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As we welcome in 2017, we look ahead to what awaits us in the world of maritime regulations. The various regulatory bodies were again busy and 2017 will exhibit many of those initiatives and see several new regulations enter into force.
Here is a summary of those that will affect new and existing yachts.
Jan. 1: New chapter XIV of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) will require all new ships (and yachts) operating in polar waters to comply with these safety provisions.
Safety provisions are applied to those ships designed to operate in ice conditions. Part I-A of the Code contains a requirement for a Polar Waters Operations Manual that contains ship-specific capabilities and limitations with specific procedures to be followed in normal operations, avoiding conditions that exceed the ship’s capabilities, and responding to incidents; maintaining adequate weathertight and watertight integrity through additional measures, such as preventing freezing of closing appliances; icing allowances for intact stability, and residual damage stability after withstanding flooding from unique damage penetration extents; protection of machinery, life-saving arrangements and firefighting equipment with regard to ice accretion, snow accumulation, ice ingestion from seawater, and freezing/increased viscosity of liquids; advanced training for masters and chief mates, and basic training for officers in charge of a navigational watch; and a conditional provision to allow an ice adviser to satisfy the training requirements.
Spaces that carry vehicles
Jan. 1: A reduction in the number of air exchanges is allowed for certain power ventilation systems serving vehicle, special category, and ro-ro spaces. This will primarily affect those yachts that may carry gasoline-powered vehicles in a garage or below deck space. The reduction is permissible on systems that deliver the specified number of air changes (six or 10 air changes per hour, depending on ship type and space served as specified in SOLAS). The space must be fitted with an air quality control system that complies with MSC.1/Circ.1515.
Such ventilation systems, when fitted onboard passenger ships (i.e. PYC yachts), are to be separate from other ventilation systems.
Jan. 1: The “Manila Amendments” are revisions to the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) that are aimed at bringing the Convention and Code up to date with industry developments since they were initially adopted in 1978 and further revised in 1995.
Those areas that affect the yachting industry include changes to licensing of officers and certification of crew; revised requirements on hours of work and rest, training and certification requirements for electro-technical officers; watch officer training for ECDIS; crew training on preventing and responding to acts of piracy; and polar operations.
Jan. 18: Each ship (and commercial yacht) must carry on board a certificate or other documentary evidence of financial security to comply with the new provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention. Information regarding the contents of the certificate or other documentary evidence is provided in the new version of the MLC, Appendix A2-1 and A4-1.
Owners should amend the Declaration of Maritime Labour Code (DMLC) Part II once the relevant flag state has reissued the DMLC Part I to address these new MLC provisions. This should be done at the earliest opportunity, but no later than the first MLC renewal inspection due after Jan. 18, at which time these new provisions will be verified.
Gas, dual-fuel engines
Sept. 1: Amendments to the Nitrous Oxide (NOx) Technical Code. Modifications to the engine test report that permits vessels to be certified for gas-fueled and dual-fuel engines shall be required for new engines installed after this date. This affects any yacht that has main engines capable of using both fuel oil and natural gas.
Capt. Jake DesVergers is chief surveyor for International Yacht Bureau (www.yachtbureau.org). Comments are welcome at email@example.com.