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IMO Further Amends SOLAS

The Maritime Safety Committee, the senior technical body of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency concerned with shipping safety and the prevention of pollution from ships, ended its 63rd session recently with some important decisions regarding the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

Amendments to SOLAS The Committee adopted amendments to the International Convention for SOLAS, 1974 — including changes to chapter II-2, regulation 15, which deals with fire protection arrangements for fuel oil, lubrication oil and other flammable oils.

Other amendments affect several regulations in chapter V, which deals with navigational safety. Three new regulations have been added: • Regulation 15-1 requires all tankers of 20,000-dwt and above built after January 1,1996 be fitted with an emergency towing arrangement at both ends. Existing tankers must be fitted with a similar arrangement at the first scheduled drydocking after January 1, 1996, but not later than January 1,1999. • A new regulation 22 is designed to improve navigation/bridge visibility. • The third new regulation, 8-1, makes the use of IMO-approved ship reporting mandatory. The systems are used to provide, gather or exchange information through radio reports, and are used for search and rescue operations, vessel traffic services, weather forecasting and prevention of marine pollution.

Amendments To IGC Code The International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) and the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases (Gas Carrier Code) were both amended. The changes deal with the filling limits for cargo tanks. The IGC Code, mandatory under SOLAS, applies to ships built after July 1, 1986. The Gas Carrier Code applies to ships built before that date. The amendments are expected to enter into force under the tacit acceptance procedure on January 1, 1996.

The 1995 STCW Conference The Committee agreed to revise the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978. The revision will amount to a complete re-writing of the Convention, and is being carried out under a specially expedited procedure in the hope of effecting changes several years ahead of the original schedule.

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