Proposed amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 on subdivision and damage stability were agreed by the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC), which was meeting for its second session, for submission to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), with a view of approval by MSC 95 in June 2015 and subsequent adoption.
The focus of the current revision is to revise and update subdivision and damage stability regulations*, in view of experience gained with the harmonized probabilistic concept for cargo and passenger ships which entered into force in 2009.
The harmonized SOLAS regulations on subdivision and damage stability, as contained in SOLAS chapter II-1, are based on a probabilistic concept, which uses the probability of survival after collision as a measure of ships’ safety in a damaged condition. The current revision of the regulations has taken into account a number of recent studies, such as the EU-funded GOAL based Damage Stability project (GOALDS), FLOODSTAND and EMSA 2.
Work on the revision of the required subdivision index “R” for new passenger ships, taking into account the number of people on board a ship, will continue at SDC 3, in January 2016, in view of the need for further input from the validation of the results of the EU-funded EMSA 3 project. The required subdivision index “R” is a formula used to determine the probability of survival of a ship.
Watertight doors on passenger ships – SOLAS amendment agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II 1/22, to clarify when watertight doors may be opened during a voyage, for submission to MSC 95 for approval and subsequent adoption.
The proposed amendments would delete the current SOLAS Regulation II-1/22.4, which allows for certain watertight doors to be permitted to remain open during navigation only if considered absolutely necessary, including if “being open is determined essential to the safe and effective operation of the ship’s machinery”; or “to permit passengers normally unrestricted access throughout the passenger area”.
The amended regulation would still permit a watertight door to be opened during navigation to permit the passage of passengers or crew, or when work in the immediate vicinity of the door necessitates it being opened. The door must be immediately closed when transit through the door is complete or when the task which necessitated it being open is finished.
The Sub-Committee also agreed to the draft MSC circular on revised Guidance for watertight doors on passenger ships which may be opened during navigation, for submission to MSC 95 for approval. The guidance includes appendices, containing: Procedure for the determination of the impact of open watertight doors on passenger ship survivability (floatability assessment); Technical standards for watertight doors on passenger ships; Flowchart on Guidance for permitting watertight doors on passenger ships to remain open during navigation; and Illustration of application of the floatability assessment under hazardous conditions in the Guidance.
Expansion of mandatory passenger evacuation analysis to all passenger ships agreed
Taking into account the recommendations from the investigation into the Costa Concordia incident, the Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/13 – Means of escape to extend the requirements for evacuation analysis to all passenger ships, not just ro-ro passenger ships.
The amendments would require escape routes to be evaluated by an evacuation analysis early in the design process, applicable to ro-ro passenger ships other passenger ships carrying more than 36 passengers.
The analysis would be used to identify and eliminate, as far as practicable, congestion which may develop during an abandonment, due to normal movement of passengers and crew along escape routes, including the possibility that crew may need to move along these routes in a direction opposite to the movement of passengers. In addition, the analysis would be used to demonstrate that escape arrangements are sufficiently flexible to provide for the possibility that certain escape routes, assembly stations, embarkation stations or survival craft may not be available as a result of a casualty.
The draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/13 will be submitted to MSC 95 for approval and subsequent adoption.
In order to further develop guidelines relating to evacuation analysis, the Sub-Committee established an evacuation analysis correspondence group to prepare draft amendments to the current Guidelines for evacuation analysis for new and existing passenger ships (MSC.1/Circ.1238), in order to address mandatory application of evacuation analysis to passenger ships including a review of the defined scenarios; to consider including in the Guidelines the need for operational procedures that support evacuation, as well as considering the results of the evacuation analysis to identify operational requirements during an evacuation; to discuss and if deemed necessary prepare specific requirements for evacuation of open deck areas; and to identify and consider additional evacuation scenarios together with the necessary requirements to be included in the draft amendments.
Draft circular on definition of industrial personnel developed
The Sub-Committee agreed a definition of “industrial personnel”, for inclusion in a draft MSC circular, to be submitted to MSC 95 for approval. The aim in developing the definition is to assist Member Governments such that they may develop and implement regulations for the safe carriage of industrial personnel on board offshore industry vessels engaged on international voyages. This provides a short-term solution in recognition of the urgent need for its use by the evolving offshore energy sector.
