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Maritime Conventions and Codes on Amazon

wp-1481562626266.jpgThroughout the recent posts on this blog have been references to various International Maritime Conventions and Codes. Now that all the key certificates have been covered, it is probably a good time to provide a quick reference to where to purchase the source publications.

Where to find the publications on Amazon

When I started building this post my intention was to give links to each book. Unfortunately, I was soon thwarted by the high range in prices being offered on line. In order to avoid providing links towards overpriced I have instead given some search links that will allow a quick check of what is currently being offered on-line.

Before buying through Amazon then it is recommended to check the suppliers and prices IMOfrom the IMO, at their publication page.

The International Conventions



Other Codes and guidance



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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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Enclosed spaces- where to find information


Enclosed, Confined and Dangerous Spaces

A quick diversion away from certification this post to pass on some useful links for information related to entry into enclosed spaces.

This very important safety topic is confused by the variation in names adopted to describe such spaced. I have therefore included the name used in each reference with the appropriate definition.


“2.1 Enclosed space means a space which has any of the following characteristics: .

1 limited openings for entry and exit;

.2 inadequate ventilation; and

.3 is not designed for continuous worker occupancy,

and includes, but is not limited to, cargo spaces, double bottoms, fuel tanks, ballast tanks, cargo pump-rooms, cargo compressor rooms, cofferdams, chain lockers, void spaces, duct keels, inter-barrier spaces, boilers, engine crankcases, engine scavenge air receivers, sewage tanks, and adjacent connected spaces. This list is not exhaustive and a list should be produced on a ship-by-ship basis to identify enclosed spaces.”


“15.1.1 An enclosed space is one that:has limited openings for entry and exit; has inadequate ventilation; and  is not designed for continuous worker occupation.”

UK SI 1988 No. 1638 – The Merchant Shipping (Entry into Dangerous Spaces) Regulations

“dangerous space” means any enclosed or confined space in which it is foreseeable that the atmosphere may at some stage contain toxic or flammable gases or vapours, or be deficient in oxygen, to the extent that it may endanger the life or health of any person entering that space;

UK shore based guidelines and regulations

UK HSE confined space webpageHSE

“A confined space is a place which is substantially enclosed (though not always entirely), and where serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the space or nearby (e.g. lack of oxygen).”

UK confined space regulations 1997Approved code practice

UK approved code of practice

Ship certification exploring will continue in the next post.

For a find a copy of COSWOP on Amazon click below.


The IMDG code- A quick summary

WharfsA handy revision guide to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Codeimdgcode2016

The safe carriage of dangerous goods at sea

Before this blog moved on from the Document of Compliance for Dangerous goods, it will have a quick look at its related code, the IMDG code.  Its only a quick glance, as the code is a complex read, and one worthy of  closer look later on this blog.

What is the purpose of the IMDG code?

  • Enhance the safe carriage of dangerous goods
  • While facilitating the free unrestricted movement of such goods
  • Prevent pollution to the environment

Why is does the IMDG code need to be complied with?

SOLAS chapter VII Dangerous goods.solas

“Regulation 3 – Requirements for the Carriage of Dangerous Goods

The carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form shall be in compliance with the relevant provisions of the IMDG Code.”

When was the IMDG code first introduced?

The code was first produced in 1965, but it was only recommendary status until 2004.

IMDG code contents

The IMDG code comes in two volumes, the first one with general instructions, and the second one containing the specific instructions for each type of dangerous goods.

Volume 1imdgv1

Part 1 General Provisions, definitions and training

Application, Definitions, Training, Security,  general provisions for radioactive material

Part 2 Classification

The IMDG goods classes, 1 to 9, explained

Part 3 Dangerous goods list –  contained in Volume 2

Part 4 Packing and tank provisions

Part 5 Consignment procedures

Part 6 Construction and testing of packages, IBCs, portable tanks, MECGs and road tank vehicles

