New conventions and amendments 1st July 2016.

Below are 2 new conventions and amendments which are expected to enter into force from 1st July 2016.

1 July 2016 – SOLAS – container weight verification
Amendments to SOLAS chapter VI. This was long pending issue and considered major cause of instability on container ship; or even severe accidents.


Wrong declaration of cargo weight in container is very common, which helps shipper to save some freight cost, however if 1000’s of containers has wrong weight then one can imagine what will be the cumulative effect on ship’s stability. Master calculates ship’s stability as per documents provided by planner, planner has documents from shipper and at present there is no verification method in place to get the correct weight (Maximum gross weight is 32480kg) of each container whether it is 20′, 40′ or 45′ normal or high cube.
So this amendment will require mandatory verification of the gross mass of each containers. There are few possible methods, either by weighing the packed container fully, or all packages to be weighed at the time of stuffing. Now a competent authority must verify the cargo weight. at the time of packing the container.
Weighing containers at the time of loading at terminal is another verification where each container will be weighed during loading on board. This facility is not provided on all ports and needs huge investments to modify all cranes.

1 July 2016 – SOLAS -atmosphere testing

Amendments to add a new SOLAS regulation XI-1/7 on Atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces, to require ships to carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument, it should be capable of measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapours, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide, prior to entry into enclosed spaces.

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Famous marine salvages

The legal concept that a marine salvor is entitled to a reward for the saving of imperilled marine property has been a recognized part of the admiralty law for more than 3,000 years.

SALCON 89 – International convention on Salvage 1989, replaced an old salvage convention adopted in Brussels in 1910, there was “‘no cure, no pay” principle earlier, means a salvor is only rewarded for services if the operation is successful. New 1989 Convention, introduced “special compensation” to be paid to salvors who have failed to earn a reward in the normal way (i.e. by salving the ship and cargo). Special Compensation is additional payment of 30 to 100% of the salvor’s expenses, which is for their effort to save environment, marine life, human health and resources, which were unrecognised earlier.

Myth – The law of salvage is a concept in maritime law which states that a person who recovers another person’s ship or cargo after peril or loss at sea is entitled to a reward commensurate with the value of the property so saved.

Fact – Even when a vessel is “abandoned” and left without intention to return or hope of recovery, the vessel remains the property of her owner absent some affirmative act by the owner which clearly and convincingly establishes a positive intent on the part of the owner to part with ownership.

Slide2Many salvage operations have been undertaken over the century, these numbers are more than what people hoped for. Some of them are famous because of name attached to it.





The wreck was found in 1985, 73 years after the ship sank, now the ship structure is so fragile that it cannot be salvaged, however salvagers has recovered many artifacts from within the ship.
In 1985, a joint American-French expedition discovered the wreck of the Titanic in the North Atlantic Ocean in international waters. Two years later, Titanic Ventures, a limited partnership, explored the wreck, bringing up approximately 1,800 artifacts. Thereafter, it sold its interests in the salvage operations and the artifacts to RMST.
In 1993, RMST commenced this in rem action against the Titanic to become its salvor-in-possession.

German Fleet in Scapa Flow
It is the biggest salvage operation in the history. After the end of World War I, Germans decided to scuttle their fleet to avoid being seized by Allies. There were 74 German ships in Scapa Flow, Scotland, UK after WWI, waiting for their fate after surrender, on German commander’s order all were planned to scuttle (puncturing the hull by opening sea valves, opening port holes etc). On 21st June 1919, 52 warships out of 74 warships were scuttled, and these became biggest wreck in the history. New salvage technique was developed, hull were patched, air was pumped in to make the ship rise to the surface. One of the salvage operation was costing £30000, about 45 ships were salvaged in next 20 years. 7 wrecks are still there and designated as monuments, used by divers for underwater tourism.

Pearl Harbor
7th December 1941, Japan sank 5 battleships, 2 destroyers, a target ship and a mine layer of American Navy at Pearl Harbor. Within 6 months US Navy refloated 5 ships and 2 cruisers by patching holes and pumping out water. Later, 20000 underwater man-hours were spent for another year to salvage remaining ships, which were not successful. It was one of the most difficult salvage operations in history.

Costa Concordia
114,500-ton cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized at island of Giglio in January 2012, killing 32 people. Ship was turned upright and secured to an artificial platform after a massive salvage operation in September 2013, in May 2014 she was towed 240-km to Genoa.
Submerged platform and around 30 buoyancy tanks were used to refloat and tow the ship, it was the largest salvage operation ever attempted, and the most expensive, at a cost of $1.5 billion so far.

12th August 2000, Russian nuclear submarine Kursk sank in the Barents Sea due to an internal explosion, it led to death of 118 sailors and officers. It had 2 nuclear reactor, so eliminating this hazard was necessary. In 2001A portion of the destroyed submarine was raised to the surface in October 2001 to recover the bodies and eliminate the hazard from the Kursk’s two nuclear reactors.
Cost of Salvation was USD 65mn,it took 5 months to refloat the submarine wreck.

