Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) – The Ultimate Guide

The maritime industry’s most important concerns are the safety of personnel and prevention of marine pollution for smooth cargo transportation and marine operation at high seas.

To achieve this, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) relies on its two very strong pillars: SOLAS & MARPOL – The International Conventions for safeguarding human life and marine environment from all kinds of pollutions and accidents.

Read: MARPOL – The Ultimate Guide 

What is SOLAS Convention?

The word SOLAS is an abbreviation and SOLAS full form is “Safety Of Life At Sea”, an international maritime treaty, also known as SOLAS Convention or International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which establishes the least safety measures in the construction, equipment and operation of merchant ships.

IMO SOLAS 74, the last adopted revised convention of 1974, includes a number of regulations under different SOLAS chapters, which deals with safety precautions and safety procedures starting from the construction of the ship to real emergency like – “Abandon Ship”.  The convention is updated to meet the safety norms in the modern shipping industry from time to time.

This article explains the contents of SOLAS chapters and regulations providing a summary of SOLAS, i.e. different chapters of SOLAS and the regulations they carry. Marine Insight has provided links of various articles which will help the readers to understand how the regulation of the SOLAS Annexes is implemented on a seagoing vessel and the importance of SOLAS.

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14 Main Chapters Of SOLAS

The SOLAS 1974 international maritime treaty comprises 13 chapters and each chapter has its own set of regulations. The following are the list of SOLAS all 14 chapters and the regulations they contain:

SOLAS MARPOL

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974 describes the requirement for all merchant ship of any flag state to comply with the minimum safety norms laid down in the chapters which are as follows:

Chapter I – General Provisions: Surveys and certification of all the safety items etc are included.

Chapter II-1 – Construction – Subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations: Deals with watertight integrity of the ship, especially for passenger vessel.

Chapter II-2 – Fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction: This chapter elaborates the means and measures for fire protection in accommodation, cargo spaces and engine room for the passenger, cargo and tanker ship.

Chapter III – Life-saving appliances and arrangements: All the life-saving appliances and their use in different situations is described.

Chapter IV – Radio communications: Includes requirements of GMDSS, SART, EPIRB etc for cargo and passenger vessel.

Chapter V – Safety of navigation: This chapter deals with all the seagoing vessels of all sizes, from boats to VLCCs, and includes passage planning, navigation, distress signal etc.

Chapter VI – Carriage of Cargoes: This chapter defines the storage and securing of different types of cargo and containers, but does not include oil and gas cargo.

Chapter VII – Carriage of dangerous goods: Defines the International Maritime Goods Code for storage and transportation of dangerous goods.

Chapter VIII – Nuclear ships: The code of safety for a nuclear-propelled ship is stated in this chapter.

Chapter IX – Management for the Safe Operation of Ships: The International Safety Management Code for ship owners and operators is described clearly.

Chapter X – Safety measures for high-speed craft: safety code for the high-speed craft is explained.

Chapter XI-1 & 2– Special measures to enhance maritime safety: Special and enhanced survey for safe operation, other operational requirements and ISPS code is briefed in this chapter.

Chapter XII – Additional safety measures for bulk carriers: Includes safety requirement for above 150 meters length bulk carrier.

Chapter XIII  – Verification of Compliance

Chapter XIV -Safety Measures for Ships Operating in Polar Waters

What is the Purpose Of Each SOLAS Chapter?

SOLAS Chapter I

In the SOLAS Chapter 1; General Provisions, Surveys and certification of all the safety items, structure, machinery etc. are included.

This chapter is further subdivided into 3 parts- Part A, Part B and Part C.

Part A contains 5 regulation that explains the “Application” of this chapter in different types of the ship along with the “Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter. The regulation may not be applicable to all types of a ship; hence a separate section of “Exceptions” and “Exemptions” is also provided.

All the SOLAS chapters cover a general basic minimum criterion which applies to seagoing ships, regardless of their location and nationality. It is possible that the material or appliances available in one country are not available for the ship in another country. An “Equivalent” Section is also provided to deal with such a situation.

Part B contains the important regulations informing about surveys and certificates seagoing ships need to have to be said compliant with SOLAS. For this, 15 regulations are kept under Part B. Regulation 6 to Regulation 11 provides details of different survey requirement on different ships, equipment, machinery etc. clauses on how to do the repair and what kind of surveys to go through.

Related Read: A List of Inspections And Surveys Deck Officers On Ships Should Be Aware Of

What is the Harmonised Survey System for Ships?