Part 7 Provision concerning transport operations

Volume 2


Part 3

3.1 General

3.2 Dangerous goods list

3.3 Special provisions applicable to certain substances, materials or articles

3.4 Dangerous goods packed in limited quantities

3.5 Dangerous goods packed in excepted quantaties

Appendix A List of generic and N.O.S. proper shipping terms

Appendix B Glossary of terms

Information contained in the Dangerous goods list

  • UIN number
  • Proper shipping name
  • Class or division
  • Subsidiary risks
  • Special provisions
  • Limited and excepted quantity provisions
  • Packing
  • IBC
  • Portable tanks and bulk containers
  • Ems
  • Stowage and handling
  • Segregation
  • Properties and observations

Sources of useful IMDG information

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AIS test report- A Handy Guide

Testing the Automatic Identification System

Before launching off into some specilised cargo related certification this blog will briefly double back on itself to cover certificates related to the Radio Equipment certification. One covers the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) and this one the Automatic Identification System (AIS).

Why is an AIS test report required

It is required under SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 18.9

“The automatic identification system (AIS) shall be subjected to an annual test. The test shall be conducted by an approved surveyor or an approved testing or servicing facility. The test shall verify the correct programming of the ship static information, correct data exchange with connected sensors as well as verifying the radio performance by radio frequency measurement and on-air test using, e.g., a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). A copy of the test report shall be retained on board the ship”

What should the test include?

  • Installation details including antenna layout, initial configuration report, interconnection diagrams, provision of the pilot plug and power supply arrangements
  • Checking the correct programming of the ships static information
  • The ability of the AIS to receive ships dynamic information from the appropriate sensors
  • The ability to correctly input the ships voyage related data
  • A performance test of the equipment including radio frequency measurements
  • An on-air test that the unit is working correctly using for example an appropriate Vessel Traffic Service station or a suitable test equipment

When can the test be carried out?

Click here for the IMO AIS webpage>


What information is contained on an AIS test report?

  • Ship information
    • Name of ship/call sign
    • MMSI number
    • Port of registry
    • IMO Number
    • Gross tonnage
    • Date keel laid
  • Installation details
    • AIS transponder type
    • Type approval certificate
    • Initial installation configuration report on board?
    • Drawings provided?
    • Main source of electrical power
    • Emergency source of electrical power
    • Capacity to be verified if the AIS is connected to a battery
    • Pilot plug near pilots operating position?
    • 120 V AC provided near pilot plug? (Panama and St. Lawrence requirement)
  • AIS programming-Static information
    • MMSI number
    • IMO number
    • Radio call sign
    • Name of ship
    • Type of ship
    • Ship length and beam
    • Location of GPS antenna
  • AIS programming-Dynamic information
    • Ships position with accuracy and integrity status (Source: GNSS)
    • Time in UTC
    • Course over ground
    • Speed over ground
    • Heading
    • Navigational status
    • Rate of turn, where available
    • Angle of heel, pitch and roll, where available
  • AIS programming- voyage related information
    • Ships draught
    • Type of cargo
    • Destination and ETA (at masters discretion)
    • Route plan (optional)
    • Short safety-related messages
  • Performance test using measuring instrument
    • Frequency measurements
    • Transmitting output
    • Polling information
    • Read data from AIS
    • Send data to AIS
    • Check AIS response to virtual vessels
  •  On air performance test
    • Check reception performance
    • Confirm reception of own signal from other ship/VTS
    • Polling by VTS/shore installation
  • Electromagnetic interference from AIS observed to other installations?

Ref: IMO MSC.1/Circ.1252 Guidelines on the annual testing of AIS

Note: On-air test of transmission and reception includes: – able to detect a vessel at or over 10 Nautical Mile range; – contacting a vessel, VTS or MRCC at or over 10 Nm and confirming own ship’s detection on their AIS.

Useful AIS links

COLREG Part F-some new Rules

Collision Regulations Rules 39, 40 and 41

Verification of Compliance


A quick pause before commencing the next topic on ship certification to have a look at a change in the Collision Regulations introduced in January 2016.  This change introduced a complete new section to the rules; section F.  Section F is concerned with flag state implementation of the Convention, and will have no direct impact on vessels at sea.



