Vessel Classification- A quick revision guide


Some Handy Revision Notes on Classification Societies and Ship Classification

It feels like time for another pause in this blog in the stream of vessel Certification posts,  so I will dip my toe into a topic that pervades into most areas of a vessel’s documentation, ‘Class’. 

What is a classification Society?

A classification Society is a an organisation that published rules for the design, CertLRconstruction of ships. Compliance with these rules is required for obtaining insurance, P&I cover, assisting in vessel sales and obtaining finance.

That is a Commercial service and not a statutory one.

Requirements of a Classification Society

  • To Publish its own classification Rules in relation to the design
    construction and survey of ships
  • To apply, maintain and update those Rules and Regulations
  • To Verify compliance with these Rules during construction and periodically during CertBVa classed ship’s life
  • To publishes a register of classed ships
  • Is not controlled by, and does not have interests in, ship-owners, shipbuilders or others engaged commercially in the manufacture, equipping, repair or operation of ships
  • Is authorised by a Flag Administration as defined in SOLAS Chapter XI-1, Regulation 1

Who are the Classification Societies?

More than 90% of the world’s cargo carrying tonnage is covered by the classification of the twelve Member Societies of IACS,  The International Association of Classification CERTIACSSocieties.

Click here for the IACS website>

Members of the IACS

There are many other organisations offering classification services that are not part of IACS but not all of these meet all the requirements listed earlier in this post.

Listing of all classification Societies on the UK P &I club website>

What is the purpose of  ship classification?

  • To verify the structural strength and integrity of essential parts of the ship’s hull and its appendages
  • To verify the reliability and function of the propulsion and steering systems, power generation and auxiliary systems

A certificate of class states that a vessel is in compliance with the Rules of the CertABSclassification society and does not act as a warranty of safety, fitness for purpose or seaworthiness of the ship.

What are the Statutory activities of Classification Societies?

Classification Societies have moved beyond commercial assurance activity to becoming CertPolandan integral part of many flag state’s compliance with international shipping legislation. Many surveys required by SOLAS or other international conventions are now conducted by classification societies. The authority for this contained within the first chapter of SOLAS.

(a) The inspection and survey of ships, so far as regards the enforcement of the provisions of the present regulations and the granting of exemptions therefrom, shall be carried out by officers of the Administration. The Administration may, however, entrust the inspections and surveys either to surveyors nominated for the purpose or to organizations recognized by it. SOLAS Chapter 1 Regulation 6

The UK’s procedures for this delegation is referred to as Alternative Compliance Scheme (ACS). See MGN 568> 

IMO Resolution A.739(18) lays down mandatory minimum requirements for Recognized organisations (ROs). Click here to view the Resolution on the sjofartsverket website.

Guidelines for the authorization of organisations acting on behalf of the administration,

A quick history of Ship Classification

Lloyds coffee house was opened by Edward Lloyd in 1686. The shop became popular with seafarers, shipowners and merchants, and Edward Lloyd provided them with shipping news.

In 1691 the coffee shop was moved to Lombard street and the where it was continued to be used as a venue to discuss marine insurance,

The insurers developed a system for the independent technical assessment of the ships presented to them for insurance cover. This system enabled non seafaring underwriters and judge the risk that the vessels posed.

In 1760, the Lloyds Register Society was formed by the customers of the coffee house, which was followed in 1764 by production of the the Lloyds ‘Register of Shipping’.

From 1829 onwards other Societies were founded around the world replicating the work of Lloyds

In 1968 IACS was formed to establish minimum technical standards and ensures their consistent application

After that brief introduction to vessel classification this blog will soon return with another certificate.  This journey through certification is soon to reach its destination.


Part 1 of a new series of Really Handy Study guides has just been launched

A revision guide covering vessel certification; more of the series are on the way.

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What is a Declaration of Security under the ISPS Code?


A Quick handy guide to the ISPS Declaration of Security

Following on from the last two posts on security related Certification is a quick look at an associated piece of documentation that may be held by a vessel.  