Regulation 12 to Regulation 18 explains the different requirements for certification obtained post surveys.

Related Read: 40 Ship Certificates and Documents that are Checked in a Port State Control (PSC) Survey

Regulation 19 – Control: This regulation explains the jurisdiction of local government a foreign ship is voyaging, such as coast guard, port state etc. to inspect the vessel for ensuring the safety of the ship. It also explains the step to be taken by the government authorities to notify the concerned (next port of call, owner, class etc.) and how to exercise the control.

Related Read: The Ultimate Guide to Port State Control (PSC) Inspection on Ships

Regulation 20 – Privileges: this regulation explains if the ship can or cannot claim any privileges depending upon the certificates it holds.

Part C of Chapter 1 contains only one regulation, i.e. Regulation 21, which explains how a contracting government can carry out an inquiry for the ship which was involved in an incident and causalities and what kind of information needs to be collected and to be passed through.

Related Read: 10 Important Things To Do During Ship Collision Accident

How P & I Clubs Work – Procedure for Accident Response

SOLAS Chapter II-1

Construction – Subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations: This chapter of SOLAS Deals with watertight integrity of the ship, including the passenger’s vessel and comprises of 7 parts, explaining the requirement for structural, machinery, electrical, stability and other criteria for a safe ship.

Part A contains 3 regulations that explain the “Application” of this chapter on ships as per their keel laying. The regulations explain the “Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter.

Part A-1 comprises of regulations explaining the requirement for the structure of the ship including protective coating, towing arrangements, deck equipment fittings, construction and drawings etc. It also includes the regulation on how to provide access to different parts of oil tanker and bulk carrier and the structure access manual which contains the details of the structure including plans for means of access. The method to construct a ship that complies with the regulation for protection against noise is also included.

Related Read: Preparations For Emergency Towing Of Ship – 10 Important Points

Part B of this regulation explains the stability and watertight integrity requirement. Under Part B 1, the regulations (Regulation 5 to 8) define the necessary conditions for maintaining the intact stability of the cargo ship and passenger ship. It also includes a requirement on the information which needs to be supplied to the master on the stability of the vessel explaining how to calculate the stability factors in different conditions.

Related Read: Understanding Watertight Bulkheads In Ships: Construction and SOLAS Regulations

Ship Stability – What Makes a Ship Unstable?

Part B 2 comprises of 4 regulations (Regulation 9 to 17) which takes care of the watertight integrity of the ship (both passenger and cargo ship) by enlisting the constructional and testing requirements of watertight and other important bulkheads, and the provision of the double bottom on ships other than tanker ships.

Related Read: How to Test and Maintain Cargo Hatch Cover of a Dry Ship?

Designing A Ship’s Bottom Structure – A General Overview

Part B 3 explains the requirement for the subdivision load line assignment for passenger ships.

Part B 4 of this chapter comprises of 7 regulations ( Regulation 19 to Regulation 25) for the requirement of stability management explaining the inspections, preventions, damage control drills, and information for cargo and passenger ships.

Part C focuses on different machinery installation in the engine room including the requirement of emergency installations in the passenger ships from regulation 26 to regulation 39.

Related Read: 5 Stages Of Marine Machinery Installation On Ships

Part D of this chapter (from regulation 40 to 45) focuses on the electrical installation requirement for cargo and passenger ships including the emergency source and arrangements along with electrical safety and hazards.

Related Read: How to Install Electronic Circuits on Ship?

How is Power Generated and Supplied on a Ship?

Part E clarifies the requirement for unattended machinery space under regulation 46 to 54 explicitly.

Related Read: Preparation for UMS Operation On Ships

Part F of this chapter gives the details about the alternative design and arrangement for the ship’s machinery and electrical system under regulation 55. It also explains the storage and distribution requirement for the low flashpoint fuel system.

Part G explains the application and requirements as per the regulation 56 and 57 for the ships using low flash point fuels.

Related Read: How to select Marine Fuel Oil and Factors Necessary for Fuel Oil System

SOLAS Chapter II-2

Fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction: This chapter elaborates the means and measures for fire protection in accommodation, cargo spaces and engine room for the passenger, cargo and tanker ship. This chapter is divided into 7 parts, explaining the various requirement for fire safety systems installed on a ship.

Part A contains regulations 1 to 3 which explains the “Application” of this chapter on ships construction date and the regulations also explains the “Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter and the objective and functional requirement of this chapter.