It was agreed that “Industrial personnel means all persons who are not passengers or members of the crew or children of under one year of age, and: are transported or accommodated on board for the purpose of offshore industrial activities; are able-bodied and meet appropriate medical standards; have received basic safety training, according to relevant industry standards; have a fair knowledge of the layout of the ship and the handling of the ship’s safety equipment before departure from port (e.g. through a safety briefing); and are equipped with appropriate personal safety equipment suitable for the risks to safety such personnel are likely to experience on the forthcoming voyage (e.g. immersion suits).”
Meanwhile, the Sub-Committee re-established a correspondence group to finalize draft Guidelines for offshore service craft (OSC) used in windfarm service; further develop with a view towards finalizing the draft Guidelines for offshore construction vessels (OCV) used in windfarm service; further consider the application of the OSC and OCV guidelines to non Convention ships, and other vessels for the offshore energy industry; and report to SDC 3 in 2016.
Interim Guidelines for use of Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft Interim Guidelines for use of Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) for elements within ship structures, intended to facilitate the safe use of FRP composites in shipbuilding, taking into account the material particularities.
FRP composite is a lightweight material composition with a high strength to weight ratio and corrosion resistance compared to steel. The fact that FRP composite is combustible makes fire safety a key issue when considering ship structures in this material.
The comprehensive interim guidelines are aimed at Member Governments, who are invited to apply them when approving alternative designs and arrangements for FRP elements in ship structures in accordance with SOLAS regulation II-2/17 (Alternative design and arrangements).
The interim guidelines are intended to ensure that a consistent approach is taken with regard to standards of fire safety of ships making use of FRP elements in their structures and that the level of fire safety afforded by the provisions of SOLAS chapter II-2 is maintained.
Amendments to plastic pipe guidelines agreed
The Sub-committee agreed draft amendments to the Guidelines for the application of plastic pipes in ships (resolution A.753(18)), as amended by resolution MSC.313(88), for submission to MSC 95 for adoption. The draft amendments update provisions relating to fire protection and containment, in order to take into account technological developments and maintain the highest practical level of safety.
Progress on IS Code draft amendments
The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to part B of the International Code on Intact Stability, 2008 (2008 IS Code) regarding vessels engaged in anchor handling operations for submission to MSC 95 for approval. The Sub-Committee also agreed, in principle, to draft amendments to update the 2008 IS Code, including those related to vulnerability criteria and the standards (levels 1 and 2) related to parametric roll, pure loss of stability and surf-riding / broaching; and to ice accretion in timber deck cargo.
A correspondence group was established to finalize the draft text of the remaining amendments to the 2008 IS Code, regarding vulnerability criteria and standards (levels 1 and 2) related to dead-ship condition and excessive accelerations and to prepare a draft text of the Explanatory Notes for vulnerability criteria as well as the “direct stability assessment and operational guideline”. The correspondence group was also tasked with further proposed amendments to part B of the 2008 IS Code concerning towing and lifting operations and to report to the next session (SDC 3).
Unified interpretations agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft unified interpretations, for submission to MSC 95 for approval, relating to:
- Regulation 36(6) of the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (related to the definition of continuous hatchways);
- the Code on Noise Levels on board Ships (resolution MSC.337(91));
- Guidelines for Safe Access to Tanker Bows (resolution MSC.62(67)), related to arrangements using FRP gratings for safe access to tanker bows; and
- SOLAS regulations II-2/9 Containment of fire and II-2/13 Means of escape.
The Sub-Committee also agreed amendments to update unified interpretations of the provisions of SOLAS chapters II-1 and XII, and the Technical provisions for means of access for inspections (resolution MSC.158(78)) to provide specific guidance on the application of SOLAS regulation II-1/3-6.3.1, as amended, and the revised Technical Provisions for means of access for inspections (resolution MSC.158(78)).