The Declaration of Security is a document that  may be required for a  port visit when specific security requirements exist. The Declaration address the security requirements that could be shared between a port facility and a ship, or between ships, and states the responsibility for each.

What determines if a Declaration of Security is required?

A Government shall determine when a Declaration of Security is required by assessing the risk the ship/port interface or ship to ship activity poses

A ship can request completion of a Declaration of Security when:

  • The ship is operating at a higher security level than the port facility or another ship
    it is interfacing with
  • There is an agreement on a Declaration of Security between Contracting Governments covering certain international voyages or specific ships on those
  • There has been a security threat or a security incident involving the ship or
    involving the port facility
  • The ship is at a port which is not required to have and implement an approved port
    facility security plan
  • The ship is conducting ship to ship activities with another ship not required to have and implement an approved ship security plan

Who completes the declaration of Security?

  • The master or the ship security officer on behalf of the ship(s); and, if appropriate,
  • The port facility security officer or, if the Contracting Government determines
    otherwise, by any other body responsible for shore-side security, on behalf of the
    port facility

What is contained on the Declaration of Security between a ship and a port facility?

Ship and port facilities

  • Name of Ship
  • Port of Registry
  • Certs Dec of secuityIMO Number
  • Name of Port Facility

Summary  of actives

  • Validity dates
  • List of activities covered
  • Security level(s) for the ship
  • Security level(s) for the port facility

Security measures  agreed between Ship and Port

  • Monitoring restricted areas to ensure that only authorized personnel have access
  • Controlling access to the port facility
  • Controlling access to the ship
  • Monitoring of the port facility including
  • berthing areas and areas surrounding the ship
  • Monitoring of the ship, including berthing areas and areas surrounding the ship
  • Handling of cargo
  • Delivery of ship’s stores
  • Handling unaccompanied baggage
  • Controlling the embarkation of persons and their effects
  • Ensuring that security communication is readily available between the ship and port facility

Two IMO publications on the ISPS code available from Amazon


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The ISPS Code- A Handy Summary


Following on from the last post on the International Ship Security Certificate, this post has a quick look at its associated code. 

The International Code for the Security of Ships and Port Facilities

Following terrorists attacks of  11th September 2001 the IMO agreed to the development of new measures relating to the security of ships and of port facilities; out of this agreement came the ISPS code

What makes the ISPS code mandatory?

SOLAS Chapter XI-2 , Special measures to Enhance Maritime Security

Regulation 4 Requirements for Companies and Ships

“2 Ships shall comply with the relevant requirements of this chapter and of part A of the ISPS Code, taking into account the guidance given in part B of the ISPS Code, and such compliance shall be verified and certified as provided for in part A of the ISPS Code…..”

This Code applies to the following ships on international voyages:

  • Passenger ships, including high-speed passenger craft;
  • Cargo ships, including high-speed craft, of 500 gross tonnage and upwards
  • Mobile offshore drilling units
  • Port facilities serving such ships engaged on international voyages

What does SOLAS Say about ship security and the Master’s discretion?

Regulation 8

“1 The master shall not be constrained by the Company, the charterer or any other person from taking or executing any decision which, in the professional judgement of the master, is necessary to maintain the safety and security of the ship. This includes denial of access to persons (except those identified as duly authorized by a Contracting Government) or their effects and refusal to load cargo, including containers or other closed cargo transport units.”

Contents of the ISPS code

This list of sections within the code give in an indication of the range of its requirements. The contents of sections 7, 8, 9,10, 12 and 14 are the most applicable to ships and require a Ship Security Assessment, Ship Security Plan and Ship Security officer to be in place.

  • 1 General
  • 2 Definitions
  • 3 Application
  • 4  Responsibilities of Contracting Governments
  • 5 Deceleration of Security
  • 6 Obligations of the Company
  • 7 Ship Security
  • 8 Ship Security Assessment
  • 9 Ship Security Plan
  • 10 Records
  • 11 Company Security Officer
  • 12 Ship Security Officer
  • 13 Training, Drills and exercises on Ship Security
  • 14 Port Facility Security
  • 15 Port Facility Security assessment
  • 16 Port Facility Security Plan
  • 17 Port Facility Security officer
  • 18  Training, Drills and exercises on Port Facility Security

What is covered by the ship Security Assessment (SSA) ?