Part B of this chapter specifies the requirement to prevent fire and explosion on cargo ships including tankers. It has 3 regulations from Regulation 4 to regulation 6; Regulation 4 gives the details of how to prevent the ignition of a combustible source present on ships including the limitations and arrangements on the use of fuel and lube oils used onboard, and prevention of fire in the cargo areas of the tanker ship.

Regulation 5 laid down the requirement to curb the growth of the fire in different spaces on the ship, which includes cutting any one side of the fire triangle, i.e. to control either air supply, oil supply or the heat source (using protection materials like insulation, linings etc.) in the potentially hazardous space.

Related Read: 16 Fire Fighting Appliances and Preventive Measures Onboard Ships

Regulation 6 of this part focus on reduction of hazards to human life from products which release smoke and toxic gases (such as paint, varnish etc.).

Related Read: 20 Hazards On Oil Tanker Ship Every Seafarer Must Know

Part C of this chapter comprises of 5 regulations (Regulation 7 to Regulation 11) and focuses on the requirement to suppress the fire at the earliest, including detection and control of smoke and flames, containment requirements, the structural integrity of the space to prevent spreading of fire and firefighting systems and equipment to be used on ships machinery, accommodation and cargo spaces.

Related Read: Basics of Fire Prevention Onboard Ships

Part D focuses on the escape of the seafarers or passengers in case of fire or any other emergency. Regulation 13 explains the various requirement for means of escape for different types of ships (cargo ship, passenger ship, RoRo ship etc.), equipment and systems which helps in escaping from the hazardous place etc.

Part E of chapter II-2 consist of Regulation 14 to regulation 16 providing information on the maintenance of the fire detection, fighting, and control equipment on cargo ships including tankers and passenger ships. It also explains the requirement for training and drills to be carried out on fire safety on board ship. Regulation 16 focuses on the fire safety booklet which should be kept on board ship for all types of vessel.

Related Read: The importance of fire drills on ships

Part F of this chapter gives the details about the alternative design and arrangement for the ship’s fire safety under regulation 17.

Related Read: A Brief Overview of Fire Control Plan on Ship

Part G contains a special requirement for the operations which are carried out on the tanker and bulk carrier ships such as helicopter operation (Regulation 18) giving details of different constructional, safety and firefighting arrangements. Regulation 19 provides safety measures for carrying dangerous goods in a container, bulk, tanker or Roro ships.

Related Read: 16 Fire Fighting Appliances and Preventive Measures Onboard Ships

Regulation 20 focuses on ships that carry a vehicle as cargoes along with passengers explaining prevention, detection, and containment of fire on such ships. Regulation 21, 22 and 23 are passenger-centric, describing the requirement a passenger ship should follow in case of fire incident onboard ship to save passenger and ship from a major accident.

Related Read: DNV GL: Enhancing Fire Safety On Ro-Ro Decks

SOLAS Chapter III

Life-saving appliances and arrangements: All the lifesaving appliances and their use in different situations according to the ship type is described in this chapter.

This chapter comprises 3 Parts. Part A contains 5 regulation that explains the “Application” of this chapter in different types of the ship along with the “Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter. The regulation may not be applicable to all types of a ship; hence a separate section of “Exceptions” and “Exemptions” is also provided. Further, onboard testing and production testing procedures are also explained.

Part B comprises of total 32 regulations (from Regulation no. 6 to 37) dealing with the requirements of life-saving appliances on passenger and cargo ships. Regulation 6 describes the communication appliance (Radio, Pyrotechnics etc.) used for safety and life-saving situations on vessels.

Related Read: What Are PyroTechnics on Ship?

History of Maritime Distress Signals

Regulation 7  list downs the requirement for the personal life-saving appliance such as lifejackets, lifebuoys, immersion suit etc.

Related Read: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Life Jackets on Ships

Regulation 8 to Regulation 11 contains the instruction on muster station, survival craft operation and manning, along with their embarkation arrangements explaining the different requirements.

Related Read: Liferafts on Ships: SOLAS Requirements, Safety Features & Launching Procedure

Regulation 12 specifically address the location of survival craft in a cargo ship (other than free fall lifeboat). Regulation 13 to Regulation 17 details on the stowage and necessary arrangement required for the lifeboat, liferaft, marine evacuation system, recovery boat on the ship and Man Overboard Operation.

Related Read: Types of Lifeboats Used On Ship

Regulation 18 lists down the requirement for line throwing appliances used on the ship. Regulation 19 deals with various training and drills requirement for the onboard crew.

Regulation 20 applied to all the ships for operational readiness, maintenance and survey requirement of survival crafts and other lifesaving appliances onboard ship.