Cougar Ace
In July 2006, Cougar Ace,of MOL, was packed with 4,700 Mazda cars and Isuzu trucks for North-American market, value of cars was 117 million. The ship was bound from Japan to Vancouver, Canada when a ballast operation caused 60degree list to ship.
Ship[ was rightened on 16th August 2006, the salvage team, TITAN had to work solidly for 24 days straight to try and save the vessel and its extremely lucrative cargo.
Only 46 cars were damaged during this incident, however Mazda announced scrapping of all cars; till 2008 all cars were scrapped.  

Besides cumbersome efforts and innovative techniques there are certain equipment which are commonly used for modern salvage operations;

  • High viscosity hydraulic pumps to transfer/ pump out highly viscous fuel oil to be used
  • High power winches – installed on barge or another vessel
  • Air baloons, or air bags, sponsons to give additional buoyancy
  • Underwater cutting equipments –usually hydraulically operated, it can be custom made for the purpose and made of tunguston carbide tip or dimond tip tools.
  • Floating crane, barge, tug boats
  • Diving team
  • Wire ropes, chains etc
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Selection of right fasteners

In many cases fastener failure has caused severe accidents on ships; causing fire, flooding and even loss of life. On board, general fasteners shouldn’t be used in machineries, when overhauling a machinery, sometimes it is necessary to replace fasteners like, bolts, nuts and screws; however in urgency or due to ignorance it is not checked whether new fastener is of correct specification or not. Do we ever consider checking strength requirement of a fastener for particular use?

In single machinery there may be various grades of fasteners used depending upon the force and temperature it should withstand. Ordinary bolts without grade must not be used for pressure parts, high temperature parts or rotating or running parts, it would certainly fail due to poor strength. Grades are marked on bolts, nuts, and hexagon screws as shown in these pictures, if there is no marking then it should be assumed that the fastener grade is of ordinary mild steel and should not be used on machinery. Bolts received in general store without specifications are usually ordinary bolts and are only suitable for general purpose fastening. For machinery, minimum 4.6 metric grade should be used, for higher strength grade 8.8 to be used, grade 12.6 to be used on exhaust pipes or high temperature equipment. Grade 12.6 is usually the highest grade of fastener used on board.

Many accidents, breakdowns and machinery failure occur when improper fasteners are used. Therefore it is prudent to check proper grade of fasteners before replacing it. Below information is helpful when managing fasteners on board, specially for pressure vessel, pressure pipes, assembling 2 stroke or 4 stroke engines, fuel pumps, exhaust manifold parts, boiler parts, couplings, pumps and many more;


What should be the torque when tightening fasteners?
Once fasteners are chosen correctly then the next precaution is to use correct tightening torque, below formula is basic for applying correct torque;

Torque = K x d x F
(Example – For M16, grade 8.8 bolt, in lubricated condition, K=0.15, torque recommended is 120 ft-lbs or 162 N-M)
K = Nut Factor, (Non-plated, black finish 0.20 – 0.30, Lubricated 0.12 – 0.16)
d = Nominal Bolt Diameter (in., mm, etc.)
F = Bolt Tension (lbs., N); F = 75% of bolt material proof load for standard bolts.

(Source: Fastenal, technical reference guide.)

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Shore staff – 2015 Job concerns

The 7th maritime employee survey carried out by Halcyon Recruitment and online training provider Coracle, which includes 3000 respondents from various backgrounds of  brokers, charterers, traders, senior management, technical, HSEQ, P&I, legal, insurance, vessel operators, liner trades, HR, crewing, admin, finance etc.

The result shows that the majority of shore based employees across the shipping sector believe that the most satisfying factors for employee are; relationship with manager, followed by reputation of employer. Promotion prospect and training opportunity are least satisfying in current job.  Salary, work life balance, job security, benefit packages are of medium satisfaction, however when changing jobs, 60% of employees always look for health cover as a must have benefit.

Most of the employees are lacking in training and development opportunities. Lack of salary increases, promotion potential, training and development opportunities, will cause increased staff turnover, so employer should emphasize more on needs of training and development, to make employee more productive and satisfying .
Some of the facts of this survey are;  

  • Technical department, 69% of respondents received a bonus in the last 12 months vs 46% in 2013, this shows an on-going shortage of technical personnel.
  •  Only 47% of total respondents had their basic salary rise, and only 58% received a bonus in the last 12 months.
  • Asia continues are leaders in terms of salary increases and bonus payments.
  •  Singapore is the most attractive location from a work/life perspective with 23% of participants favouring this location, followed by England and Northern Europe.
  • When considering a career move, salary ranks highest in terms of importance, replacing work/life balance from last year 2014.
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Shipping confidence level

As per shipping adviser Moore Stephens, overall confidence levels in the shipping industry fell in the three months to November 2015, it is hovering at lowest level since this survey was started in the year 2008. Facts of this shipping confident survey are as below;

This survey is carried out every 3 months and results published, it was first published in May 2008 and latest published in the month of November 2015.
Owners, brokers, charterers, managers, advisers and others, these are the main categories of which respondents are surveyed.
This survey is divided into regions as Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Rest of the world.
Performance factors of this survey are; Demand trends, Finance costs, Operating costs, Tonnage supply, Fuel costs, Crew supply, Regulation and Port congestion.
The confidence level is measured between 1 (low) to 10 (high).

