SOLAS Amendments from 1 January 2020

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

December 25, 2019

Image: International Maritime Organization

Image: International Maritime Organization

A set of important amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and various codes mandatory under the Convention enter into force on 1 January 2020, said International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Amendments to SOLAS regulations III/3 and III/20 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 intention is to ensure that seafarers are confident that they can fully rely on the survival craft at their disposal, which should comply with applicable SOLAS requirements.

A set of amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 relating to subdivision and  stability enter into force, amending, among other things, the regulations on the required subdivision of passenger ships to increase their safety, as well as regulations related to the stability information to be provided to a ship's master.

The amendments were developed following a substantive review of SOLAS chapter II-1, focusing in particular on new passenger ships. The review took into account recommendations arising from the investigation into the 2012 Costa Concordia casualty.

Requirements for all new passenger ships carrying more than 36 passengers to be built with evacuation analysis early in the design process come into force.

Amendments to chapter IV of SOLAS and some codes provide for a "recognized mobile satellite service" to be installed for maritime distress and safety communications. Previously, the regulations specified an Inmarsat device.

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