  • Physical security
  • Structural integrity
  • Personnel protection systems
  • Procedural policies
  • Radio and telecommunication systems, including computer systems and networks
  • Other areas that may, if damaged or used for illicit observation, pose a risk to
    persons, property, or operations on board the ship or within a port facility

What is the Ship Security Plan (SSP)?

Ship security plan means a plan developed to ensure the application of measures on board the ship designed to protect persons on board, cargo, cargo transport units, ship’s stores or the ship from the risks of a security incident.” ISPS Code definitions

Contents of the plan

  • The organizational structure of security for the ship
  • The ship’s relationships with the Company, port facilities, other ships and relevant authorities with security responsibility
  • The communication systems to allow effective continuous communication
    within the ship and between the ship and others, including port facilities
  • The basic security measures for security level 1 that will always be in place
  • The additional security measures that will allow the ship to progress without
    delay to security level 2 and, when necessary, to security level 3
  • Procedures for regular review, or audit, of the SSP and for its amendment in response to experience or changing circumstances
  • The reporting procedures to the appropriate Contracting Governments contact points

What are the Security Levels?

These are set by Governments based on the security threat. Each threat level will have a corresponding series of security measures within the Ship and Port Security plans.

  • Security level 1 means the level for which minimum appropriate protective
    security measures shall be maintained at all times.
  • Security level 2 means the level for which appropriate additional protective
    security measures shall be maintained for a period of time as a result of
    heightened risk of a security incident.
  • Security level 3 means the level for which further specific protective security
    measures shall be maintained for a limited period of time when a security incident
    is probable or imminent, although it may not be possible to identify the specific

What nominated personal are required by ISPS?

The Company Security Officer (CSO) is responsible for ensuring that a Ship Security
Assessment (SSA) is carried out for each of the ships in the Company’s fleet.

Ship Security Officer (SSO) means the person on board the ship, accountable to the
master, designated by the Company as responsible for the security of the ship.

Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO)means the person designated as responsible for the development, implementation, revision and maintenance of the port facility
security plan and for liaison with the ship security officers and company security


Some Related Revision Guides

CertId1Cover wp-1448917864372.jpeg

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The International Ship Security Certificate- A handy guide


This series of posts has to take a round turn now, to go back and explore an important certificate by-passed earlier on.  

The ISSC- Improving security

Why is it required?

  • The International code for the Security of Ships and of port facilities (ISPS code).
  • SOLAS chapter XI-2

Click here for the IMO ISPS web page>

What is contained on the Certificate?

  • Name of ship
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • Port of registry
  • Type of ship
  • Gross tonnage
  • Date of initial / renewal verification on which this certificate is basedISPS Cert format

What does it Certify?

  • That the security system and any associated security equipment of the ship has been verified in accordance with section 19.1 of part A of the ISPS Code
  • That the verification showed that the security system and any associated security
    equipment of the ship is in all respects satisfactory and that the ship complies with the applicable requirements of chapter XI-2 of SOLAS and part A of the ISPS Code
  • That the ship is provided with an approved Ship Security Plan

What are the survey requirements?

The certificate is subject to Verifications rather than surveys. These verifications are to ensure that the security system and any associated security equipment of the ship fully complies with the applicable requirements of the Code, is in satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which the ship is intended.

Verification types

Initial verification before the ship is put in service or before the certificate
is issued for the first time.

Renewal verification at intervals specified by the Administration, but not
exceeding five years.

At least one intermediate verification. If only one intermediate verification is
carried out it shall take place between the second and third anniversary date of the

A Definition

“Ship security plan means a plan developed to ensure the application of measures
on board the ship designed to protect persons on board, cargo, cargo transport
units, ship’s stores or the ship from the risks of a security incident.” ISPS code

Which vessels require an International Ship Security Certificate?