Related Read: Preparation For Safety Equipment Survey On Ships

Life Raft Repair Services and Maintenance Procedures: A General Overview

Regulation 21 to Regulation 30 tell about the additional requirement for passenger ship about survival crafts and all lifesaving appliances on the passenger ships, including drills for passengers onboard ship and helicopter operation in a passenger ship (ro-ro passenger ships of 130m in length should be provided with a helicopter landing area).

Related Read: Cruise Ship Passenger Drill Requirements Come Into Force On 1 January 2015

Regulation 31 to Regulation 34 tell about the additional requirement for cargo ship about survival crafts and all lifesaving appliances on the ships.

Regulation 35 to 37 contains various instructions for onboard maintenance, muster lists etc. and availability of training manual and other onboard training aids on the ship.

Related Read: Important Features of Muster List on Ship

Part C of this chapter gives the details about the alternative design and arrangement for the ship’s lifesaving appliances under regulation 38.

SOLAS Chapter IV

Radio communications: This chapter Includes requirements of different radio communication equipment used on board ships such as GMDSS, SART, EPIRB etc for cargo and passenger vessels. This chapter is divided into 3 parts; Part A, Part B and Part C.

Part A contains regulations 1 to 4 which explains the “Application” of this chapter and the regulations also explains the “Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter and the objective and functional requirement of this chapter. Further, it includes the exemptional requirement and the details of GMDSS satellite providers.

Related Read:  SOLAS requirement for Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS)

Part B consisted of Regulation 5 explaining the provisions of radiocommunication services and the identities of GMDSS by the contracting government.

Related Read: How to get a GMDSS Endorsement Certificate?

Part C insists on the ship-based requirement for the radio equipment and comprises of 13 regulations. Regulation 6 gives the details of radio installation requirement on all types of ship. Regulation 7 provides details of different radio equipment minimum requirement which are to be used on ships.

Related Read: What Marine Communication Systems Are Used in the Maritime Industry?

Regulation 8 to Regulation 11 provides the details of radio installation capability to initial ship to shore communications and alerts in Sea areas A1, A2, A3 and A4.

Related Read: Introduction to Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) – What You Must Know

Regulation 12 lists down the additional duties of the officer on radio communication equipment during a watch.

Related Read: Obsolete-yet-Famous Marine Jobs: Radio Officers

Regulation 13 gives the details of the energy source for all the radio communication equipment including emergency reserve source of power and battery power.

Related Read: 20 Points To Consider For Handling and Taking Care of Batteries On Ships

Regulation 14 and 15 gives the details of performance standards and maintenance required to be carried out on radiocommunication equipment.

Related Read: Daily, Monthly And Weekly Tests Of GMDSS Equipment On Board Ships

Regulation 16, 17 and 18 provide the need for radio personnel qualification and different records and logs which needs to be updated in the ship log system.

Related Read: Important Points For Logbook Keeping On Ships 

SOLAS Chapter V

Safety of navigation: This chapter consists of total 35 regulations dealing with all the seagoing vessels of all sizes, from boats to VLCCs, and includes passage planning,  navigation, distress signal etc.

Regulations 1 to 3 explains the “Application” of this chapter on the safety of navigation and the regulations also explains the “Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter and the objective and functional requirement of this chapter. Further, it includes the exemptional requirement to be granted by the administration to a complying ship.

Regulation 4 and 5 lists down different navigational and mineralogical service warnings which are essential for a navigating officer for safe passage plan.

Related Read: Important Points For Dealing With Navigational Warnings On Ships

Regulation 6, 7,8 and 9 focuses on services such as the ice patrol service for safe navigation in North Atlantic, search and rescue services (when receiving distress alert from the ship), usage of life-saving signals and hydrographic services (for the compilation of hydrographic data and publication) by the contracting government.

Related Read:  IMO Collaborates In Worldwide Implementation Of Maritime Search And Rescue

Regulation 10 contains the details for the requirement of ships’ routeing system for safe and efficient navigation.

Related Read: IMO Adopts Key International Routing And Protection Measures For Bering Sea

Regulation 11 lists down the need of reporting system to contribute towards maritime and environmental safety, where the seagoing ship reports to the concerned authorised body.

Regulation 12 provides the requirement for Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) undertaken by the contracting government for safe navigation in the coastal area, channel, port vicinity and area of maritime traffic.

Related Read: What are Vessel Traffic Services?

Regulation 13 defines the role of the contracting government for an arrangement of establishment and operation of aids to navigation.

