SOLAS/MARPOL: Latest amendments on the way and List of amendments expected to enter into force in the coming years

1 January 2011: Entry into force of December 2008 amendments to SOLAS
Amendments to SOLAS chapter VI to make mandatory the International Ma...ritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) The IMSBC Code will replace the Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes (BC Code), which was first adopted as a recommendatory code in 1965 and has been updated at regular intervals since then.

The aim of the mandatory IMSBC Code is to facilitate the safe stowage and shipment of solid bulk cargoes by providing information on the dangers associated with the shipment of certain types of cargo and instructions on the appropriate procedures to be adopted.

1 January 2011: Entry into force of June 2009 amendments to SOLAS
ECDIS and BNWAS to be made mandatory under SOLAS
Amendments to SOLAS regulation V/19, to make mandatory the carriage of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm Systems (BNWAS), under SOLAS chapter V, Safety of Navigation. The requirements will be mandatory for new ships and phased-in for existing ships.

Other SOLAS amendments coming into force:
• an amendment to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-5.2, to prohibit all new installations of asbestos on board ships, without exceptions; and
• amendments to the title of Chapter VI to read, Carriage of Cargoes "and Oil Fuels" and to Regulation VI/5-1 on Material safety data sheets (MSDS) to require MSDS to be provided for ships carrying oil or oil fuel, prior to the loading of such oil as cargo in bulk or bunkering of oil fuel. The MSC also approved Recommendations for material safety data sheets (MSDS) for MARPOL Annex I type cargoes and oil fuels.

1 January 2011: Entry into force of July 2009 amendments to MARPOL
MARPOL Annex I - transfer of oil cargo between oil tankers at sea
Amendments to MARPOL Annex I for the prevention of marine pollution during some ship-to-ship (STS) oil transfer operations.

The new chapter 8 on Prevention of pollution during transfer of oil cargo between oil tankers at sea will apply to oil tankers of 150 gross tonnage and above and will require any oil tanker involved in oil cargo STS operations to have, on board, a plan prescribing how to conduct STS operations (the STS Plan), which would be approved by its Administration.

Notification to the relevant coastal State will be required not less than 48 hours in advance of the scheduled STS operations although some relaxation to this rule is allowed in certain, very specific, cases. The regulations are not intended to apply to bunkering operations.

Consequential amendments to the International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) Certificate, the Supplement to the IOPP Certificate and the Oil Record Book.

Amendments to MARPOL Annex I regulations 1, 12, 13, 17 and 38, relating to the on board management of oil residue (sludge). The amendments clarify long standing requirements and remove existing ambiguities in order to facilitate compliance by ships' crews. Definitions for oil residue (sludge), oil residue (sludge) tanks, oily bilge water and oily bilge water holding tanks are introduced for the first time. Related amendments to the Supplement to the IOPP Certificate, Form A and Form B, and to the Oil Record Book.

1 August 2011: Entry into force of March 2010 amendments to MARPOL
Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI (Prevention of air pollution from ships) to formally establish a North American Emission Control Area, in which emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter from ships will be subject to more stringent controls than the limits that apply globally.

New MARPOL regulation, to protect the Antarctic from pollution by heavy grade oils, in MARPOL Annex I (Regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil) on Special requirements for the use or carriage of oils in the Antarctic area, a new chapter 9 with a new regulation 43, which would prohibit the carriage, in bulk as cargo, or carriage and use as fuel, of: crude oils having a density, at 15°C, higher than 900 kg/m3; oils, other than crude oils, having a density, at 15°C, higher than 900 kg/m3 or a kinematic viscosity, at 50°C, higher than 180 mm2/s; or bitumen, tar and their emulsions. An exception is envisaged for vessels engaged in securing the safety of ships or in a search-and-rescue operation.

1 January 2012: Entry into force of May 2010 amendments to SOLAS
Goal-based standards
International Goal based Ship Construction Standards for Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, along with amendments to Chapter II-1. The new SOLAS regulation II-1/3-10 will apply to oil tankers and bulk carriers of 150m in length and above. It will require new ships to be designed and constructed for a specified design life and to be safe and environmentally friendly, in intact and specified damage conditions, throughout their life. Under the regulation, ships should have adequate strength, integrity and stability to minimize the risk of loss of the ship or pollution to the marine environment due to structural failure, including collapse, resulting in flooding or loss of watertight integrity.

Corrosion andfire protection
A new SOLAS regulation II-1/3-11 on Corrosion protection of cargo oil tanks of crude oil tankers, to require all such tanks to be protected against corrosion, with related performance standards also adopted.

Amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/4.5.7 on Gas measurement and detection and to SOLAS regulation II-2/7.4.1 relating to fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems. Amendments to the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code).

1 January 2012: Entry into force of June 2010 Manila amendments to STCW
Major revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention), and its associated Code adopted at a Diplomatic Conference in Manila, the Philippines, held from 21 to 25 June 2010.

"The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Code" are aimed at bringing the Convention and Code up to date with developments since they were initially adopted in 1978 and further revised in 1995; and to enable them to address issues that are anticipated to emerge in the foreseeable future.

Amongst the amendments adopted, there are a number of important changes to each chapter of the Convention and Code, including:

* Improved measures to prevent fraudulent practices associated with certificates of competency and strengthen the evaluation process (monitoring of Parties' compliance with the Convention);
* Revised requirements on hours of work and rest and new requirements for the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as updated standards relating to medical fitness standards for seafarers;
* New certification requirements for able seafarers;
* New requirements relating to training in modern technology such as electronic charts and information systems (ECDIS);
* New requirements for marine environment awareness training and training in leadership and teamwork;
* New training and certification requirements for electro-technical officers;
Updating of competence requirements for personnel serving on board all types of tankers, including new requirements for personnel serving on liquefied gas tankers;
* New requirements for security training, as well as provisions to ensure that seafarers are properly trained to cope if their ship comes under attack by pirates;
* Introduction of modern training methodology including distance learning and web-based learning;
* New training guidance for personnel serving on board ships operating in polar waters; and
* New training guidance for personnel operating Dynamic Positioning Systems.

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