As the summer months come to an end, a surprisingly active season of regulatory announcements, updates and enactments took place in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Below is a summary of the more important topics that affect both private and commercial yachts.
Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 92nd session
The International Maritime Organization’s MSC adopted amendments to SOLAS regulation III/19 to require musters of newly embarked passengers prior to or immediately upon departure, instead of “within 24 hours”, as stated in the current regulations.
The amendments are expected to enter into force on Jan. 1, 2015.
Following discussion in an MSC working group on passenger ship safety, the MSC approved measures for passenger ship companies to enhance the safety of passenger ships to include several new recommendations. These related to the harmonization of bridge navigational procedures across a fleet or fleets; documented procedures to ensure the securing of heavy objects are incorporated into the safety management system; stowage of life-jackets, including the stowage of additional life jackets near muster stations; extending the use of video for passenger emergency instruction notices; and following voyage planning guidance in the case of any deviation.
Additional amendments to SOLAS regulation III/19 for emergency training and drills were added. The regulation will now mandate enclosed-space entry and rescue drills. This will require crew members with enclosed-space entry or rescue responsibilities to participate in actual drills at least once every two months. Previously, such drills were only required if voluntarily identified in the safety management system.
We will also see amendments to the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention, otherwise known as the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. New wording was inserted related to Resources and Personnel that will emphasize the company’s responsibility to ensure that the ship is appropriately manned.
Tokyo MOU announces new inspection scheme
The Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control in the Asia-Pacific Region (Tokyo MOU) announced a New Inspection Regime (NIR) for the selection of ships from Jan. 1, 2014.
Noting that the Paris and Tokyo MOUs endeavor to harmonize their PSC procedures to the highest level between the two regions, the Tokyo MOU NIR was developed by taking advantage of the inspection scheme introduced in the Paris MOU a couple of years ago.
The Tokyo MOU will adopt related instruments in the next meeting to be held in October in Tokyo, Japan.
Under the NIR, ships (and yachts) will be identified into three categories: high-risk ships, standard-risk ships and low-risk ships. The ship risk profile will be calculated automatically and recorded in the PSC database system.
Under the NIR, different time windows and inspection intervals will be applied to the corresponding categories in accordance with the risk levels. This will establish a system to ensure that high-risk ships are subject to more frequent inspections while low-risk ships would be awarded with a wider time window for inspections.
The existing ship targeting factors will be replaced by the Ship Risk Profile, calculated based on the following elements and using historical data of inspections in the region during a three-year period:
* Performance of the flag of the ship (e.g. Black or White List of flags, status on completion of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS))
* Type of ship
* Age of ship
* Performance of the recognized organizations (RO) (such as flag states)
* Performance of the company responsible for ISM management
* Number of deficiencies
* Number of detentions
Paris MOU announces new target list
The Paris MOU Committee approved the 2012 inspection results and adopted new performance lists for Flag States and Recognized Organizations. The new lists took effect July 1. The “black, grey, and white (BGW) lists” present the full spectrum, from quality flags to flags with a poor performance that are considered high or very high risk. It is based on the total number of inspections and detentions over a three-year rolling period for flags with at least 30 inspections in the period.
The BGW lists for 2012 comprise 78 flags: 14 on the black list, 18 on the grey list, and 45 on the white list. The highest performing flags were France, Germany and Hong Kong. Most flags that were categorized as very high risk in previous years remained so in 2012. The poorest performing flags are Togo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Bolivia.
The Paris MOU also announced its performance listing of Recognized Organizations (ROs). These organizations have been delegated with statutory responsibilities by flag states. Among the best performers were:
1. American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
2. Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
3. Lloyd’s Register (LR)
The lowest performing ROs were:
1. Albanian Register of Shipping (RSA)
3. Phoenix Register of Shipping (PHRS)
On July 1, the new performance lists were incorporated into the process for calculating the ship risk profile.
Capt. Jake DesVergers is chief surveyor for International Yacht Bureau (IYB), an organization that provides flag-state inspection services to yachts on behalf of several administrations. A deck officer graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, he previously sailed as master on merchant ships, acted as designated person for a shipping company, and served as regional manager for an international classification society. Contact him at +1 954-596-2728 or www.yachtbureau.org. Comments on this column are welcome at email@example.com.