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International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention), will enter into force on September 8, 2017.

8 September 2016 Finland has ratified the BWM Convention. Due to the ratification by Finland, IMO confirmed the fact that the combined merchant fleets of flag States that ratified the BWM Convention have reached 35.1441 percent of the world’s merchant shipping gross tonnage and conditions for BWM Convention entry into force has been met.

46 CFR Subchapter M Inspection of Towing Vessels  has been published in the Federal Register and became effective on July 20, 2016. 
Watch the Subchapter M Information Sessions posted by The American Waterways Operators.

IMO implements new SOLAS fire protection requirements for on-deck cargo areas.



Mandatory requirements for stability instruments on tankers, effective from 1st January 2016.  Required by

MARPOL Annex I, the IBC/BCH Code, IGC/GC Code, MEPC.248(66) and Corr.1MSC.369(93), MSC.376(93), MSC.370(93),MSC.377(93)MSC93/22/Add.1(Annex 13) and Corr.1


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has introduced new requirements for the fire protection of on-deck cargo areas. The new requew requirements for the fire protection of on-deck cargo areas. The new requirements, which will be added to SOLAS regulation II-2/10, apply to all ships designed to carry containers that are constructed on or after January 1, 2016.

The amendments were adopted to require the following additional firefighting systems for ships designed to carry container on or above the weather deck. Further, MSC.1/Circ.1472  was also approved to set design and performance standards of a mobile water monitor:

  • Water mist lance (at least one should be installed on board), which is a device to penetrate a container wall and produce water mist inside containers.
  • Mobile water monitor (only for a ship designed to carry five or more tiers of containers on or above the weather deck), which is a portable device to spray water to the top tier of containers on deck.

Ships with a breadth less than 30 m should be provided with at least two mobile water monitors, and ships with a breadth exceeding 30 m should be provided with at least four mobile water monitors.

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New requirements for onboard stability instruments applicable to new and existing tankers will be effective from 1st January 2016.

MARPOL Annex I Ch.4, the IBC/BCH Code and the IGC/GC Code have all been amended, and require that new and existing tankers to be fitted with an approved stability instrument capable of verifying compliance with intact and damage stability requirements.

The new requirement is applies as follow:

1.New oil/chemical tankers constructed on or after 1 January 2016 and new gas tankers constructed on or after 1 July 2016 – at delivery.

2.Oil / chemical (and GC/EGC) tankers, Gas (IGC) tankers constructed before 1 January 2016 - at the first renewal survey on or after 1st January 2016, but no later than 1st January 2021.

3.Gas (IGC) tankers constructed before 1 July 2016 - at the first renewal survey on or after 1st January 2016, but no later than 1st January 2021.

4. Oil / chemical (and GC/EGC) tanker, Gas (IGC) tankers constructed before 1 January 2016......See More

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The amendment to the Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code) Annex 14, was approved by the IMO in 2010 and revised in 2014 (MSC.1/Circ.1352/Rev.1).

Ships keel-laid on or after 1 January 2015: The IMO has not made the application of MSC.1/Circ.1352 mandatory, but it encourages ship owners, ship operators, shipmasters and crew to apply the annex in its entirety to container vessels and vessels equipped for carriage of containers.

Ships keel-laid before 1 January 2015 are, through MSC.1/ Circ.1352, encouraged to apply sections 4.4, 7.1, 7.3 and 8 in Annex 14, and subject to the provisions of sections 6 and 7.2 in Annex 14 as far as practical.

In particular, existing containerships must comply with the following requirements at the first survey after or on 1 January 2015 and following should apply:

1. Vessels not equipped with lashing platforms need to be fitted. - (6.1.2)

2. All relevant deck surfaces used for movement about the ship and all passageways and stairs must have non-slip surfaces. - (6.2.1.2)

3.The sides of lashing bridges and platforms onboard of existing ships are to be fitted with toe boards along the sides of such lashing bridges and platforms. - (6.2.2.5).... see more

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Steering Gear test on sea trials is required after January 1, 2016 -  Amendments to SOLAS Regulation II-1/29 MSC.365 (93)

SOLAS Regulation II-1/29 has been amended to include requirements for ships that it is impractical to demonstrate compliance with the requirement for deepest seagoing draught during the test of steering gear.

For a number of ship types, such as container ships, it is impractical to demonstrate compliance with the requirement during sea trials at its deepest seagoing draught and running ahead at the speed corresponding to the number of maximum continuous revolutions of the main engine and maximum design pitch.

Through MSC.365 (93), the IMO has adopted the alternative way to demonstrate the requirements of steering gear. Where it is impracticable to demonstrate the requirement for steering gear with the ship at its deepest seagoing draught, ships may demonstrate compliance with the requirement by one of the following methods: see more

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Passenger  and Cargo ships constructed on or after 1 January 2016   require to have two means of escape from the machinery control rooms and the main workshop within a machinery space.  Amendments to SOLAS Regulation II-2/13.4 - MSC.365(93).



Container Weight Verification.

A new requirement was added to SOLAS VI Chapter 2 by the adoption of Resolution MSC.380 (94). 

The IMO -MSC.1/Circ.1475 provides recommendations on how to interpret and apply the provisions of the SOLAS requirements.

The amendments to SOLAS Regulation II-2/13.4 were adopted by resolution MSC.365(93) and require two means of escape from the machinery control rooms and the main workshop* within a machinery space for passenger ships and cargo ships constructed on or after 1 January 2016.

At least one of these escape routes shall provide a continuous fire shelter* to a safe position outside the machinery space.

Further, the ladders/stairways in machinery spaces being part of or providing access to escape routes shall be fitted with steel shields attached to their undersides, such as to provide escaping personnel protection against heat and flame from beneath. see more...


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The IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) approved changes to the SOLAS Convention regarding a mandatory container weight verification requirement on shippers.

A new requirement was added to SOLAS VI Chapter 2 by the adoption of Resolution MSC.380 (94).

This requirement will become legally effective on July 1, 2016. 

Shippers, freight forwarders, vessel operators, and terminal operators will all need to establish policies and procedures to ensure the implementation of this regulatory change.

Under the SOLAS amendments, there are two methods shippers may use to determine the container weight once the container packing process has taken place:

1. Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or
2. Weighing all packages and cargo items, including pallets, dunnage and other securing material, and adding the sum of these weights ... See more...
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N&B Marine Consultant can assist you to obtain the WRC on behalf of Palau Flag within 24 hrs. 

In order to proceed, please submit Application, Blue Card, Certificate of Registry and $270 Certificate fees at  [email protected]

The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal Wrecks, 2007

The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal Wrecks will enter into force on 14 April 2015.   Convention requires owners of a ship of 300 gross tonnes and over registered in a State Party or entering or leaving a port in the territory of a State Party to have insurance or other financial security, such as guarantee of bank or similar institution to cover liability under the Convention.

Convention also required that Certificate of Insurance or other Financial Security in Respect of Liability for Removal of Wrecks from a State Party attesting that such insurance is in force be carried on board at all times. Under the Convention, States that already ratified Convention may not allowed vessels, to which this convention apply to leave or enter their ports. 

Panama Maritime Authority has issued Circular MMC-308  which strongly urged Owners/Operators, or Representatives of Panamanian flagged vessels to follow the procedures a For more information...