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New yacht regulations for 2015

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As we say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in the New Year, we look ahead to what awaits us in the world of maritime regulations. It is time again for our annual update.

We will see a number of new regulations enter into force this year. Here is a summary of those that will affect new and existing yachts.

Emission control areas

Jan. 1, 2015: The Emission Control Areas (ECA) in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, North American area, and the waters adjacent to the coasts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will enforce a new emission standard.

The new standard of 0.1 percent fuel sulfur (1,000 ppm) is expected to reduce airborne particulate matter and sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 85 percent from today’s levels. Vessels will be required to either use a distillate, an alternate fuel, or install a scrubber that removes sulphur from the exhaust after combustion.

Fire safety systems

Jan. 1, 2015: SOLAS regulation II/2-10.10.1 requires the provision of a low-volume alarm on the self-contained compressed air breathing apparatus. This is part of the fireman’s outfit.

Recovery of persons from the water

First periodical or renewal survey during 2015: New SOLAS Regulation III/17-1 requires all vessels above 500 gt to have ship-specific plans and procedures for the recovery of persons from the water. The plans and procedures shall identify the equipment intended to be used for recovery purposes and measures to be taken to minimize the risk to shipboard personnel involved in recovery operations.

This regulation applies to new SOLAS ships constructed on or after July 1, 2014, and to existing ships by the first periodical or renewal safety equipment survey after that date.

All commercial yachts above 500 gt must ensure that they have plans and procedures onboard showing how the yacht can recover persons from the sea.

Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System (BNWAS)

First periodical or renewal survey during 2015: This new piece of equipment will be enforced on yachts of 150 gt and greater. The purpose of a BNWAS is to monitor bridge activity and detect operator disability, which could lead to marine accidents.

The system monitors awareness of the officer of the watch and automatically alerts the master or another qualified person if for any reason the OOW becomes incapable of performing his/her duties. This purpose is achieved by a series of indications and alarm to alert first the OOW and, if he is not responding, the master or another qualified person.

Additionally, the BNWAS provides the OOW with a means of calling for immediate assistance if required.

Newly embarked passengers

Jan. 1, 2015: New paragraph 19.2.2 is added to SOLAS Chapter III. The new regulation requires that the mustering of newly embarked passengers shall take place prior to or immediately upon departure.  The previous regulation permitted the mustering to be completed within 24 hours.

Enclosed space entry

Jan. 1, 2015: New paragraph 19.3.3 is added to SOLAS Chapter III. The new regulation requires that crew members conduct an enclosed space entry drill at two-month intervals. Evidence of these drills must be recorded in the vessel’s log books.

ISM Code: Multiple revisions

Jan. 1, 2015: A new section 6.2.1 and the new sub-paragraph 6.2.2 replace Regulation 6.2.  The new clause requires that the owner or appointed management company on the owner’s behalf, is responsible for ensuring that the manning of the yacht also encompass all aspects of maintaining safe operations on board. This expands the preference reference to the Principles of Minimum Safe Manning, as adopted by Resolution A.1047 (27).

Jan. 1, 2015: New paragraph 12.2 is added to ensure that the company will periodically verify whether all those undertaking delegated ISM-related tasks are acting in conformity with the company‘s responsibilities under the code.

Energy efficiency

Sept. 1, 2015: As part of the tiered implementation of air protection regulations in MARPOL, the attained Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for newly built ships, including yachts, is not to exceed a maximum required EEDI. The EEDI requirements do not apply to ships that have diesel-electric propulsion, turbine propulsion, or hybrid propulsion systems.

Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006

Multiple dates in 2015: The MLC will enter into force on various dates during 2015, depending upon the exact signing date for the particular country. MLC will require all commercial yachts to be inspected and certified by its flag-state or a classification society appointed on their behalf.

In force dates for the major yachting flags and locations are:

Seychelles Jan. 7

Argentina, May 28

Belize, July 8

Ireland July 21

Maldives Oct. 7

Fiji, Oct. 10.

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 editorial@the-triton.com.

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