Rule 39 Definitions

(a) Audit means a systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled.

(b) Audit Scheme means the IMO Member State Audit Scheme established by the Organization and taking into account the guidelines developed by the Organization.

(c) Code for Implementation means the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code) adopted by the Organization by resolution A.1070(28). (d) Audit Standard means the Code for Implementation.

Rule 40 Application

Contracting Parties shall use the provisions of the Code for Implementation in the execution of their obligations and responsibilities contained in the present Convention.

Rule 41 Verification of compliance

(a) Every Contracting Party shall be subject to periodic audits by the Organization in accordance with the audit standard to verify compliance with and implementation of the present Convention.

(b) The Secretary-General of the Organization shall have responsibility for administering the Audit Scheme, based on the guidelines developed by the Organization.

(c) Every Contracting Party shall have responsibility for facilitating the conduct of the audit and implementation of a programme of actions to address the findings, based on the guidelines developed by the Organization.

(d) Audit of all Contracting Parties shall be:

(i) based on an overall schedule developed by the Secretary-General of the Organization, taking into account the guidelines developed by the Organization; and

(ii) conducted at periodic intervals, taking into account the guidelines developed by the Organization.


The Kindle Book Shelf of COLREG Books

For some Really Handy Revision Guides to the Collsion Regulations, click here>







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The International Oil Pollution Certificate- A handy guide


This is the first of the environmental related certificates to be covered in this series of posts on ship certification.

IOPP- Keeping oil out of the water

Why is it required?

It is required by MARPOL Annex 1- Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by oil, Regulation 6.

Click here for the IMO MARPOL page>australiangov

Click here for a copy of the text from the Australian goverment website>

The UK regulations are stated in SI 1996 No. 2154, The Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Oil Pollution) Regulations 1996.

Which ships require an IOPP?

Oil tankers of 150 GT and above and other ships of 400 GT and above

“Oil tanker means a ship constructed or adapted primarily to carry oil in bulk in its cargo spaces and includes combination carriers, any ”NLS tanker” as defined in Annex II of the present convention, and any gas carrier as defined in regulation 3.20 of chapter II-1 of SOLAS 74 (as Amended), when carrying a cargo or part cargo of oil in bulk” MARPOL Regulation 1

What surveys are required?

  • Initial survey
  • Renewal survey every 5 years
  • Intermediate survey not earlier than six months before and not later than six months after the half-way date of the period of validity of the Certificate
  • Annual survey within 3 months before or after each anniversary date of the Certificate

What must the certificate be supplemented by?

A  Record of Construction and Equipment

What is contained on the certificate?

Particulars of ship

  • Name of ship
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • Port of registry
  • Gross tonnage
  • Deadweight of the ship
  • IMO Number

Type of ship:

  • Oil tanker
  • Ship other than an oil tanker


What does the certificate signify?

That the ship has been surveyed in accordance with regulation 6 of Annex I of the Convention.

That the survey shows that the structure, equipment, systems, fittings, arrangement and material of the ship and the condition thereof are in all respects satisfactory and that the ship complies with the applicable requirements of Annex I of the Convention.

The next post will cover the two supplementry documents to the IOPP, documents that give an excellent indication on what areas of a ship will be inspected a during an IOPP survey.

Click here for the Kindle Really Handy Books range

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The Ship’s Certificate of Registry-A Handy Guide


This series of posts will now delve into some of the ship’s certification in a series of posts about the individual documents. The posts are not intended as definitive sources of information, but as handy revision guides for those studying for Master’s, Chief Mates and Officer if the watch examinations.

DSCF3260The Certificate of Registry-The ship’s passport

What is it?-

A certificate that proves a ship’s nationality, It is probably the most important document on a ship.

Why is it needed?

It will be required when obtaining clearance in a foreign port and when boarded by officials in a war zone or embargoed area. It also of use when selling a vessel, arranging finance, or obtaining protection from a warship.

Which ships need it?

Any ship on international voyages, apart from Government owned vessels and very small vessels.

In UK law, commercial vessels under 100 GT and pleasure vessels less than 24 metres are listed on different registers. They need to be registered if sailing on the ‘high seas’ or visiting foreign ports in order to remain under flag state law.

