Applicability: shipowners, technical managers, operators, designers and shipbuilders.
The International Maritime Organisation’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has recently implemented new requirements and issued related guidelines on towing and mooring equipment to improve the safety of seafarers during mooring and unmooring operations and to counter the increase of dangerous and sometimes fatal incidents.
These new requirements are incorporated in the amendments to SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-8 contained in Resolution MSC.474(102) and come into force on 1 January 2024. The amended regulation II-1/3-8 applies to passenger ships regardless of size and cargo ships on or over 500gt.
Ahead of the above date, shipowners, shipbuilders, designers, and operators need to consider these upcoming regulatory changes and guidelines when finalising any new build designs. Shipowners and operators need to ensure they have the required maintenance plans, procedures and records in place before these changes come into force.
Application of new requirements
The new requirements in the revised SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-8 apply as follows:
Paragraphs 7 and 8
These are applicable for new ships:
a. for which the building contract is placed on or after 1 January 2024; or
b. in the absence of a building contract, for which the keel is laid or is at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 July 2024; or
c. which are delivered on or after 1 January 2027.
Maintenance and inspection requirements in Paragraph 9 apply to all SOLAS certified ships, both existing and new, from 1 January 2024.
Also note the following guidelines:
Guidelines on the design of mooring arrangements and the selection of appropriate mooring equipment and fittings for safe mooring (MSC.1/Circ. 1619)
Guidelines for inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment including lines (MSC.1/Circ. 1620)
Revised guidance on shipboard towing and mooring equipment (MSC.1/ Circ.1175/Rev.1)
Significant changes for new ships
The existing SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-8 applies to all ships constructed on or after 1 January 2007. It requires arrangements, equipment and fittings (e.g. bollards and bitts, fairleads, pedestal rollers, chocks etc) to have sufficient safe working load to enable the safe conduct of all towing and mooring operations.
MSC/Circ. 1175 (Guidance on shipboard towing and mooring equipment) has been revised to include a design parameter – “Ship design minimum breaking load” (i.e. MBLSD influencing lines, fittings, and their supporting structures) – together with other amendments.
In addition to the above, Paragraph 7 of the amended SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-8 requires the mooring arrangement for ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and above to be designed, and the mooring equipment (including mooring lines) to be selected, based on the MSC.1/Circ.1619 guidelines developed by the International Maritime Organisation.
Paragraph 8 of the amended SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-8 states that ships of less than 3,000 gross tonnage are to comply with the requirements of Paragraph 7 as far as reasonably practicable, or with applicable national standards of the Flag Administration.
MSC.1/Circ.1619 provides an approach to the design of mooring arrangements, and the selection of mooring equipment and fittings, which should be applied in conjunction with principles of ergonomics and usability. The goals and functional objectives specified therein need to be complied with and any deviations, as permitted by the guidelines, need to be documented with appropriate justifications and safety measures adopted.
Significant changes for ships in operation
Paragraph 9 of the amended SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-8 refers to MSC.1/Circ.1620 guidelines for the inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment (including lines) and applies to all ships in service from 1 January 2024.
MSC.1/Circ.1620 specifies recommendations and guidance for maintenance and in-service inspections of mooring equipment (including lines and tails), criteria for identifying worn-out lines and tails for removal from service before failure, and criteria for selection of replacement mooring lines and tails etc.
It is expected that all SOLAS ships from 1 January 2024 shall have documented maintenance plans, procedures and records for mooring operations, inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment (including mooring lines) as per the guidance provided in the circular MSC.1/Circ.1620.
Impact on ship design
It is recommended that shipowners, shipbuilders, designers, and operators need their new build designs to take into account the amendments to SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-8 and related circulars, which could have a significant impact on mooring arrangement and equipment selection (including lines).
Impact on shipowners and operators
Shipowners and operators need to be aware that the new regulations for inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment (including lines) apply to all ships in service from 1 January 2024. The necessary documentation needed to comply with the new regulations should be in place ahead of the entry into force date.
Please also see Class News 15/2023.
The IMO documents discussed in this Class News can be downloaded here https://webaccounts.imo.org/Common/WebLogin.aspx. Public user registration is required.
The MSC resolutions, when made available, can be accessed using the IMO knowledge centre https://www.imo.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/Pages/Default.aspx
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