As per November shipping confidence level, overall confidence level has gone down from 5.9 in Aug2015 to 5.6 in Nov 2015. The confidence of charterers was down from 6.5 to 5.5,  managers from 6.4 to 5.8, brokers from 5.2 to 4.6, and that of owners from 5.8 to 5.7.  Some peaks in confidence level reported in May 2008 (6.8), May 2010 (6.3), Feb 2014 (6.5) and major dips were in Feb 2009 (5.4), Aug 2011(5.3), Aug 2012(5.3) and May 2015 (5.3).

As compared to 2008 performance factor shows that Operational cost has come down from 12% to 6%, Crew cost down from 11% to 5%, Regulation cost up from 2% to 9%.

The net sentiment was nevertheless positive (+7) in the tanker market and in the dry bulk sector (+16), although negative (-5) for container ships.

Please read more here.


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Smartphone apps for seafarers

There are 1.6 million apps in Google play  and 1.5 million in Apple app store, Amazon App store has 0.4million and Window phone store has 0.34 million apps. But for seafarers,  there are 10 free Smartphone apps , which every seafarers  must have.

1 .Anti-Shipping Activity Message (ASAM) App – Get news and messages about shipping piracy.  Data can eb downloaded and later it can be viewed  without a Wi-Fi or cellular connection. Go to ASAM.

2. First Aid Apps – This is general First aid by American and British Red Cross. But most suitable for seafarers due to nature of duty.  First Aid – American Red Cross.

3. ReCAAP Anti-Piracy App – This app provides timely alert of any piracy Incident Alert and reports.  ReCAAP

4. Port State Inspections Pocket Checklists App – This checklist provides in assisting crew and shore staff to ensure that the vessel complies with regulatory requirement and hence always ready for 3rd party inspection. The checklist APP.

5. Currency Converter – Nothing to say about it, because every end of month all have eyes on it, and one can estimate what would be the exact amount of remittance. Live currency Converter

6. Marpol Pocket Checklist – Besides Port state inspection checklist, there is MARPOL checklist, to ensure all MARPOL related equipment are in perfect condition and vessel complies with it’s requirement. The Check list.

7. Marine Fire Safety Pocket Checklist – This is suitable for safety inspectors or master who wants to prepare for safety inspection. It is mainly related to certificates, documents and international requirement as per convention.  The Checklist.

8. TripAdvisor – It will help in finding near by restaurants, hotels , pubs during sign on, off or shore leave. The recommended locations are really worth visiting without loosing time in finding new places.

9. Wifi Finder App –  This is my favourite and best App. Wi-Fi finder app helps in quickly and easily finding FREE or paid WiFi zones when travelling. All the locations can be downloaded offline and stay connected when you are on the road.  The GPS of your mobile let you know the location and the way to reach to the location. Wifi finder.

10. Pacifica – This  related to your mental and physical health, due to increasing workload stress and anxiety is on the rise on board ships, the Pacifica mobile app teaches deep breathing and behavioural exercises; identifies your negative thinking and changes it to positive thinking. One can see his progress on it, try it.  Think Pacifica.

Source – Statista2015 and newsaccess.

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China ECA – A new addition to ECA

DNV-GL-China-new-sulphur-requirements-2015_12China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection data shows that SO2 and NOx emissions from ships accounted for 8.4% and 11.3%, respectively, of China’s total emissions. So country had to work on it and they have planned to reduce SO2 emission by 65% by 2020.
There is now a new addition to ECA area, it is Chinese ECA (Emission Control Area. Major shipping hubs has been included in this control area (called district). Transport Ministry on December 4 issued the esablishment of ship emissions control area (ECA) in the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai three waters.
Ministry of transport has issued The Ship and Port Pollution Prevention Special Action Plan 2015-2020, on September 8. It aims to reduce No2 by 20%, and other particulate matter by 30% compared to the stats from 2015.

Timeline –

  1. From 1st January 2019 – 0.5% Sulphur fuel to be used for the vessel plying in these areas.
  2. From 1st January 2016 – 11 key ports in this area are allowed to implement same requirement. Shanghai seems to be ready to implement this requirement.
  3. From 1st January 2017 – Above rule will become mandatory for these above ports.
  4. End of 2019 – Review of situation to consider 0.1% Sulphur limit.

