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List of amendments expected to enter into force this year and in the coming years

Includes certain other specified "effective dates"


1 January 2017 – Polar Code

The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) and related amendments to make it mandatory under both SOLAS and MARPOL enter into force.

The Polar Code will apply to new ships constructed after 1 January 2017. Ships constructed before 1 January 2017 will be required to meet the relevant requirements of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 January 2018

1 January 2017 - MARPOL Annex I  - oil residues

Amendments to regulation 12 of MARPOL Annex I, concerning tanks for oil residues (sludge). The amendments update and revise the regulation, expanding on the requirements for discharge connections and piping to ensure oil residues are properly disposed of.

1 January 2017 – SOLAS – IGF Code

International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), along with amendments to make the Code mandatory under SOLAS enter into force.

Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), and STCW Code, to include new mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code, also enter into force on 1 January 2017.

1 January 2017 – SOLAS - venting

Amendments to SOLAS regulations II-2/4.5 and II-2/11.6, clarifying the provisions related to the secondary means of venting cargo tanks in order to ensure adequate safety against over- and under-pressure in the event of a cargo tank isolation valve being damaged or inadvertently closed, and SOLAS regulation II-2/20 relating to performance of ventilation systems.  

1 January 2017 - STCW Manila amendments transitional provisions end

​​​From 1 January 2017, STCW certificates must be issued, renewed and revalidated in accordance with the provisions of the 2010 Manila Amendments.

1 September 2017 - MARPOL amendments sewage special area, NOx tier III reporting

MARPOL amendments adopted in April 2016 (MEPC 69) enter into force:

  • amendments to MARPOL Annex IV relating to the dates for implementation of the discharge requirements for passenger ships while in a special area, i.e. not before 1 June 2019 for new passenger ships and not before 1 June 2021 for existing passenger ships;
  • amendments to MARPOL Annex II, appendix I, related to the revised GESAMP hazard evaluation procedure;
  • amendments to MARPOL Annex VI regarding record requirements for operational compliance with NOX Tier III emission control areas;
  • amendments to the NOX Technical Code 2008 to facilitate the testing of gas-fuelled engines and dual fuel engines.

1 January 2018 - Revised FAL Convention

The revised Annex to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) includes mandatory requirements for the electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew and passengers.

A new recommended practice encourages the use of the “single window” concept, to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo, to be submitted via a single portal without duplication. 

Other revised standards cover shore leave and access to shore-side facilities for crew, including the addition of a paragraph in the standard to say that there should be no discrimination, in respect of shore leave, on grounds of nationality, race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, or social origin, and irrespective of the flag State of the ship on which seafarers are employed, engaged or work.

Standards and recommended practices relating to stowaways are also updated, to include references to relevant sections of the International Ship and Port Facilities’ Security (ISPS) Code. A new standard requires Governments, where appropriate, to incorporate into their national legislation legal grounds to allow prosecution of stowaways, attempted stowaways and any individual or company aiding a stowaway or an attempted stowaway with the intention to facilitate access to the port area, any ship, cargo or freight containers. 
The IMO Standardized Forms (FAL forms), which cover IMO General Declaration; Cargo Declaration; Ship's Stores Declaration; Crew's Effects Declaration; Crew List• Passenger List and Dangerous Goods have also been revised.

1 March 2018 - MARPOL Annex VI Collection and reporting of ship fuel oil consumption data

Adopted by MEPC 70. New mandatory fuel oil data collection system. Amendments to chapter 4 of annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) add new Regulation 22A on Collection and reporting of ship fuel oil consumption data. Under the new requirements, ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above will have to collect consumption data for each type of fuel oil they use, as well as other, additional, specified data including proxies for transport work. Also new appendices covering Information to be submitted to the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database and form of the Statement of Compliance, which would be issued to the ship once the relevant data had been reported. Other regulations are amended to cater for the new requirement, including those related to certificates, surveys and port State control.

1 March 2018 - MARPOL Annex I (IOPPC), MARPOL Annex V (HME products)

Adopted by MEPC 70:

  • Amendments to MARPOL Annex I to update Form B of the Supplement to the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate, in relation to segregated ballast tanks;
  • Amendments to MARPOL Annex V related to products which are hazardous to the marine environment (HME) and Form of Garbage Record Book. The amendments provide criteria for the classification of solid bulk cargoes as harmful to the marine environment and are aimed at ensuring that such substances are declared by the shipper if they are classed as harmful and are not discharged.