The following types of ships engaged on international voyages:

  • Passenger ships, including high-speed passenger craft
  • Cargo ships, including high-speed craft, of 500 gross tonnage and upwards
  • Mobile offshore drilling units;

Note the code also applies to port facilities serving such ships engaged on international voyages. Flag states and regional areas may extend this list to include additional types of vessels.

When does the Certificate become invalid?

  • If the relevant verifications are not completed within the specified periods
  • When a Company assumes the responsibility for the operation of a ship not previously operated by that Company
  • When the vessel is transferred to the flag of another State

Other associated Certificates

Interim International Ship Security Certificate

This is a temporary certificate issued for a period of no more than 6 months that allows a vessel to sail without its full International Ship Security Certificate.

When is it issued?

  • When a ship is without a certificate, on delivery or before its entry or re-entry into service
  • When a ship is transferring flags between Governments
  • When a a ship changes ownership

What must be verified before an Interim Certificate can be issued?

  • That the ship security assessment has been completed
  • That a  copy of the ship security plan meeting the requirements of the Code is provided on board, has been submitted for review and approval, and is being implemented on the ship
  • That he ship is provided with a ship security alert system if required,
  • That the company security officer has ensured:
    • The review of the ship security plan for compliance with the
      the Code
    • That the plan has been submitted for approval
    • That the plan is being implemented on the ship
    • That they have established the necessary arrangements, including
      drills, exercises and internal audits, through which the company security
      officer is satisfied that the ship will successfully complete the required
      verification within 6 months
    • Arrangements have been made for carrying out the required verifications
    • The master, the ship’s security officer and other personnel with security duties are familiar with their duties and responsibilities and within the ship security plan placed on board
    • These personnel  have been provided such information in the working language of the ship’s personnel or languages understood by them
  • The ship security officer meets the requirements of this Part of the Code

Declaration of Security

This is declaration completed by the vessel and a port for a specific period stating the security requirements and allocation of responsibilities. Such declarations are required only in certain circumstances, its detail will be covered in a later post.

Sources of Information

This Handy Revision guide has just been published for Kindle. The first in a new series of revision aids covering the topic of ship certification.


Click here to see on Amazon>

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The Special Trade Passenger Ship Safety Certificate

wpid-wp-1438103199200.jpegA handy guide to the Special Trade Passenger Ship Safety Certificate-Carrying pilgrims safely

What is a special trade passenger ship?

It is a ship carrying large numbers of unberthed passengers in special trades such as the pilgrim trade in a restricted sea area around the Indian Ocean.

(6) “ Special trade ” means the conveyance of large numbers of special trade passengers by sea on international voyages within the area specified below (as illustrated in the chart in Appendix I to these Rules):….Special Trade Passenger ship Rules


Why is a Special Trade Certificate required?

It is required under SOLAS Chapter III regulation 2 Exemptions

2 In the case of passenger ships which are employed in special trades for the carriage of large numbers of special trade passengers, such as the pilgrim trade, the Administration, if satisfied that it is impracticable to enforce compliance with the requirements of this chapter, may exempt such ships from those requirements, provided that such ships comply fully with the provisions of:

.1 the rules annexed to the Special Trade Passenger Ships Agreement, 1971; and

.2 the rules annexed to the Protocol on Space Requirements for Special Trade Passenger Ships, 1973.

What is a Special Trade Passenger?

“‘Special trade passenger‘ means a passenger carried in special trades in spaces on the weather deck, upper deck and/or between decks which accommodate more than eight passengers. Special Trade Passenger Ships Rules, 1971

Does the Special Trade Passenger Ship Safety Certificate replace the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate?

No, a Special Trade Passenger Ship Safety Certificate shall, be issued in addition to the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate.

Is shall be issued after inspection and survey to a special trade passenger ship which complies with the applicable requirements of these Rules.

How long does the Certificate last?

This Certificate shall be issued for a period of not more than twelve months.