As alternative, shore power on terminals, exhaust gas scrubber and LNG as primary gas will be in accepted.



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Care of lub oil

Lub oil is blood of the machinery; most valuable, so it requires utmost care. This is the only fluid in the machinery which needs to be supplied before starting without fail, rest all fluid, water, fuel etc, can be supplied once machinery started. Common problem of lub oil is contamination, it can be water, fuel, metal particle or in some cases some unexpected foreign particles.
Engine system oil- Usually oil remains in good condition if there is no contamination of water, fuel or foreign particle. Sea water or fresh water ingress from lub oil cooler is most common problem, in plate type cooler it can be through cooler gasket or sometimes through pin holes in cooler plates, nevertheless not rare. Pin holes are difficult to identify by naked eyes, it can be identified by ultrasonic measurement. In case plates are old or material is poor, this reason should not be ignored, and old plates must be inspected by ultrasonic. Other option is to replace plates if they are old, now a days, due to many OEM’s in the market, plates are no more expensive. In tube type cooler, which is very rare now a days, tube leak is most common source of water ingress into lub oil, the reason is again failure of tubes due to poor quality or material erosion.
Care of lubricating oil cooler – Onboard cleaning should be avoided as far as possible. Best practice is to carry out in place chemical cleaning or backwashing, replace gaskets after every cleaning and use professional company or experienced crew  to assemble cooler. Before putting the cooler in use, it has to be pressure tested.
Main engine sump and bedplate are separated by a rubber diaphragm fitted between them, this diaphragm takes care of movement between bedplate and sump.  This rubber diaphragm gets brittle and leaks over a period of time. It is prudent to replace the diaphragm every 10 years. Some times water is accumulated on the tank top and engine pit, if this diaphragm is old and cracked, water will find its way to sump.
New Microsoft PowerPoint PresentationSlide2.JPG

Water can pass through from tank top to engine pit, once engine pit is filled, it will enter to sump via damaged diaphragm. Diaphragm location is shown here.
MAN Engine – There is seal between fuel pump and camcase, very common now a days to have leakage through plunger and barrel due to reduced viscosity of Low Sulphur Marine Gas Oil  and Low sulphur fuel oil, fuel leaked off through plunger and barrel usually drains through fuel pump casing drain.  The drain to be checked and cleared regularly. There is sight glass fitted on the base of the fuel pump, it has to be kept cleaned and inspected every watch. the seal between pump chamber and camcase to be renewed whenever fuel pump is overhauled


Drawing showing seal between fuel pump and camcase; source – MAN manual.
Lub oil filter failure – Improper maintenance of filter, poor assembly of it or old and damaged filters contribute to lub oil contamination.
Auxiliary engine – Medium speed engines are more prone to damage if system lub oil is poor. Common source of water contamination are; cylinder liner leak, cooling water pump seal leak, lub oil cooler leak, cylinder cover crack etc. Routine maintenance of cooling water pump, lub oil cooler, liner seal ring renewal during overhaul and finally regular crankcase inspection is key for preventing major breakdown due to water ingress. Other source of lub oil contamination is blow past; high liner wear and unbalanced units will cause blow past into the crankcase and cause high carbon content. Third major contaminant is fuel oil, this is caused due to leaky fuel pump and choked drain lines. It is prudent to keep the fuel pump channel clean and if pumps are leaking then replace or overhaul it.

Hydraulic system oil – this grade of oil needs highest standard of purity. Filters in hydraulic systems are one of the finest filters because of high pressure in the system and very fine (in micron) clearances. Hydraulic oil is used mainly in crane, mooring winch,  windlass and steering gear system, here  impurities are in the form of contamination and high Particle counts. On weather deck equipment, it is usual to have some water ingress in the hydraulic system through storage tank sounding pipe or breather pipe. Winch cover plates, if not properly tightened would alow water ingress into gear case. As per Viswa Lab reports  60% of the hydraulic oil samples received for routine lubricant  condition monitoring suffers very high particle counts (or) contamination.  Wear and tear of running part is another source of contamination, besides that rust and dirt in the system also caused contamination.
Care of hydraulic system oil – drain off condensate, keep the filters clean, magnetic filter to be used to prevent metal wear and tear going in to the system, proper maintenance of sounding and breather pipe are most common preventive maintenance on hydraulic system oil. Keeping storage tank and new oil clean is another key factor.

Metal particle in lubricating oil – this is after effect of contaminated lub oil. In some cases ,material failure of bearing or running gear is also a source of metal particle in lub oil.
Fresh lub oil – In general, keeping the storage tank clean and sounding pipe and vents secured are applicable for all grade of lub oil. In some cases water ingress has been found in the storage tanks through side water tanks or sounding pipes or vents. Regular draining of even freshly stored tank is also recommended to identify if these is any water ingress.