Related Read:  Why Virtual Aids of Navigation Are Important For Ships?

Regulation 14 lists down the minimum manning requirement and crew performance for a seagoing ship

Regulation 15 gives details of bridge design and procedures along with the arrangement of navigation systems and equipment.

Related Read: 30 Types of Navigation Equipment and Resources Used Onboard Modern Ships

Regulation 16 and Regulation 17 provides the need for maintenance of navigation equipment and their electromagnetic compatibility.

Regulation 18 gives the terms for surveys, approval criteria and performance standard of navigational equipment and system including VDR.

Related Read: What Marine Communication Systems Are Used in the Maritime Industry?

Regulation 19 provides the requirement for carrying a navigational system and equipment onboard ship as per the date of construction and also as per the capacity of the vessel in gross tonnage. It also explains the requirement for Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships.

Related Read: The Long Range Tracking and Identification (LRIT) System: Tracking and Monitoring Ships

Regulation 20 explains the requirement for Voyage Data Recorder on ships for assisting in causality investigations.

Related Read: Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) on a Ship Explained

Regulation 21 provides the details of the International Code of Signals which a radio installation on a ship should carry.

Regulation 22 talks about the visibility requirement from the ships’ bridge window and Regulation 23 explains the pilot transfer arrangement.

Related Read:  Important Pilot Transfer Arrangements And SOLAS Requirements For Ships

Regulation 24 explains the use of heading and track control system when the ship is in restricted visibility or high traffic area.

Related Read: 10 Important Points Ship’s Officer On Watch Should Consider During Restricted Visibility

Regulation 25 and 26 list down the regulatory requirement for the electrical power source, testing, and drills for steering gear systems.

Related Read: Procedure of Testing Steering Gears on Ship

Regulation 27 talks about the nautical charts and publications available onboard ships for passage and voyage.

Related Read: Understanding the Principles of Passage Planning

Regulation 28 provides the details of records to be kept for all the navigational activities by ship’s navigation officer.

Related Read: Different Entries To Be Made In Bridge Log Book of The Ship

Regulation 29 insist on the requirement for the ship’s officer to understand different life-saving signals used in distress. Regulation 30 lists the operational limitations of passenger ships regarding safe navigation.

Regulation 31, 32, 33 and 34 contain a requirement for the master of the ship on how to act in a dangerous situation by sending danger message (while encountering any dangerous navigation situation to the contracting government using a message or International code of Signal. It also includes the type of information which needs to be sent to the authorities.

Further, the regulation also explains the obligations/ procedures on providing assistance to the ship in danger and how to avoid such a situation which can become a danger. Regulation 35 strictly prohibits the use of distress signal for any other purpose other than explains in the above regulations.

Related Read: What is the Responsibility of the Master after Abandoning a Ship?

SOLAS Chapter VI

Carriage of Cargoes and Oil Fuel: This chapter of SOLAS defines the storage and securing of different types of cargo and containers, but does not include oil and gas cargo. This chapter is further divided into 3 parts; Part A, Part B, and Part C.

Part A contains regulations 1 to Regulation 5. Regulation 1 explains the “Application” of this chapter and also explains the “Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter and the requirements to carry the solid cargo other than grain.

Regulation 2 tells about the information exchange to be done between the shipper and the master on the type of cargo being loaded.

Related Read: What is Ship-Shore Interface Management in the Shipping World?

Regulation 3 explains the need for Oxygen analyzer and other gas detection equipment for monitoring of those solid cargoes which emits toxic or flammable gases.

Regulation 4 describes the details of using pesticides on ship done for fumigation purpose.

Regulation 5 provides the information on stowing and securing of the cargo. It also lists down the requirement of MSDS for oil fuel carried on board ship. Further, it explains the requirement to prohibit the mixing of bulk liquid cargo and production process during sea voyages.

Related Read: Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS Used on Ships

Part B of this SOLAS chapter list down the special provision for carrying solid bulk cargoes and it consist of Regulation 6 and 7 which explains the procedure to accept a shipment and how to load, unload the stow such cargo.

Related Read: 9 Common Hazards Of Bulk Cargo On Ships

Part C focuses on the requirement for carriage of grains under Regulation 8 and 9 which provides the definitions of International Grain Code and other essential terms related to grains ailing with the criteria to carry grain cargoes on the ship.

Related Read: 23 Important Maritime Codes Used in the Shipping Industry

SOLAS Chapter VII

Carriage of dangerous goods: Defines the International Maritime Goods Code for storage and transportation of dangerous goods. This chapter is further divided into 4 parts; Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.

