Early implementation of amendment to SOLAS Regulation III regarding launching of lifeboats

As advised in our article in Weekly NEWS No. 43 of 22 October 2004 regarding measures to prevent lifeboat accidents, and in particular to reduce personal injuries resulting from such accidents, the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 78) adopted an amendment to SOLAS regulation III/19.3.3.3 removing the requirement for members of the assigned operating crew to be on board lifeboats during training launches. This is not scheduled to enter into force until 1 July 2006.

At MSC 79 the IMO (recognising the effect of this amendment in improving the occupational health and safety of seafarers and thus the importance of avoiding delays in relation to this matter) urged Contracting Governments to the SOLAS Convention to implement the amendment prior to its scheduled date of entry into force. The Committee further urged Contracting Governments to provide appropriate documentation for ships flying their flags to which such early implementation has been granted and port States to accept such early implementation.

The Committee also urged Member Governments, masters and owners to ensure that ships’ crews are not exposed to new or additional risks in accessing or exiting lifeboats once they are deployed/recovered, and that a safe means of access is provided.

Further the Maritime Safety Committee approved the following Circulars:

MSC/Circ. on Guidance on safety during abandon ship drills using lifeboats

MSC/Circ. on Guidelines for simulated launching of free-fall lifeboats

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Contact: Howard Snaith