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ECA & CARB – Adaptation

From the 1st January  2015 onwards, vessels are required to comply with stricter sulphur limits within Emission Control Areas (ECAs), vessels are using Ultra LS Fuel oil or LS Marine Gas Oil. The vessel specific change over procedure and calculators are being followed to ensure compliance. But complying with CARB is little different than simple ECA. Vessel has to follow zero emission in port, this requirement has developed new methods to curb emission and there will be many more more developments in this field in coming year.

Cold ironing – The term Cold Ironing is old when coal fired iron engines used to be completely shut down and vessels were supplied with shore electrical power for cargo handling or other necessary services in port, in this way the iron made engine said to be cold ironed.
1. AMP – Alternative Maritime Power(Permitted in California). There can be any means of supplying power to vessel at berth, most commonly used method in California is through shore supply of high voltage (6600KV) to vessel through receptacle container on board.
Large container vessel, cruise ship operate at 6600Volt to 11KV power system, whereas most ships operate at 440 Volt systems. Some vessels has 50Hz system, and some has 60 Hz system. New vessels are fitted with suitable adapter to connect to the shore power. However existing vessels has to be retrofitted with suitable adaptation system, costing is approximately USD 200000 to 500000, few suppliers of these power adaptation system are ABB, Sam Electronics (now a part of Watsila), Schneider Electric etc. Since these HVSC containers are permanently loaded on one side or both sides, there are quite a number of cargo slots killed and losing revenue for shipowner.Slide3

  1. Aux Engine Exhaust collection and treatment (permitted in California) – If vessel is not fitted with shorepower adaptor container,

AMECS barge for exhaust gas from Aux Engine

there is another option for shipowners. Vessel can trade in CARB ports, and run their aux power source, but they must use exhaust gas collection system. Advanced Maritime Emission Control System (AMECS) is approved for simultaneous emission capture from two exhaust stacks of a single ship, with independently verified test results proving 90% to 99% reduction of the particulate matter (PM), nitrous oxides (NOx), and sulfur dioxides (SO2) found in diesel exhaust. This system is fitted on barge and exhaust is treated on board barge. In case bad weather / swell or wind, we need to see how this will not get affected.  Source – AMECS


  1. Exhaust scrubber (Not permitted in California) – These  are fitted on board for  main, auxiliary engine, oil fired boiler. and water and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) based closed loop exhaust gas scrubber. Cost-saving solution (able to operate on HFO instead of expensive low sulphur MGO).Slide1
  • Open loop cleaning system – Sea water used
  • Closed loop cleaning system – Fresh water used with Sodium hypochloride.
  • Hybrid system – has facility of switching both to sea water as well as fresh water, vessel can trade in open sea or in fresh water.

Standard guaranteed SOx-reduction is 97-98 %, offering ships SOx-   emissions equivalent with 0.1 % sulfur in the fuel when using fuel with 3.5 % sulphur.  NOx-reduction is approximately 3…7 %, and PMI-reduction 30…80 %.Amount of sludge generated from scrubber is 0.1-0.4kg/MWh which is 10% less than the normal sludge, can be collected in normal sludge tank and disposed off as normal sludge to shore reception facility.

PureSOx from Alfa Laval – World’s largest scrubber for 21MW power engine is installed and in service.

  1. Shore power Barge (new source of shore power)– In Rotterdam recently hybrid LNG power supply barge has been introduced, this will be a key game changer in some ports without investing huge amount in port shore power infrastructure. This can be provided in port as well as in anchorage and in idle time these barge can supply electricity to factories along the coast.

New vessels– For newer vessels LSFO /LSMGO and HFO lines are completely segregated from bunker to transfer to service line, the regulations will be complied without any difficulty. Vessels planned for trading  in these area are fitted with AMP container adaptor on both side of the vessel, enabling them to berth on any side to connect to shore power.

Risk of non compliance –

Local, regional and national regulatory are very stringent about SOx requirements. There are strict reporting system introduced to ensure vessel once alongside follow the regulation. Authorities are checking;

  1. Log entry of fuel change over
  2.  Matching the positions and timing of change over
  3. Collecting sample of oil on engine inlet for  analysis.
  4. Checking of bunker delivery note.

Recently EU too has announced LSFO sampling for the vessels calling EU ports. As per Change over procedure crew is carrying out change over to LSFO/LSMGO to comply with ECA and CARB reregulation. However Sulphur content of oil at the point of inlet to engine cannot be ascertained due to internal behaviour of the fluid. California Environmental Protection Agency/ Air Resources Board has more than dozens of cases against shipping companies. These cases are either due to delay in complying the regulatory changeover of low sulphur fuel oil or  completely non-compliance of regulation. See the list of companies penalised by carb.

