structured. Thus, the regulations start with prevention, detection, and suppression following all the way through to escape. In addition, to make the revised SOLAS chapter II-2 more user-friendly, specific system-related technical requirements have been moved to the new International Fire Safety Systems Code and each regulation has a purpose statement and functional requirements to assist port and flag States.
The revised SOLAS chapter II-2 has a new part E that deals exclusively with human element matters such as training, drills and maintenance issues and a new part F that sets out a methodology for approving alternative (or novel) designs and arrangements.
International Fire Safety Systems (FSS) Code
Some of the original technical provisions of SOLAS chapter II-2 on fire protection have been transferred from the Convention to the Code, and many others are spelled out in greater detail in the Code. The main reason behind having a separate Code was to separate carriage and other statutory requirements, which clearly belong in the Convention and are meant for the Administration, from purely technical provisions, which are better suited for the Code and may be applied in a more user-friendly manner by equipment manufacturers, systems engineers, etc.
The purpose of the FSS Code is to provide international standards for fire safety systems required by revised SOLAS chapter II-2, under which it is made mandatory. The FSS Code consists of 15 chapters, each addressing specific systems and arrangements, except for chapter I which contains a several definitions and also general requirements for approval of alternative designs and toxic extinguishing media.
Application of chapter II-2 to existing ships
new chapter II-2 applies to ships constructed on or after 1 July 2002. However,
the chapter also applies to existing ships for the following regulations:
Asbestos prohibited in new installations
A new regulation 3-5 in SOLAS Chapter II-1 (Construction – Structure, subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations) prohibits the new installation of materials which contain asbestos on all ships. The regulation states that for all ships, new installation of materials which contain asbestos shall be prohibited except for vanes used in rotary vane compressors and rotary vane vacuum pumps, watertight joints and linings used for the circulation of fluids when, at high temperature or pressure there is a risk of fire, corrosion or toxicity, and supple and flexible thermal insulation assemblies used for temperatures above 1000ºC.
New High-Speed Craft Code, 2000
The new High-Speed Craft Code, 2000 is an updated version of the High-Speed Craft Code adopted in 1994 and made mandatory under SOLAS chapter X (Safety measures for high-speed craft). The new Code applies to all HSC built on or after the date of entry into force.
The original HSC Code was adopted by IMO in May 1994, but the rapid pace of development in this sector of shipping has meant an early revision of the Code. The original Code will continue to apply to existing high-speed craft. The changes incorporated in the new Code are intended to bring it into line with amendments to SOLAS and new recommendations that have been adopted in the past four years - for example, requirements covering public address systems and helicopter pick-up areas.
Consequential amendments to SOLAS chapter X (Safety measures for high-speed craft) - to make the new Code mandatory – were also adopted.
Record of equipment
Amendments to the appendix to the Annex to the Convention include revision of the details of navigational systems and equipment referred to in the records of equipment attached to the relevant safety certificate. The amendments reflect the changes introduced by the revised SOLAS chapter V.
1988 SOLAS Protocol – certificates
Amendments to the 1988 SOLAS Protocol include revision to the details of navigational systems and equipment referred to in the records of equipment attached to certificates. The amendments reflect the changes to SOLAS chapter V.
Amendments to codes
The following amendments to mandatory codes, adopted in December 2000, also enter into force on 1 July 2002:
May 1998 amendments to SOLAS
The following SOLAS amendments which enter into force on 1 July 2002 were adopted in 1998:
In Chapter II-1 - Construction - Subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations, visual examination of welded connections, where filling with water or a hose test are not practicable, is now allowed under regulation 14 on Construction and initial testing of watertight bulkheads, etc., in passenger ships and cargo ships.
In Chapter IV - Radiocommunications, regulation 5-1 requires Contracting Governments to ensure suitable arrangements are in place for registering Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) identities (including ship's call sign, Inmarsat identities) and making the information available 24 hours a day to Rescue Co-ordination Centres. Testing intervals for satellite emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBS) are updated in a new paragraph 9 to regulation 15 Maintenance Requirements. A new regulation 18 on Position updating requires automatic provision of information regarding the ship's position where two-way communication equipment is capable of providing automatically the ship's position in the distress alert. Where manual updating of the ship's position is required, this should be done not less than every four hours when the ship is underway.
In Chapter VI Carriage of Cargoes (Regulation 5) and Chapter VII Carriage of Dangerous Goods (Regulation 6), "all cargoes, other than solid and liquid bulk cargoes" should be loaded, stowed and secured in accordance with the Cargo Securing Manual.
Of all international conventions dealing with maritime safety, the most important is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). It is also one of the oldest, the first version having been adopted at a conference held in London in 1914, in the wake of the Titanic disaster of 1912.
Since then there have been four other SOLAS conventions: the second was adopted in 1929 and entered into force in 1933; the third was adopted in 1948 and entered into force in 1952; the fourth was adopted (under the auspices of IMO) in 1960 and entered into force in 1965; and the present version was adopted in 1974 and entered into force in 1980. It has now been ratified by 141 countries representing 98.34 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage.
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations Specialized Agency with responsibility for the safety of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
Web site: www.imo.org
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