Part A is provided with information on the carriage of dangerous goods in the packaged form under 7 regulations. Regulation 1, 2 and 3 explain the “Application” of this chapter and also explains the “Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter along with the requirements to carry dangerous goods in the packaged form.

Related Read: 8 Things Deck Officers Must Know While Handling Packaged IMDG Cargo

Regulation 7 is dedicated for Carriage of dangerous goods in a solid bulk form defining the terms used under this regulation along with the application of the terms. It further explains the documentation and stowage with segregation requirement for such type of cargoes. The reporting of the incident and other condition related to the dangerous goods carried in solid bulk form is also provided.

Related Read: A Guide To HAZMAT Cargo Loading On Ships

Part B of this chapter explains the details about construction and equipment for carrying dangerous liquid chemical in bulk. Regulation 8, 9 and 10 explain the Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter and “Application” of this chapter along with the requirements for chemical tankers which carry such cargoes.

Related Read: A Guide To Plan Stowage On Chemical Tankers

Part C of this chapter explains the details about construction and equipment for carrying liquified gas in bulk as cargo. Regulation 11, 12 and 113 tells the Definitions of different terminology which are used in the chapter and “Application” of gas ships along with the requirements for gas tankers which carry such cargoes.

SOLAS Chapter VIII

Nuclear ships: The code of safety for the nuclear-propelled ship is stated in this chapter.

This chapter consists of 12 regulations explaining the application, exemptions, approvals, and requirement (for reactor installations), Safety against radiation, safety assessment, operating manual, surveys and certifications, Controlling authority and steps in case of any causality due to radiation etc.

Related Read:  Understanding Nuclear Marine Propulsion

SOLAS Chapter IX

Management for the Safe Operation of Ships

The International Safety Management Code for ship owner and the operator is described clearly. Regulation 1 and 2 of this chapter explains the details about the “Application” of SOLAS Chapter 9 and also explains the “Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter.

Regulation 3 provides the requirement to comply with the ISM code followed by important certifications in Regulation 4, which includes DOC, SMC etc.

Related Read: How is ISM Code Implemented On Ships?

Regulation 5 and Regulation 6 list down the maintenance of conditions and verification & control respectively.

Related Read: What Is Safety Management System (SMS) On Ships?

SOLAS Chapter X

Safety measures for high-speed craft

This chapter is dedicated to high-speed crafts only, explaining the safety requirements and comprises of 3 regulations interpreting the Definitions of different terminology which are used in the chapter and “Application” of high-speed craft along with the requirements for high-speed crafts.

Related Read: Boats with a Difference: The High-Speed Crafts

SOLAS Chapter XI

This chapter is divided into two sections.

Section one, i.e. Chapter XI -1 deal with the Special measures to enhance maritime safety which includes Special and Enhanced survey for safe operation. The second section of this SOLAS  chapter which is Chapter XI-2 list down the regulations for special rules to improve maritime security.

Chapter XI-1 consist of 7 regulations. Regulation 1 provides information about the authorization of a recognised organisation. Regulation 2 compiles the requirements for the enhanced survey for bulk carriers and oil tankers along with the harmonization of survey periods of ships which are not subjected to the ESP code.

Related Read: What is the Enhanced Survey Programme (ESP)?

Regulation 3 provides the details of the ship identification number and company cum owner identification number.

Related Read:  Automatic Identification System (AIS): Integrating and Identifying Marine Communication Channels

Regulation 4 explains the role of Port state control on operational requirements.

Regulation 5 deals with the continuous synopsis record which is provided onboard as a historical overview of the ship information.

Related Read: What is Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR) of Ships?

Regulation 6 specifies the additional requirement for the investigation of marine causality and incidents.

Related Read: A Seafarer’s Role in Collecting Evidence During Maritime Accidents

Regulation 7 tells about the requirement for atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces for measuring oxygen, flammable gases, H2S, Carbon mono oxide etc.

Related Read: IMO: Enclosed Space Ship Safety Rule Enters Into Force

Chapter XI-2 deals with maritime security measures which all the parties involved in a maritime trade need to follow; i.e. ship, port, shipowner, contracting government and authorities. This SOLAS chapter consists of 13 regulations, and Regulation 1 and 2 explain the Definition” of different terminology which is used in the chapter and the details about the “Application” of this chapter.

Regulation 3 focuses on the contracting government stating their obligation towards maritime security.