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IMO maritime safety instruments – Summarised

Below are some Marine Safety instrument name, Abbreviated Name, Date of entry into force:

1. International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 , SOLAS 1974 ·         Chief maritime safety convention. Replaced SOLAS 1960 and introduced “tacit acceptance” amendment procedure to speed up introduction of amendments. Technical provisions in 12 chapters , Amended numerous times.     Given effect in UK by several SIs, ·         In force 25 May 1980. –  1978 Protocol in force 1 May 1981.

2. International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, LL 1966  ·
Limits, by means of minimum freeboards, draughts to which ships may be loaded, taking intoaccount hazards in different zones and seasons. Prescribes minimum standards for external weathertight and watertight integrity.
Currently under revision. Given effect in UK by MS (Load Line) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/2241), as amended. ·         In force 21 Jul 1968. –  1988 Protocol in force 3 Feb 2000.

  1.  Special Trade Passenger Ships Agreement, 1971, STP 1971 · Regulates carriage of large numbers of unberthed passengers in special trades such as the pilgrim trade. Annexed Special Trade Passenger Ships Rules, 1971 modify regulations of Chapters II and III of SOLAS 1960 Convention. Complemented by Protocol on Space Requirements for Special Trade Passenger Ships, 1973. –   In force 2 Jan 1974.

4. Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, COLREG 1972 ·         Replaced 1960 Convention and Rules. Technical provisions in 38 Rules and 4 Annexes (“Colregs”) which apply to all ships on the high seas, etc. Amended 1981, 1987, 1989, 1993. Gives recognition to traffic separation schemes. ·         Given effect in UK by MS (Safety of Navigation) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/1473).   –    In force 15 Jul 1977.

5.  International Convention for Safe Containers, 1972, CSC 1972 · Aims to ensure safety in transport and handling of containers through acceptable test procedures and strength requirements.    Also aims to facilitate international transport of containers by providing uniform international safety regulations, equally applicable to all modes of surface transport, so as to avoid proliferation of divergent national safety regulations. –   In force 6 Sep 1977.

6. Convention on the International Maritime Satellite Organization, 1976, INMARSAT C 1976 ·         Parent of INMARSAT organisation. Defines purposes of INMARSAT as being to improve maritime communications, thereby assisting in improving distress and safety of life at sea communications, the efficiency and management of ships, maritime public correspondence services, and radio-determination capabilities. ·         INMARSAT’S obligation to provide maritime distress and safety services via satellite were enshrined within 1988 (GMDSS) amendments to SOLAS. –   In force 16 Jul 1979.
Ø  Torremolinos Protocol of 1993 relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1993, SFV Protocol 1993      Updates, amends and absorbs parent SFV Convention 1977. Applies to fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over including those vessels also processing their catch. Safety provisions in 10-chapter Annex.

7. International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers, 1978, STCW 1978      Provides minimum international requirements for training, certification and watch keeping, replacing nationally-set standards. Applies to ships of non-party States when visiting ports of Party States.         Given effect in UK by MS (Training and Certification) Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/348) and MS (Safe Manning, Hours of Work and Watchkeeping) Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/1320). –    In force 28 April 1984.          1995 amendments (STCW 95, including STCW Code) – In force 1 Feb 2002.

8. International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, 1979,  SAR 1979
·  Aims at developing an international SAR plan, so that no matter where an accident occurs, rescue of persons in distress at sea will be co-ordinated by a SAR organisation and, when necessary, by co-operation between neighbouring SAR organisations.  Parties must ensure arrangements are made for provision of adequate SAR services in their coastal waters and are encouraged to enter into SAR agreements with neighbouring States. –   In force 22 Jun 1985.

9. International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel, 1995, STCW-F 1995       Aims to make standards of safety for crews of fishing vessels mandatory. Will apply to crews of seagoing fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and above. Short convention has an annex containing technical regulations. Ø  STCW 1978 was revised at a conference in London in July 1995; the revised convention is generally known as STCW 95

IMO marine pollution instruments

1. International Convention Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties, 1969,  INTERVENTION 1969, INTERVENTION Protocol 1973

Ø  Affirms the right of a coastal State to take such measures on the high seas as may be necessary to prevent, mitigate or eliminate danger to its coastline or related interests from pollution by oil or the threat thereof, following a maritime casualty. 1973 Protocol extends Convention to cover substances other than oil. –  In force 6 May 1975, 1973 Protocol in force 30 Mar 1983.

2.Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972; LC 1972 , LC Protocol 1996
Ø  Known as “London Convention”. Prohibits dumping of certain hazardous materials. Requires a prior special permit for dumping of a number of other identified materials and a prior general permit for other wastes or matter. Defines “dumping” as deliberate disposal at sea of wastes or other matter from vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures, as well as the deliberate disposal of these vessels or platforms themselves. (Definition excludes wastes derived from exploration and exploitation of sea-bed mineral resources.) Contracting Parties undertake to designate an authority to deal with permits, keep records, and monitor the condition of sea. –  In force 30 Aug 1975.