How long is it valid?

5 years, or on change of ownership

What information can be found on the certificate?wp-1456347039822.jpg

Identity details:

Name, Official number, Call sign, IMO number

Ship description:

Port, Type of ship, Method of propulsion, Engine make and model, Total engine power


Gross tonnage, Net tonnage, Registered tonnage


Length, Breadth, Depth

Build details:

Year of build, Name of builder, Country of build


Name and address of owners


Issue and expiry dates, Signature

Some Useful information

  • The certificate of registry does not prove ownership or show mortgages.
  • It cannot be subject to detention and must remain on the vessel unless required to obtain custom clearance.
  • Many countries require the certificate to be produced on entering or leaving a port.

Where are the references?


UNCLOS Article 91 Nationality of ships

” Every State shall fix the conditions for the grant of its nationality to ships, for the registration of ships in its territory, and for the right to fly its flag. Ships have the nationality of the State whose flag they are entitled to fly. There must exist a genuine link between the State and the ship.”

“Every State shall issue to ships to which it has granted the right to fly its flag documents to that effect.”

United Kingdom

Merchant Shipping Act 1995 (Chapter 21)

1993 No. 3138 The Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Regulations 1993

“Certificate of registry” means a certificate of registration which is issued to a ship which is registered under the Act and includes a certificate of bareboat charter unless the context otherwise requires”

Other useful Links

The UK RYAs advice on registration

UK Shipping Register 

Click here for the Kindle Really Handy Books range

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COSWOP 2015- The contents

The 2015 UK Code of Safe Working Practice for Merchant Seafarers is here (COSWOP); it is a new shiny edition, witimg_20160303_0950130_rewind.jpgh a new layout and new contents. This post contains gives an overview of its contents of the  Code as a handy guide to where to look for safety information.

This  new code of safe working practices is  published by the UK Maritime and coastguard agency   is in a completely new format from the 2010 edition.  The biggest change is the expansion of  the topic o safety culture to include leadership and ‘just culture’.


About this Code





















Chapter 24 HOT WORK

Chapter 25 PAINTING



Chapter 28 DRY CARGO




Chapter 32 SHIPS SERVING OFFSHORE RENEWABLES – to follow in 2016



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A new MGN 552 on RoRo cargoes- a really handy summary

The UK M Notice MGN 552 (M) has been issued by the MCA on the safe Stowage and Securing of Specialised Vehicles. It is a useful source of advise for any seafarer involved in loading Ro Ro Cargoes. This post contains a summary of that notice for those revising for examinations. If you are involved in Ro Ro operations then follow the link to read the full notice.


The purpose of the Marine Guidance Note is to draw to the attention of industry, the potential hazards when carrying Specialised Vehicles.

Click here for the the Mnotice


Ships should ensure that cargo is stowed and secured in accordance with the approved Cargo securing manual  before the ship leaves a berth.

During the voyage, lashings should be inspected at intervals appropriate to the length of voyage and weather conditions expected to ensure that vehicles remain safely secured.

Lashings should not be released for unloading before the ship is secured at the berth, without the Master’s express permission.

Cargo should be so distributed that the ship has a metacentric height in excess of the required minimum and, whenever practicable, within an acceptable upper limit to minimise the forces acting on the cargo keeping in mind that large metacentric height could cause the ship to roll violently in adverse sea conditions.

Sudden change of course and or speed may create adverse forces acting on the ship and the cargo. This is especially relevant for vessels fitted with high lift rudders, where moderate to high rudder angles may result in high forces being generated.

The crew should be familiar with the requirements contained within the approved CSM.

Ships’ officers and managers should carry out checks on lashings during audits and inspections to ensure that bad practices are not taking place, especially where operations are rapid and very repetitive.

The condition of lashing systems should be monitored closely.

There should be an effective maintenance programme for all the portable and fixed securing devices. Web lashings are to be marked and limited to a maximum working

To learn more about ‘The Really Handy’ range of study aids for OOW examinations- click here>

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