MSC inks tanker changes

Originally published:  01/09/2010

At its 87th session in London this past May 12 to 20, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted several changes to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (Solas) that will impact oil tankers. They cover issues such as gas detection, corrosion prevention and tank coating standards.

Resolution MSC.291(87) revises Solas II- 2/4 by requiring all new and existing tankers to be fitted with equipment capable of measuring oxygen concentrations. This is in addition to the existing requirement to carry at least one portable instrument for measuring flammable vapour concentrations. The revision takes effect on January 1, 2012. Additionally, oil tankers of 20,000 dwt or more will have to be provided with a fixed hydrocarbon gas detection system, to meet the mandatory provisions of the Fire Safety Systems Code, as amended by MSC.292(87).

Solas II-1 was revised through the adoption of MSC.291(87), which requires that the under deck and the bottom of cargo tanks on crude oil and crude/product tankers be protected against corrosion. This will apply to all vessels in scope for which the building contract is placed on or after January 1, 2013 and all vessels delivered on or after January 1, 2016.

Protective coatings must comply with the new IMO performance standard, COTCPS, as adopted by MSC.288(87). Alternatively they should offer corrosion protection in compliance with the standards contained in the new MSC.289(87) or use corrosion resistance material to maintain the required structural integrity for 25 years in accordance with MSC.289(87). This Resolution offers two alternatives: if a protective coating is not applied then corrosion-resistant steel is the only recognised solution.

COTCPS also includes some technical standards relating to surface preparation and paint application. A statement of compliance or type approval certificate must be issued by a third party, independent of the coating manufacturer.

MSC agreed revisions to the Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (Resolution A.714(17)) as contained in MSC.1/ Circ.1352. The amendments will apply in their entirety to containerships constructed on or after January 1, 2015 and existing vessels are urged to comply. The new provisions include:

(a) training and documentation regarding lashing equipment and securing gear as well as fixtures relating to specialised containers;

(b) the principles of design and operational procedures.

The design principles include a variety of safety-related issues. These include carrying out a risk assessment to ensure that securing operations can be safely carried out on all anticipated container configurations, including hi-cube containers and mixed stows of 40-foot and 45-foot containers. Personnel should be provided with a safe place to work, especially when lashing containers at the outermost positions.

The Cargo Securing Manual for all ships, both new and existing, should be written in the working language(s) of the ship and also in English, French or Spanish. New ships designed specifically for carrying containers should be provided with a Cargo Safe Access Plan (CSAP), which should include details on the provision of hand rails, platforms, walkways, ladders, lighting, etc.

MSC also addressed one proposal to amend the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code and approved MSC.1/ Circ.1351, which prohibits the carriage of brown coal briquettes adjacent to hot areas.

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