  1. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto MARPOL 73/78 –    Annexes I/II
    Ø  Chief convention aimed at prevention of pollution of marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.  Combination of two treaties, adopted 1973 and 1978. Annexes I and II are mandatory. Amended many times. Annex I given effect in UK by MS (Prevention of Oil Pollution) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/2154); Annex II given effect in UK by MS (Dangerous or Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/3010). – In force 2 Oct 1983.
  2. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto MARPOL 73/78 –       Annex III
    Ø  Provides controls for prevention of pollution by packaged harmful substances, i.e. dangerous goods and marine pollutants. Optional annex. Given effect in UK by MS (Dangerous Goods & Marine Pollutants) Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/2367) –     In force 1 Jul 1992.

5.       International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto MARPOL 73/78 – Annex IV
Ø  Provides controls for prevention of pollution from ships’ sewage. Optional annex. Will be given effect in UK by new MS (Prevention of Pollution by Sewage) Regulations. –    In force 27 Sep 2003.

6.       International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto MARPOL 73/78 –    Annex V
Ø  Provides controls for prevention of pollution from ships’ garbage. Optional annex. Given effect in UK by MS (Prevention of  pollution by Garbage) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1377). –  In force 31 Dec 1988.

7. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto MARPOL Protocol 1997 –    (Annex VI)
Ø  Provides controls for prevention of air pollution from ships.

8. International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990 –  OPRC 1990
Ø  Parties must establish measures for dealing with pollution incidents, either nationally or in co-operation with other countries. Ships must carry a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan (SOPEP). Ships must report incidents of pollution to coastal  authorities. Provides for establishment of stockpiles of oil spill combating equipment, holding of oil spill combating exercises and the development of detailed plans for dealing with pollution incidents. Parties must provide assistance to others in the event of a pollution emergency and provision is made for the reimbursement of any assistance provided. Given effect in UK by MS (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1056), as amended. –         In force 13 May 1995.

9.       Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to Pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances, 2000 –   OPRC/HNS 2000
Ø  Aims to provide a global framework for international co-operation in combating major incidents or threats of marine pollution. Parties must establish measures for dealing with pollution incidents, either nationally or in co-operation with other countries. Ships must carry a shipboard pollution emergency plan to deal specifically with incidents involving HNS.

10.    International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships, 2001 –      AFS 2001
Ø  Prohibits use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships and establishes a mechanism to prevent potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems.

IMO liability and compensation instruments:

1.International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969,   CLC 1969,   CLC Protocol 1976,  CLC Protocol 1992 (often called CLC Convention 1992)
Ø  Aims at ensuring that adequate compensation is available to persons suffering oil pollution damage from maritime casualties involving oil-carrying ships. Applied to seagoing vessels carrying bulk oil cargoes. Ships carrying more than 2,000 tons of oil as cargo must maintain oil pollution insurance. Spills from tankers in ballast or bunker spills from ships other than other than  tankers were not covered. 1969 convention replaced by 1992 Protocol, which extended cover to both loaded and unladen tankers, including bunker oil spills. CLC 1992

· intended to eventually replace the CLC 1969. Some States Party to 1969 CLC have not yet ratified the 1992 Protocol; for the time being, therefore, both regimes are co-existing.

· Given effect in UK by Chapter III of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.,  In force 19 Jun 1975

· 1976 Protocol in force 8 Apr 1981, 1992 Protocol in force 30 May 1996.

2.       International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1971 – FUND 1971, FUND Protocol 1976, FUND Protocol 1992(often called Fund Convention 1992), FUND Protocol 2003
Ø  Aims mainly at providing compensation for pollution damage to the extent that the protection afforded by 1969 Civil Liability Convention (CLC) is inadequate, and to give relief to shipowners in respect of additional financial burden imposed on them by the 1969 CLC.
·1971 Convention ceased to be in force, following denunciations, on 24 May 2002; superseded by FUND Protocol 2000.  Given effect in UK by Chapter IV of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.
· 1976 Protocol in force 22 Nov 1994., 1992 Protocol in force 30 May 1996.
·2000 Amendments in force 1 Nov 2003., 2003 Protocol not in force. No Contracting States.

