The IMO Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) held its 8th session virtually from February 28 to March 4, 2022, marking progress on several issues.
As ABS notes, providing an overview of the meeting, progress was reported in the following issues:
#1 Ventilation of Survival Craft
The Sub-Committee finalized amendments to the LSA Code and Recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances to provide performance requirements for the ventilation of totally enclosed lifeboats, partially enclosed lifeboats, and life rafts.
Building on work which began at the 4th session of the Sub-Committee in 2017, the draft amendments approved by the Sub-Committee will require totally enclosed lifeboats to provide a means of ventilation operable from inside the lifeboat at a rate of not less than 5 m3/hour per person, for the number of persons which the lifeboat is permitted to accommodate and for a period of at least 24 hours.
Where the means of ventilation is powered, the source of power shall not be the radio batteries, and if dependent upon the lifeboat engine, then sufficient fuel shall be provided.
The openings for the ventilation are to be provided with a means of closing that is operable from inside the lifeboat and positioned so as to minimize the ingress of water.
#2 Fire Safety on Ro-Ro Passenger Ships
The SubCommittee further progressed development of several amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-2 and associated codes to improve fire safety requirements on new and existing Ro-Ro passenger ships. The amendments, applicable to enclosed ro-ro spaces and on weather decks intended for carriage of vehicles on Ro-Ro passenger ships, will introduce several key features intended to improve fire safety.
The amendments applicable to new Ro-Ro passenger ships include requirements for:
The amendments applicable to existing Ro-Ro passenger ships include requirements for the following:
#3 Prohibition of fire-fighting foams containing PFOS
PFOS has been deemed hazardous to the marine environment and human beings, and this prohibition will apply to both fixed and portable systems.
This prohibition is being introduced into SOLAS and the HSC Codes by the addition of a new section “Fire Extinguishing Media Restrictions” in each respective text, so that it will be easier to include future prohibitions or limitations of extinguishing media shown to be dangerous to people and the environment.
This prohibition will be applicable to both new and existing ships from 1 January 2026, with a phase-in approach implemented for existing ships.
#4 New SOLAS regulations for lifting appliances and anchor handling winches (OLAW)
All lifting appliances and anchor handling winches, regardless of installation date, and all loose gear utilized with any lifting appliances and anchor handling winches, are required to be operationally tested, thoroughly examined, inspected, operated and maintained.
New installations of lifting appliances will be required to meet the requirements of a classification society, and new installations of anchor handling winches to be to the satisfaction of the Administration, taking into account guidelines for each which have been developed.
Moreover, new definitions and terminologies have been added to SOLAS regulation II-1/2. The new regulation II-1/3-13 will not apply to lifting appliances used on MODUs and offshore construction ships, and will not apply to life-saving launching appliances complying with the LSA Code.
Existing lifting appliances and anchor handling winches must undergo a test and thorough examination based on the below guidelines by the first renewal survey after entry into force of these amendments
#5 Revision of the Code of Safety for Diving Systems
Development of the new Code has been in line with a goal-based standards approach, incorporating relevant parts of the Guidelines and Specifications for Hyperbaric Evacuation Systems.
Concerns were raised regarding structure and language in the draft Code which were presented as if it was a mandatory instrument. Changes to the draft Code were made through out the document at this session to make clear that the revised Code will be a non-mandatory instrument, and it will be up to operators to decide how to implement the provisions of the document to ships under their registry.
Additionally, a new model form of the Diving System Safety Certificate has been drafted, and will require that specified operational limitations of either saturation diving systems or surface-oriented diving systems must be captured on the certificate.