Regulation 4 lists down the requirement for companies and ships on how to comply with the ISPS code followed by Regulation 5 which deals with the specific responsibility of the companies towards maritime security.

Related Read: The ISPS Code For Ships – An Essential Quick Guide

Regulation 6 specifies the vital requirement for all seagoing ship about the Ship Security Alert System (SSAS).

Related Read: What is Ship Security Alert System (SSAS)?

Regulation 7 deals with the threats to the vessels which needs to be set as a security level by the contracting governments.

Related Read: What Are The Security Levels Under ISPS Code?

Regulation 8 lists down the discretion for the master for taking account of ship safety and security.

Regulation 9 explains about the compliance and control measures that a ship should exhibit in port and regulation 10  states the relevant requirements for port facilities under ISPS code.

Related Read: 10 Ways to Enhance Ship Security

Regulation 11 and 12 talks about the alternative and equivalent security arrangement by the contracting government and administration.

Regulation 13 deals with the different information that needs to be communicated to the ship and ship manager.

Related Read: What is Ship Security Assessment (SSA)?

SOLAS Chapter XII

Additional safety measures for bulk carriers: This chapter Includes safety requirement for above 150 meters length bulk carrier. It consists of 14 regulations.

Regulation 1,2 and 3 gives details about the “Definition” of different terminology which are used in the chapter and the details about the “Application” of this chapter, followed by the implementation schedule for the survey as per the date of construction.

Regulation 4 The damage stability requirements for bulk carriers are explained in this regulation.

Related Read: Ship Stability: Damaged Stability of Ships

Regulation 5 & 6 provides the details of structural strength and other structural requirements for bulk carrier ship.

Related Read: Understanding Design Of Bulk Carriers

Regulation 7 deals with the surveys and maintenance requirements of the bulk carriers followed by Regulation 8 which explains the information on compliance for bulk carriers.

Related Read: 9 New Aspects of IACS Harmonised Common Structural Rules (CSR) For Ships

Regulation 9 focuses on those bulk carrier ships which are unable to comply with regulation 4 because of the designing of cargo holds. Regulation 10 lists down the requirement for declaring the solid bulk cargo density.

Regulation 11 provides details about the loading instruments used for cargo loading on bulk carrier ships.

Related Read: 11 Steps to Enhance Safety of Bulk Carrier Ships

Regulation 12 lists down the terms for having water ingress alarm in holds, ballast space and other dry spaces in a bulk carrier ship.

Regulation 13 applies to all the bulk carriers regardless of their date of construction and explains the necessity of pumping systems to drain the ballast tanks.

Related Read: A Guide To Ballast Tanks On Ships

Regulation 14 focuses on the restrictions towards the bulk carrier ships from sailing with an empty cargo hold.

Related Read: 9 Common Hazards Of Bulk Cargo On Ships

Apart from the above SOLAS 12 Chapters, the below two are considered to be SOLAS new chapters which were added in recent years.

SOLAS Chapter XIII

Verification of Compliance: This chapter was adopted on 22 May 2014 which requires all the Contracting Party to undergo periodic audits by the approved organization following the audit standard to verify compliance with and implementation of the present Convention.

This chapter consists of regulation 1 to regulation 3 explaining the “Definition” of different terminologies which are used in the chapter and the details about the “Application” of this chapter, followed by the verification system for contracting government.

Related Read: Mandatory Audits And Other Amendments Enter Into Force On 1 January 2016

SOLAS Chapter XIV

Safety Measures for Ships Operating in Polar Waters – As the name suggest, the SOLAS chapter 14 deals with the ships that intend to operate within the Arctic and Antarctic areas and need to carry Polar Ship Certificate.

This  Code entered into force on 1 January 2017 and explains the shipowners and ship managers about the steps to be taken to have their ships in compliance within the different categories. This is one of the latest chapter introduced within SOLAS in 2017.

It comprises of 4 Regulations starting from regulation 1 & 2 which gives the details about the definitions of the terminology used in this chapter and application of this code.

Related Read: The IMO Polar Code In Force, Beginning 1 January 2017: How To Comply

Regulation 3 explains the requirements for ships to which this chapter applies followed by regulation 4 which suggest the terms for alternative design and arrangement for vessels sailing in Arctic and Antarctic areas.

Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

The article or images cannot be reproduced, copied, shared or used in any form without the permission of the author and Marine Insight. 