  1. Convention relating to Civil Liability in the Field of Maritime Carriage of Nuclear Materials, 1971; NUCLEAR 1971
    Ø  Aims to resolve difficulties and conflicts arising from simultaneous application to nuclear damage of certain conventions dealing with shipowners’ liability, as well as other conventions which placed liability arising from nuclear incidents on the operators of the nuclear installations from which or to which the material in question was being transported. Provides that a person otherwise liable for damage caused in a nuclear incident will be exonerated for liability if the operator of the nuclear installation is also liable for such damage under the Paris Convention, 1960 or the Vienna Convention, 1963, or national law similar in the scope of protection given to the persons suffering damage. –   In force 15 Jul 1975

4.       Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 1974
·PAL 1974, PAL Protocol 1976, PAL Protocol 1990, PAL Protocol 2002
Ø  Usually called the Athens Convention. Establishes liability regime for damage suffered by passengers carried on a seagoing vessel. Makes carrier liable for damage or loss suffered by a passenger if the incident causing the damage occurred in the course of the carriage and was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier. Unless carrier acted with intent to cause such damage, or recklessly and with knowledge that such damage would probably result, he can limit his liability. Sets limits of carrier’s liability.  Given effect in UK by section 183 and Schedule 6 of Merchant Shipping Act 1995.
·In force 28 Apr 1987; 1976 Protocol in force 30 Apr 1989.
·1990 Protocol not yet in force; 2002 Protocol not yet in force.

5.       Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976,     LLMC 1976,      LLMC Protocol 1996
Ø  Specifies limits of liability for claims for loss of life or personal injury, and property claims (such as damage to other ships, property or harbour works). Limitation amounts are expressed in terms of “units of account”, each unit being equivalent in value to the Special Drawing Right (SDR) as defined by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). For personal claims, liability for ships not exceeding 500 tons is limited to 330,000 SDR (equivalent to around US$422,000). For larger ships, additional amounts are based on a tonnage scale. Provides for a virtually unbreakable system of limiting liability. Declares that a person will not be able to limit liability only if “it is proved that the loss resulted from his personal act or omission, committed with the intent to cause such a loss, or recklessly and with knowledge that such loss would probably result”.  Given effect in UK by section 185 and Schedule 7 of Merchant Shipping Act 1995. –  In force 1 Dec1986.          1996 Protocol.

6.       International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances, 1996 ,HNS 1996
Ø  Aims at ensuring that compensation is available to victims of accidents involving HNS, which include oils; other liquid  substances defined as noxious or dangerous; liquefied gases; liquid substances with a flashpoint not exceeding 60°C; dangerous, hazardous and harmful materials and substances carried in packaged form; and solid bulk materials defined as possessing chemical hazards. Also covers residues left by the previous carriage of HNS, other than those carried in packaged form. Based on 2-tier system established under CLC and Fund Conventions but covers not only pollution damage but also risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life or personal injury and loss of or damage to property.

7.       International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001, BUNKERS 2001
Aims at ensuring that compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by bunker oil spills. Applies to damage caused on the territory, including the territorial sea, and in exclusive economic zones of Party States

IMO instruments concerning other subjects:-

1.       Convention on Facilitation on International Maritime Traffic, 1965 , FAL 1965
Ø  Aims to facilitate maritime transport by simplifying and minimising the formalities, documentary requirements and procedures associated with the arrival, stay and departure of ships engaged on international voyages, including all documents required by customs, immigration, health and other public authorities pertaining to the ship, its crew and passengers, baggage, cargo and mail. –   In force 5 Mar 1967

2.       International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969; TONNAGE 1969
Ø  Introduced a universal tonnage measurement system. Provides for gross and net tonnages, both of which are calculated  independently. –       In force 18 Jul 1982.

3.       Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, 1988, – SUA 1988
Ø  Aims at ensuring that appropriate judicial action is taken against persons committing acts against ships, which include the seizure of ships by force, acts of violence against persons on board ships, and the placing of devices on board a ship which are likely to destroy or damage it. Obliges Contracting Governments either to extradite or prosecute alleged offenders. The Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, 1988 provides similar regulations relating to fixed platforms located on the Continental Shelf. Both instruments under review (at time of writing) following terrorist attacks in USA on 11 September 2001. –   In force 1 Mar 1992. ; ·         SUA Protocol 1988 in force 1 Mar 1992

4.       International Convention on Salvage, 1989 – SALVAGE 1989
Ø  Replaced 1910 convention on salvage law which incorporated “no cure, no pay” principle but gave no incentive for salvors to attempt to preserve the environment where the prospect of saving property was small. Provides for an enhanced salvage award, taking into account skill and efforts of salvors in preventing or minimising damage to environment.  Given effect in UK by section 224(1)(2) and Schedule 11 of Merchant Shipping Act 1995. –    In force 14 Jul 1996.

Reference taken from below website:

IMO maintains a large library of maritime Internet links at ;

Address: International Maritime Organization, 4 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7SR, England. Tel: 0171 7357611. Telex: 23588 IMOLDN G ;      Fax (general enquiries): 0171 587 3210. Fax (publications sales): 0171 587 3241. E-mail:;  Website:

Contributed by: Prashant Kumar, The Author has over 17 years of  experience in shipping, presently working as Deputy Technical Manager. The views are his own and do not represent his employer.

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