What information is shown on the certificate?CertSpecialTradeCert

  • Ship particulars
    • Name
    • Distinctive numbers or letters
    • Port of Registry
    • Gross tonnage
  • Particulars of voyages
  • Date on which keel was laid
  • Subdivision loadlines
    • D1-D3 Freeboards
    • These apply when defined alternative spaces are use to carry passengers
  • Life saving  appliances carried for specified number of passengers
    • Lifeboats
    • Liferafts
    • Buoyant apparatus
    • Lifebuoys
    • Lifejackets
  • A Table of space available for accommodation of special trade passengers
  • Location of spaces
  • Number of passengers for less than 24 hours, 24 hours and over but less than 72 hours, 72 hours over (Existing ships 24 to 48 hours in seasons of fair weather)

Click here for the Special Passenger Trade Space Protocol> 

Important: This blog is written as an aid to revision, and represents my own wanders through maritime legislation.  For definitive information please refer to source documentation.   Throughout this blog I will provide links to those sources when available.

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The International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of INF Cargo- A Handy Guide


imdg-7Carrying  irradiated fuel, Plutonium and high level waste on board ships

Back to the certificates again, this time one that applies to a small number of specialised vessels.

Why is the certificate required?

It is required by The international code for the safe carriage of packaged irradiated fuel, Plutonium and high level waste on board ships (INF code.)

What other document is required by the INF code?

Every ship carrying INF cargo shall carry on board a shipboard emergency plan.

What information is contained on the Certificate?

  • Particulars of ship
    • Name of ship
    • Distinctive number or letters
    • Port of registry
    • Gross tonnage
    • IMO Number
  • INF class of ship
  • Completion date of the survey on which this certificate is based

The certificate must be drawn up in the official language of the issuing country. If the language used is neither English, French  or Spanish, the text should include a translation into one of these languages

What Surveys are required?

The Harmonised System of Survey and Certification (HSSC) does not apply,  however, the UK MCA recommend that the surveys and certification are harmonised with other Convention certificates where practicable.

The Surveys

  • An Initial Survey
  • An Annual Survey, within three months before or after each anniversary date of the Certificate, other than where an intermediate survey is required
  • An Intermediate Survey, within three months before or after the second or third anniversary date of the Certificate;
  • A  Renewal Survey

The INF code

This code is required by SOLAS Chapter VII Carriage of dangerous goods Part D-Special requirements for the carriage of packaged irradiated fuel, plutonium and high-level  radioactive wastes on board ships.

The code applies to All ships,  regardless of date and size carrying  INF. It does not apply to warships and naval auxiliary warships used for non commercial purposes.

Click here for the IMO INF website>

What is INF cargo?

 “INF cargo” means packaged irradiated nuclear fuel, plutonium and high‐level radioactive wastes carried as cargo in accordance with class 7 of the IMDG Code.”

Irradiated nuclear fuel” means material containing uranium, thorium and/or plutonium isotopes which has been used to maintain a self‐sustaining nuclear chain reaction.” INF code

Contents of the INF code

The chapter headings of the code give a good overview of the requirements of INF carriage.

  • Chapter 1 General
  • Chapter 2 Damage stability
  • Chapter 3 Fire safety measures
  • Chapter 4 ‐ Temperature control of cargo spaces
  • Chapter 5 ‐ Structural consideration
  • Chapter 6 ‐ Cargo securing arrangements
  • Chapter 7 ‐ Electrical power supplies
  • Chapter 8 ‐ Radiological protection
  • Chapter 9 ‐ Management and training
  • Chapter 10 ‐ Shipboard emergency plan
  • Chapter 11 ‐ Notification in the event of an incident involving INF cargo

A Fact Sheet

WNTIFactsheetThe  World Nuclear Transport institution have a useful fact sheet on the INF code, Click here to download>

Click here for the WNTI website>

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The Maritime Conventions

dscf3338SOLAS, MARPOL and beyond

A Handy Revision Guide to the Conventions

Throughout this series of posts on Ship Certification various International Conventions have often been referred to. Therefore this is good time to create a summary of the the Key conventions.  To keep things simple, I have ordered and categorised them in the same manner as the certification posts.

The IMO conventions

The majority of the conventions, but not all, are produced by the IMO.

