Safer transport for seaborne dangerous goods as IMDG Code becomes mandatory
Uniform, global rules for the safe transport by sea of dangerous goods and marine pollutants in packaged form are now compulsory, following the entry into force on 1 January 2004 of the 2002 amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, making the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code mandatory.
In welcoming the development, IMO Secretary-General Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos observed that the decision by IMO Member States in 2002 to make the IMDG Code mandatory was aimed at greatly enhancing the safe transport of dangerous goods, by ensuring uniformity of regulations worldwide.
"The IMDG Code is a key IMO instrument which is crucial for the secure multimodal transport of dangerous goods. The Code's detailed technical requirements are now globally enforceable by maritime Administrations worldwide and this should ensure that ships carrying substances covered by the Code do so safely and reliably, and without polluting the oceans" Mr. Mitropoulos said.
Since the amendments to SOLAS Chapter VII (Carriage of Dangerous Goods) to make the IMDG Code mandatory were adopted in 2002, IMO's Technical Co-operation Programme has delivered a number of regional and national courses on the implementation of the IMDG Code, to which participants from around 100 countries were invited.
The IMDG Code
The decision to
make the Code mandatory followed years of its application as a recommendatory
instrument since its adoption by the fourth IMO Assembly in 1965. Since then,
the Code has undergone many changes, both in appearance and content to keep
pace with the ever changing needs of the industry. Amendments to the IMDG Code
originate from two sources: proposals submitted directly to IMO by Member States;
and amendments required to take account of changes to the United Nations Recommendations
on the Transport of Dangerous Goods which set the basic requirements for all
the transport modes.
The IMDG Code lays down basic principles and contains detailed recommendations for individual substances, materials and articles, as well as a number of recommendations for good operational practice including advice on terminology, packing, labelling, stowage, segregation and handling, and emergency response action.
The two-volume Code
is divided into seven parts -
Other amendments to SOLAS which entered into force on 1 January 2004 included the following:
Updates to Chapter IV - Radiocommunications - The amendments to this chapter relate to changes following the full implementation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) on 1 February 1999, which renders some of the provisions relating to implementation dates in the current Chapter IV superfluous.
The amendments also state that a listening watch on VHF Channel 16 for distress and safety purposes should continue until 2005.
Carriage requirement for IAMSAR Manual - An amendment to Chapter V - Safety of Navigation, requires ships to carry an up-to-date copy of Volume III of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual.
Amendments to the 1988 Protocol to SOLAS, 1974, relate to updates to the Record of Equipment for the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate (Form P); Record of Equipment for the Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate (Form R); and Record of Equipment for the Cargo Ship Safety Certificate (Form C).
IMO - the International Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
Web site: www.imo.org