New legislation and amendments to existing regulations came into force at the start of this year
The first of January is traditionally a day when new legislation and amendments to existing regulations come into force. This year was no different, with several new regulations coming into force. New regulations that may affect your operations include:
International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) (MSC.393(95))
Amendments 03-15, which have been in place on a voluntary basis since January 1, 2016, became mandatory on January 1, 2017. These include updates to existing individual schedules for solid bulk cargoes, 19 new cargo schedules and references to recent SOLAS amendments, along with updated information from the IMDG Code.
International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code) (MSC.406(96))
The amendments to the IMDG Code are voluntary from January 1, 2017 and will be mandatory from the January 1, 2018. Ship operators intending to carry packaged dangerous goods are encouraged to consider adopting the changes from as early as January 1, 2017. There are a significant amount of changes to the code, and as such the IMO have fully revised volumes 1 and 2 of the code. The supplement volume will remain the same as the 2014 edition.
International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code)
The Polar Code entered into force on January 1, 2017 and aims to promote safety and reduce the environmental threat from vessels operating in Polar Regions. The code therefore includes new regulations covering many subjects including vessel design and construction, on board equipment, training standards and operational procedures.
The introduction of the Polar Code brings in a number of related amendments to MARPOL and SOLAS, which will also take effect on January 1, 2017.
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex I
Regulation 12 – Tanks for Oil Residues (Sludge) (MEPC.266(68)) – the amendments apply to all new vessels (>400 GT) as of January 1, 2017.
- Tanks may be fitted with drains (with manually operated self-closing valves and arrangements for subsequent visual monitoring of the settled water) that lead to an oily bilge water holding tank or bilge well or they may be fitted with an alternative arrangement, provided that this arrangement does not connect directly to the bilge piping system.
- The sludge tank discharge piping and bilge-water piping may be connected to a common discharge connection provided it does not allow for the transfer of sludge to the bilge system.
International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS)
- Chapter II-1, Part G, Regulation 56 – Ships using low-flashpoint fuels (MSC 392(95))
- Chapter II-1, Part G, Regulation 57 – Requirements for ships using low-flashpoint fuels (MSC 392(95))
- Chapter II-2, Part B, Regulation 4 – Probability of ignition (MSC.392(95))
- Chapter II-2, Part C, Regulation 11 – Structural Integrity (MSC.392(95)) – 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
- Chapter II-2, Part G, Regulation 20 – Protection of Vehicle, Special Category and Ro-Ro Spaces (MSC.392(95)) – relating to performance of ventilation
- Chapter XIV – Safety Measures for Ships Operating in Polar Regions (MSC.386(94))
International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW)
The January 1, 2017 marks the end of the five year transitional period of introducing the STCW Manila 2010 amendments.
- STCW Manila 2010 – Code – Chapter I – Guidance regarding Definitions and Clarifications (STCW.6/Circ.11)
- STCW Manila 2010 – Code – Chapter V – Guidance regarding Special Training Requirements for Personnel on Certain Types of Ships (STCW.6/Circ.11)
- STCW Manila 2010 – Code – Chapter V – Standards regarding Special Training Requirements for Personnel on Certain Types of Ship (MSC.397(95))
- STCW Manila 2010 – Convention – Chapter I – General Provisions (MSC.396(95))
- STCW Manila 2010 – Convention – Chapter V – Special Training Requirements for Personnel on Certain Types of Ship (MSC.396(95))
International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code)
This is a mandatory code for ships fuelled by gases or other low-flashpoint fuels. It contains mandatory provisions for the arrangement, installation, control and monitoring of machinery, equipment and systems using low-flashpoint fuels, focusing initially on LNG.
China Emission Control Areas
Three emission control areas in China were created to reduce the levels of ship-generated air pollution and focus on the sulphur content of fuels.
The three areas are the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Sea. From January 1, 2017 vessels at berth in a core port within an emission control area should use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% – except one hour after arrival and one hour before departure.