Identifying the ship


United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)     

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982

“The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea lays down a comprehensive regime of law and order in the world’s oceans and seas establishing rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources. It enshrines the notion that all problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be addressed as a whole.”

The issues covered by the Convention include:

  • Territorial seas
  • Innocent passage
  • Transit passage through straits
  • Exclusive economic zones  (EEZ)
  • Continental shelf exploitation
  • Freedoms of the high sea
  • Marine pollution responsibilities
  • Disputes

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention.

Defining the shipwpid-wp-1437630402998.jpeg

International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969 (Tonnage Convention)

This Convention introduced an universal tonnage measurement system. The Convention provides for gross and net tonnages, both of which are calculated independently.

Gross tonnage and net tonnage

The Convention meant a transition from the traditionally used terms gross register tons (grt) and net register tons (nrt) to gross tonnage(GT) and net tonnage (NT).

Some definitions from the Convention

“(4) “gross tonnage” means the measure of the overall size of a ship determined in accordance with the provisions of the present Convention;

(5) “net tonnage” means the measure of the useful capacity of a ship determined in accordance with the provisions of the present Convention;”

International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, as Loadlinesmodified by the 1988 Protocol relating thereto, as amended (Load Lines Convention)

“It has long been recognized that limitations on the draught to which a ship may be loaded make a significant contribution to her safety. These limits are given in the form of freeboards, which constitute, besides external weathertight and watertight integrity, the main objective of the Convention.” IMO website

Contents of the convention

Annex I

  • Chapter I – General
  • Chapter II – Conditions of assignment of freeboard
  • Chapter III – Freeboards
  • Chapter IV – Special requirements for ships assigned timber freeboards

Annex II covers Zones, areas and seasonal periods

Annex III contains certificates, including the International Load Line Certificate

Managing the vessel

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certificationwpid-157765645208.jpg
and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978

International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers entered into force in 1984. The main purpose of the Convention is to promote safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment by establishing in common agreement international standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers.

The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Code were adopted on 25 June 2010, marking a major revision of the STCW Convention and Code.

The STCW regulations are supported by sections by the STCW Code. The Convention contains basic requirements which are then enlarged upon and explained in the Code.

Part A of the Code is mandatory. The minimum standards of competence required for seagoing personnel are given in detail in a series of tables.

Part B of the Code contains recommended guidance which is intended to help implement the Convention.

ILO Maritime Labour Convention, (MLC 2006) – As amended by the 2014DSCF3260 Amendment (MLC)

The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (“MLC, 2006”) establishes minimum working and living standards for all seafarers working on ships flying the flags of ratifying countries. It is widely known as the “seafarers’ bill of rights,”

The convention is an international labour Convention adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Keeping the ship safe

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974img_20151119_111728.jpg

“The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships. The first version was adopted in 1914, in response to the Titanic disaster, the second in 1929, the third in 1948, and the fourth in 1960. The 1974 version includes the tacit acceptance procedure – which provides that an amendment shall enter into force on a specified date unless, before that date, objections to the amendment are received from an agreed number of Parties.” IMO Website

The 1974 Convention has been updated and amended on numerous occasions. The Convention in force today is sometimes referred to as SOLAS, 1974, as amended.

Keeping the seas clean

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from wpid-10152154002370209.jpgShips, 1973 (MARPOL)

MARPOL is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.

The MARPOL Convention was adopted on 2 November 1973 at IMO.  MARPOL has been updated by amendments over the years.

The convention currently includes six technical Annexes.

International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (BWM Convention)aquariamcircleedited

The Convention aims to prevent, minimize and ultimately eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens through the control and management of ships’ ballast water and sediments. It enters into force on 8 September 2017.

Under the Convention, all ships in international traffic are required to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, according to a ship-specific ballast water management plan. All ships will also have to carry a ballast water record book and an international ballast water management certificate.

International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, 2001 (AFS Convention)

The Convention prohibits the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships and establishes a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems.