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View Comments (13)

  • Would be great if up update the article
    Two more new chapters added to solas as on 1 jan 2017
    a.Verification of compliancw
    b.Safety measure for ships ops in polar waters

  • Good day;
    Have a question in regard to cruise ships. Is there a law requiring all passenger hallways being free of any and all obstacles?
    What i am looking at is some cruise lines want passengers to leave food trays in hallways ( to be picked up at the cruise lines convenience). In my view this is a potential tripping hazard. These trays are being placed on isle floor emergency lights.I feel these hallways should be free of any obstacles. Some lines seem to be ok with baby carriages and wheel chairs being left in hallways also. clear means of egress should be maintained.
    If there is such a law, where would i find it.
    Thank you
    Edward A. Leddy

  • Get the SOLAS and MARPOL app from google play store those who want it. These are paid version and updated.

  • @Jim,
    Sir you would be surprised how such seemingly minor things make a difference at the time of emergency.

    Solas and Marpol are full of details regarding such fine details which might appear silly and petty to you.

  • I`m marine surveyor for 37 years attending many P&I clubs in Brazil, and owners/charterers bunkering and noted that barge`s team are not placing the contantion barrier is such position to avoid oil spill / pollution to sea.

    I have search in SOLAS/IMO/Habour master and others sites an article / standards how contantion barrier must be placed around the barge and vessel during bunkering to avoid oil spiiled/pollution, but nothing noted.

    I have noted hundred items to prevent oil pollution to sea, it is very important but not last because many of those items used to prevent pollution may fail (human errors or electronic/mechanic, ect..)

    I have attend a case recently and confirmed that if barge`s team placed contation barrier in such condition / efficiently, the oil spilled / pollution should be controlled and easy cleanned and avoid seriously environment prejudices and high costs

    As i have noted in those years attending as a surveyor during bunkering process, placing the contation barriers during bunkering seems that it is only to attend the protocols/conventions, it is not to really contain the oil spilled.

  • can you tell me the solas constructional difference in crude oil tanker and product tanker

  • Dear Sirs,

    We are addressing you in a crisis and emergency situation, on behalf of the family of Captain Dino Miskic from Croatia and the family of sailors from Ukraine and the Philippines.
    Captain Dino Miskic and 13 crew members sailed the Bourbon Rhode aboard the Las Palmas - Guyana route under the French Bourbon company. The voyage started on 9/17/2019 and the ship was due to arrive in Guyana on 10/3/2019. On 9/26/2019 the ship sank under yet unexplored circumstances and on 9/27/2019. search and rescue launched. Till 10/5/2019 3 sailors were rescued, 4 sailors were found dead and 7 sailors still to be found. Although as many as 7 crew members were not found, despite not finding 3 of the 4 life rafts used to rescue crew members and despite the information available of 7 crew members boarding the aforementioned liferafts, Bourbon Rhode dated 5/10/2019 announced the end of the quest.

    We are addressing you this way because we hold that the suspension of the search for the 7 remaining crew members of the Borubon Rhode crew violates the human rights of these sailors and their families, first of all the right to life, as guaranteed by the human rights instruments, above all the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations and Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Council of Europe. The right to life is a fundamental right of man. In the hierarchy of human rights, it is above and beyond all other rights. The right to life is absolute. The right to life is a part of civil and political rights and freedoms that must not under any circumstances be abolished or restricted, and we believe that Captain Dino Miskic and crew members have a right to life that should not be denied an unjustified suspension of their search.

    The families of the 7 remaining sailors, as well as the public and citizens of the Republic of Croatia, believe that in the given circumstances, there is certainly reasonable hope that the persons in danger will be found and that there is no reasonable and justified reason to suspend the search after only 7 days. We believe that, in circumstances where there is a certain possibility of rescuing crew members, a series of international documents has been violated, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS Convention), the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention), and the International Maritime Search and Rescue Convention (SAR Convention), which all point to the obligation of an appropriate and effective search and rescue at sea, that is, to quote the provisions of the International Maritime Search and Rescue Convention, obligation of State Parties to:

    “Ensure that assistance is provided to any person in distress at sea… regardless of the nationality or status of such a person or the circumstances in which that person is found” (Chapter 2.1.10) “[…] provide for their initial medical or other needs, and deliver them to a place of safety (Chapter 1.3.2.). "

    By suspending the search, Bourbon Rhode and search and rescue authorities violate these international documents.
    At present, in less than 24 hours, over 30,000 signatures have been collected in the Republic of Croatia to continue the search for missing crew members and we ask that you take all appropriate steps to continue the search for Captain Miškić and the Bourbon Rhode crew members, finally to be found.

    Greetings,

    Family and friends of missing seaman,

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