Applicability: shipowners, ship operators, ship managers, ship masters, service suppliers and manufacturers. 

The IMO is amending the requirements for carrying out the periodic servicing of life-saving appliances, and is also amending the requirements for authorisation of service suppliers/providers carrying out the periodic servicing.

IMO Resolution MSC.404(96) amends SOLAS Regulation III/20.11, which contains requirements for periodic servicing of launching appliances and release gear, to mandate the requirements included in Resolution MSC.402(96) ‘Requirements for Maintenance, Thorough Examination, Operational Testing, Overhaul and Repair of Lifeboats and Rescue Boats, Launching Appliances and Release Gear’.

IMO Resolution MSC.402(96) effectively supersedes and mandates the requirements previously included in MSC.1/Circular.1206/Rev.1 and also MSC.1/Circular 1277.

The resolutions introduce new requirements for:

  • Thorough examination and operational testing lifeboats (including free-fall lifeboats), rescue boats and fast rescue boats
  • Thorough examination and operational testing of off-load release gear for lifeboats (including primary and secondary means of launching appliances for free-fall lifeboats), rescue boats and fast rescue boats
  • Manufacturers (including OEMs), who carry out servicing, are required to comply with IMO Res. MSC.402(96) requirements for Authorisation of Service Providers.
  • Certification issued by service suppliers/providers to their personnel, must include the level of qualification and scope of the certification (i.e. makes and types/models of equipment and specifically stated activities, such as annual or five-yearly inspections).
  • Weekly and monthly inspections and routine maintenance, as specified in the equipment maintenance manual(s). These must be conducted by authorised service providers, or by shipboard personnel under the direction of the senior ship’s officer in accordance with the maintenance manual(s).
  • Annual thorough examinations and operational tests and/or five-year thorough examinations, overhaul, overload operational tests and repairs, must be carried out by certified personnel of either the manufacturer or an authorised service provider.

Lloyd’s Register’s Procedures for the Approval of Service Suppliers has been updated because of IMO Resolution MSC.402(96), and the resultant changes to IACS UR Z17.

Service suppliers/providers that require approval to IMO Resolution MSC.402(96) should contact their local Lloyd’s Register office.

What should owners and operators do now?

Owners and operators must ensure that, from 1 January 2020, all required thorough examinations, operational tests, overhaul and repair of equipment are carried out by personnel certified by an authorised service provider in accordance with IMO Resolution MSC.402(96) for each make and type/model of equipment to be worked on.

A useful summary table of SOLAS Requirements for Maintenance Servicing, Testing and Drills can be found here

The latest instructions and information from Flag Administrations that accept or recognize Lloyd’s Register approved Service Suppliers authorized to carry out this service can be found here.

For further information contact your local Lloyd's Register office or