IMO RULES REQUIRE VESSEL ôBLACK BOXESö
International Maritime Organization rules, effective today, include a requirement that certain ships carry voyage data recorders similar to the “black boxes” containing flight data on aircraft.
Voyage data recorders enable accident investigators to review procedures and crew instructions before an incident occurred. Under regulation 20 of the new SOLAS Chapter V, such recorders must be used on all passenger and roll-on/roll-off vessels, as well as containerships of more than 3,000 gross tons, constructed on or after July 1.
The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee is conducting a feasibility study to see if a compelling need exists for mandatory carriage of voyage data recorders on existing cargo ships.
Regulation 19 of the new SOLAS Chapter V adds automatic identification systems (AISs) to navigational equipment required on ships. This rule requires such systems on all new vessels of 300 gross tonnage and upwards, sailing on international voyages, new cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards not engaged on international voyages.
Under the new IMO rules, automatic identification systems have to provide, information about a ship’s identity, type, position, course, speed, navigational status, and any specific safety-related information, to shore stations, other vessels, and aircraft. Such units will automatically receive such data from similarly fitted ships. The systems will also monitor and track vessels, and exchange data with shore-based facilities.
' More information on this rule and other amendments to the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS) is available on the Web at http://www.imo.org.
Also coming into effect today is the second phase of the IMO’s International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (ISM Code).
The first phase of the ISM Code has been mandatory since July 1998 for tankers, passenger ships and bulk carriers.
The second phase includes all but the smallest vessels trading internationally — only ships of less than 500 gross tons are excluded.
The ISM Code establishes requires shipowners, ship managers and bareboat charterers to develop a safety management system for each vessel. Such systems must include necessary resources and shore-based support, and must document implementing procedures in a safety management manual, to be kept on board the vessel at all times.
More information on the ISM Code is available on the Web at http://www.imo.org/home.asp?topic_id=182.