Annex I of the Convention states that all ships shall not apply or re-apply organotins compounds which act as biocides in anti-fouling systems.

International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 (Bunkers Convention)

The Convention was adopted to ensure that adequate, prompt, and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by spills of oil, when carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers

International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (CLC Convention)

The Convention covers those who suffer oil pollution damage resulting from maritime casualties involving oil-carrying ships. The Convention places the liability for such damage on the owner of the ship from which the polluting oil escaped or was discharged.

The Convention applies to seagoing vessels carrying oil in bulk as cargo, but only ships carrying more than 2,000 tons of oil are required to maintain insurance in respect of oil pollution damage.

Other Conventions

Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs)

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009caribillemillnarrow

The Hong Kong Convention is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment.

Its regulations cover:

  • The design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling
  • The operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner
  • The establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, incorporating certification and reporting requirements

Ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, which will be specific to each ship.

International Convention on Salvage

The Convention replaced the 1910 convention on the law of salvage which incorporated the “‘no cure, no pay” principle. The 1989 Convention added a provision for an enhanced salvage award taking into account the skill and efforts of the salvors in preventing or minimizing damage to the environment.

International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR)

The 1979 Convention was aimed at developing an international SAR plan, so that, no matter where an accident occurs, the rescue of persons in distress at sea will be co-ordinated by a SAR organization and, when necessary, by co-operation between neighbouring SAR organizations.

As this series on Certification  draws to a close this post will no doubt be ‘tweaked’ and expanded, and may form the basis of its own page on spawn more pots….maybe. Meanwhile the next certificate is awaiting exploring.

For Information about the Really Handy Range of Revision Books for Mariners, Click here>

 A Really Handy Guide to Ship Certification (part 1) has just been added to the range. More to follow shortly in the series.

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The Grain Code- What does it contain?


The International Code for the safe carriage of grain in bulk

The last post on the  Document of Authourisation to Carry Grain  referred to the grain code.  Before the blog moves onto the next piece of cargo related certification it will have a very quick look at that code. Only a quick look though; just an overview of the contents.

Click to find the code on Amazon

“1.1. This Code applies to ships regardless of size, including those of less than 500 tons gross tonnage, engaged in the carriage of grain in bulk, to which part C of chapter VI of the 1974 SOLAS Convention, as amended, applies.” The Grain Code

  • Part A – Specific requirements
    • 1 Application
    • 2 Definitions
    • 3 Document of authorization
    • 4 Equivalents
    • 5 Exemptions for certain voyages
    • 6 Information regarding ship’s stability and grain loading
    • 7 Stability requirements
    • 8 Stability requirements for existing ship
    • 9 Optional stability requirements for ships without documents of
      authorization carrying partial cargoes of bulk grain
    • 10 Stowage of bulk grain
    • 11 Strength of grain fittings
    • 12 Divisions loaded on both sides
    • 13 Divisions loaded on one side only
    • 14 Saucers
    • 15 Bundling of bulk grain
    • 16 Overstowing arrangements
    • 17 Strapping or lashing
    • 18 Securing with wire mesh
  • Part B – Calculation of assumed heeling moments and
    general assumptions
  • 1 General assumptions
  • 2 Assumed volumetric heeling moment of a filled compartment,
  • 3 Assumed volumetric heeling moment of a filled compartment,
  • 4 Assumed volumetric heeling moments in trunks
  • 5 Assumed volumetric heeling moment of a partly filled
  • 6 Other assumptions
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Document of Authorization to Carry Grain- A Handy Guide

This blog has already covered two cargo related certificates within earlier sections:

Now it will carry on to explore some certificates specific to certain cargoes, starting with grain.


Carrying grain safely

The requirement for grain specific documentation arises from the safety risk arising from grain’s characteristics.  Grain settles about 2% of volume, a settling which causes small voids to open up near the surface that allow the grain to shift. This free flowing of the can greatly  reduce the stability of the vessel, making grain one of the most dangerous cargoes.

Why must a ship carry a Document of Authourisation to Carry Grain?

It is required by SOLAS  Chapter VI Safety of Cargoes.

