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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"


8 April 2019  - electronic data exchange under FAL Convention

Under the revised Annex to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), from 8 April 2019, it becomes mandatory for ships and ports to exchange FAL data electronically. The revised Convention also encourages use of the so-called “single window” concept in which all the many agencies and authorities involved exchange data via a single point of contact. 

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 96:

  • Amendments to SOLAS regulations III/3 and III/20 to make mandatory the Requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear. This package of provisions aims to prevent accidents with survival craft and addresses longstanding issues such as the need for a uniform, safe and documented standard related to the servicing of these appliances, as well as the authorization, qualification and certification requirements to ensure that a reliable service is provided. The adoption of the amendment and requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair represents the culmination of some ten years work on the issue. The intention is to ensure that seafarers can be confident that they can fully rely on the IMO-mandated life-saving appliances and equipment at their disposal.
  • Amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/13 to extend the requirements for evacuation analysis to all passenger ships, not just ro-ro passenger ships (Associated revised guidelines on evacuation analysis for new and existing passenger ships). 
  • Amendment 38-16 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, to reflect latest changes to the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.
  • Amendments to the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units, 2009 (2009 MODU Code),  to align it with the new provisions of chapter 17 of the FSS Code. 
  • Amendments to chapter 8 of the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) regarding prevention of internal corrosion and clogging of sprinklers and a new chapter 17 of the FSS Code, containing mandatory requirements for helicopter facility foam firefighting appliances. 

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.

Amendments adopted by MSC 99:

  • Amendments to SOLAS regulations II-1/1 and II-1/8-1, concerning computerized stability support for the master in case of flooding for existing passenger ships.
  • Amendments to chapter IV of SOLAS, and the appendix to the annex to the 1974 SOLAS Convention, replacing all references to "Inmarsat" with references to a ”recognized mobile satellite service" and consequential amendments to the International Code of Safety for High speed Craft, 1994 (1994 HSC Code), the International Code of Safety for High-speed Craft, 2000 (2000 HSC Code) and the Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships, 2008 (2008 SPS Code).
  • Amendments to update the IMDG Code (Amendment 39-18) in line with the latest recommendations from the  United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, including new provisions regarding IMO type 9 tank, a set of new abbreviations for segregation groups and special provisions for carriage of lithium batteries and of vehicles powered by flammable liquid or gas.
  • Amendments to annex 3 to the International Code for the Application of Fire Test Procedures, 2010 (2010 FTP Code), concerning fire protection materials and required approval test methods for passenger ships and high speed craft.
  • Amendments to the model forms of the Certificates of Fitness, clarifying the requirement for an approved loading and stability manual/booklet to be supplied to the ship, under the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code), Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (BCH Code), Code for Existing Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (EGC Code), and the Code for the  Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (GC Code). 

1 March 2020 - MARPOL Annex VI amendments - carriage ban on non-compliant fuel oil
Adopted by MEPC 73: The amendment will prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship - unless the ship has an exhaust gas cleaning system ("scrubber") fitted, if accepted by  the flag State as an alternative means to meet the sulphur limit requirement.

The amendment supports consistent implementation of the 0.50% limit on sulphur in ships fuel oil. The 0.50% limit on sulphur in ships' fuel oil is in force from 1 January 2020, with benefits for the environment and human health.

1 October 2020 MARPOL amendments – use of electronic record books

Adopted by MEPC 73: MARPOL Amendments to allow for electronic record books to be used were adopted, for Annex I - Oil Record Book Part I – Machinery space operations and Oil Record Book Part II – Cargo/ballast operations; Annex II - Cargo Record Book; and Annex V - Garbage Record Book; and Annex VI for records relating to Regulation 12 – Ozone-depleting substances, Regulation 13 – Nitrogen oxides (NOX) and Regulation 14 – Sulphur oxides (SOX) and particulate matter. Guidelines for the use of electronic record books under MARPOL have been adopted.

1 October 2020 - MARPOL amendments - EEDI regulations for ice-strengthened ships

Adopted by MEPC 73: Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI , relating to the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) regulations for ice-strengthened ships, replacing the words "cargo ships having ice-breaking capability" with "category A ships as defined in the Polar Code". 

1 January 2021 - MARPOL amendments - Cargo residues and tank washings of persistent floating noxious liquid substances  

Adopted by MEPC 74: 

Amendments to MARPOL Annex II to strengthen, in specified sea areas, discharge requirements for cargo residues and tank washings containing persistent floating products with a high-viscosity and/or a high melting point that can solidify under certain conditions (e.g. certain vegetable oils and paraffin-like cargoes), following concerns about the environmental impact of permissible discharges.

The amendments add new paragraphs to MARPOL Annex II Regulation 13 – Control of discharges of residues of noxious liquid substances, to require prewash and discharge of residue/water mixture generated during the prewash to a reception facility, for specific products, in specified areas (North West European waters, Baltic Sea area, Western European waters and Norwegian Sea).

1 January 2021 - IBC code, IMSBC code, ESP code

Adopted by MSC 101: 

  • A comprehensive set of amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), including the revised chapters 17 (Summary of minimum requirements), 18 (List of products to which the code does not apply), 19 (Index of Products Carried in Bulk) and 21 (Criteria for assigning carriage requirements for products subject to the IBC Code). 
  • The consolidated edition of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), incorporating amendment 05-19. The 2019 amendments include updates to various schedules, such as new individual schedule for BAUXITE FINES as a Group A cargo, as well as editorial amendments. The amendments are incorporated into a consolidated IMSBC Code, to include all amendments to date, since the IMSBC Code was first adopted in 2008.     
  • Amendments to the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections During Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (2011 ESP Code), to update the Code. (Entry into force: 1 January 2021)  
1 January 2024 - SOLAS records of equipment, FSS code, IGF code, LSA code 

Adopted by MSC 101: 
  • Amendments to the appendix to the annex to the 1974 SOLAS, concerning the addition of a footnote to Forms C, E and P in the Records of Equipment. 
  • Amendments to chapter 15 of the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code), relating to inert gas systems. 
  • Amendments to parts A and A-1 of the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), including those relating to regulations on loading limit for liquefied gas fuel tanks, regulations for fuel distribution outside of machinery space, regulations for internal combustion engines of piston type and fire protection for fuel storage hold space; and amendments relating to the protection of the fuel supply for liquefied gas fuel tanks, aimed at preventing explosions. 
  • Amendments to chapters IV and VI of the International Life-Saving Appliance Code (LSA Code), relating to general requirements for lifeboats and launching and embarkation appliances.