• Professional News
  • 22 August 2014

New safety rules for passenger ships have come into force

In future, it is a requirement that ships have fixed procedures for how recovery operations are to be conducted in the event a person falls overboard. This is a consequence of new SOLAS rules, which have now come into force.

In an attempt to improve safety at sea – especially on passenger ships – the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) back in 2012 adopted a number of amendments to the SOLAS rules on safety at sea.

These amendments came into force officially on 1 July 2014.

Among the most important initiatives in the new rules is the requirement for rescue plans and procedures for the recovery of persons having fallen overboard. The object is to ensure that all ships can in future participate in rescue operations, especially in situations where specialised rescue vessels are not available.

Guidelines for rescue plans
At the same time, the IMO recommends that the rescue plans be drafted in accordance with the guidelines issued by the IMO. Ships constructed before 1 July 2014 are required to comply with the requirement by the first periodical or renewal safety equipment survey.

The IMO has furthermore encouraged the individual countries to render decisions as to whether the rules are to apply to vessels which SOLAS, as a general rule, does not extend to. This relates primarily to cargo and passenger ships not on international routes, fishing vessels and mobile offshore drilling units.

Other new rules
In addition to the new requirements for rescue plans and procedures, a number of other new rules also came into force. Among these are requirements for:

  • A minimum of two sets of radio communication equipment for use in the event of fire
  • Requirement for the reduction of on-board noise to protect both passengers and personnel
  • Requirement for portable breathing apparatus
  • Requirement for improved protection of means of transport and special cargo transported on board ships constructed after 1 July 2014.


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