Regulation 9 – Requirements for Cargo Ships Carrying Grain

“1 In addition to any other applicable requirements of the present regulations, a cargo ship carrying grain shall comply with the requirements of the International Grain Code, and hold a document of authorization as required by that Code. For the purpose of this regulation, the requirements of the Code shall be treated as mandatory.

2 A ship without such a document shall not load grain until the master satisfies the Administration, or the Contracting Government of the port of loading on behalf of the Administration, that the ship will comply with the requirements of the International Grain Code in its proposed loaded condition.”

What code must a grain carrying ship conform to?

The international code for the safe carriage of grain in bulk, this is normally referred to GrainCodeas ‘The Grain Code’ .

What is grain?

Grain Code 2 Definitions

2.1. The term grain covers wheat, maize (corn), oats, rye, barley, rice, pulses, seeds and processed forms thereof, whose behaviour is similar to that of grain in its natural state

1.1. This Code applies to ships regardless of size, including those of less than 500 tons gross tonnage, engaged in the carriage of grain in bulk, to which part C of chapter VI of the 1974 SOLAS Convention, as amended, applies.

What does the Document of authorization signify

It is evidence that the ship is capable of complying with the requirements of the grain code.

A ship without such a document of authorization shall not load grain until the master demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Administration, or of the Contracting Government of the port of loading acting on behalf of the Administration, that, in its loaded condition for the intended voyage, the ship complies with the requirements of the code.

Where must the document be held?

The document shall accompany or be incorporated into the grain loading manual.

Click here for the IMO Grain Code page>

What is shown on the Document?

  • Name of ship
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • Port of Registry
  • IMO number
  • A statement that the ship is capable of complying with the requirements of the International Grain Code in accordance with the approved grain loading stability information booklet.

When can a ship load without a document of authorization?


  • The total weight of the bulk grain shall not exceed one third of the deadweight of the ship
  • All filled compartments, trimmed, shall be fitted with centreline divisions extending, for the full length of such compartments, downwards from the underside of the deck or hatch covers to a distance below the deck line of at least one eighth of the maximum breadth of the compartment or 2.4 m, whichever is the greater, except that saucers  may be accepted in lieu of a centreline division in and beneath a hatchway except in the case of linseed and other seeds having similar properties;
  • All hatches to filled compartments, trimmed, shall be closed and covers secured in place
  • All free grain surfaces in partly filled cargo space shall be trimmed level and secured
  • Throughout the voyage the metacentric height after correction for the free surface effects of liquids in tanks shall be 0.3 m or that given by a formula given in the grain code
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​SOLAS  Chapter VI-Safety of Cargoes


SOLAS Chapter VI – Carriage of Cargoes and Oil Fuels

Click for SOLAS on Amazon

What does it cover?

Before this blog dives into the realms of grain cargoes certification it will have a quick look at the contents of SOLAS Chapter VI.  A quick look that may be useful in hunting  for cargo related legislation.

Contents of Chapter VI

Part A – General Provisions

  • Regulation 1 – Application
  • Regulating 1-1 – Definitions
  • Regulation 1-2 – Requirements for the Carriage of Solid Bulk Cargoes other than Grain
  • Regulation 2 – Cargo Information
  • Regulation 3 – Oxygen Analysis and Gas Detection Equipment
  • Regulation 4 – The Use of Pesticides in Ships
  • Regulation 5 – Stowage and Securing
  • Regulation 5-1 – Material Safety Data Sheets
  • Regulation 5-2 – Prohibition of the Blending of Bulk Liquid Cargoes and Production Processes during Sea Voyages

Part B – Special Provisions for Solid Bulk Cargoes

  • Regulation 6 – Acceptability for Shipment
  • Regulation 7 – Loading, Unloading and Stowage of Solid Bulk Cargoes

Part C – Carriage of Grain

  • Regulation 8 – Definitions
  • Regulation 9 – Requirements for Cargo Ships Carrying Grain

Some recommended links on cargo safety

The next post will move on to explore the certification associated with Regulation 9, the carriage of grain.

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