1 July 2018 - STCW Polar waters, emergency training on passenger ships

Adopted by MSC 97. Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and its related STCW Code, to include new mandatory minimum training requirements for masters and deck officers on ships operating in Polar Waters; and an extension of emergency training for personnel on passenger ships.

1 July 2018 - ESP Code

Amendments to the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (2011 ESP Code). Adopted by MSC 97.

1 January 2019 - MARPOL amendments Annex VI NECAS, bunker delivery note

Adopted by MEPC 71:

  • Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to designate the North Sea and the Baltic Sea as emission control areas (ECAs) for nitrogen oxides (NOX) under regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI.  Both ECAs will take effect on 1 January 2021, thereby considerably lowering emissions of NOx from international shipping in those areas.
  • Amendments to the information to be included in the bunker delivery note relating to the supply of marine fuel oil to ships which have fitted alternative mechanisms to address sulphur emission requirements.

1 January 2019 - IMSBC Code

The 2017 set of draft amendments (04-17) to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), to update requirements for a number of cargoes. The amendments also included those relating to paragraphs 4.5.1 and 4.5.2, highlighting the responsibility of the shipper for ensuring that a test to determine the transportable moisture limit (TML) of a solid bulk cargo is conducted. Also included were amendments related to substances which are harmful to marine environment, to require the shipper to declare whether or not a solid bulk cargo, other than grain, is harmful to the marine environment.

1 September 2019 MARPOL Annex VI amendments
Amendment to  Regulation 13 – Nitrogen oxides (NOX) to make clearer emission control areas for NOx, by replacing the words "an emission control area designated under paragraph 6 of this regulation" with the words "a NOX Tier III emission control area";

Amendments to Regulation 21 – Required EEDI to update the reference values for Ro-ro cargo ship and Ro-ro passenger ship. 

13 October 2019 Amendments to the BWM Convention

The amendments to the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (BWM Convention) relate to the implementation of the treaty, including the schedule for ships to comply with the requirement to meet the so-called D-2 standard (amendments to section B).

Other amendments (to sections A and D) make mandatory the Code for approval of ballast water management systems, which was also be adopted at the session. Further amendments relate to section E on survey and certification.

1 January 2020 - MARPOL Annex VI 0.50% sulphur limit

The global limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships of 0.50% m/m (mass by mass) enters into effect from 1 January 2020. This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxide emanating from ships and should have major health and environmental benefits for the world, particularly for populations living close to ports and coasts. See here for further information. .

1 January 2020 - SOLAS amendments , amendments to Codes

Amendments adopted by MSC 97:

  • Amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-12 on protection against noise, regulations II-2/1 and II-2/10 on firefighting and new regulation XI-1/2-1 on harmonization of survey periods of cargo ships not subject to the ESP Code.
  • Amendments to the 2008 International code on Intact Stability (IS Code), relating to ships engaged in anchor handling operations and to ships engaged in lifting and towing operations, including escort towing. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020.
  • Amendments to the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code), clarifying the distribution of crew in public spaces for the calculation of stairways width. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020.
  • Amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code), aligning the wheelhouse window fire-rating requirements in the IGC Code with those in SOLAS chapter II-2. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020.

Amendments adopted by MSC 98:

  • A set of amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 relating to subdivision and damage stability. The amendments were developed following a substantive review of SOLAS chapter II-1, focusing in particular on new passenger ships. The review has taken into account recommendations arising from the investigation into the 2012 Costa Concordia incident. In conjunction with the adoption of the aforementioned amendments, the MSC adopted the Revised Explanatory Notes to SOLAS chapter II-1 subdivision and damage stability regulations. The MSC also approved the Revised guidance for watertight doors on passenger ships which may be opened during navigation.  
  • Amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/3.56, relating to the definition of vehicle carrier and draft new SOLAS regulation II-2/20.2 on fire safety requirements for cargo spaces containing vehicles with fuel in their tanks for their own propulsion, specifically vehicles which do not use their own propulsion within the cargo space.
  • Amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/ to clarify the requirements for fire integrity of windows on passenger ships carrying not more than 36 passengers and on special purpose ships with more than 60 (but no more than 240) persons on board.
  • Amendments to SOLAS regulations III/1.4, III/30 and III/37 on damage control drills for passenger ships, to require damage control drills to take place on all passenger ships from 2020.