Pilot boarding- The SOLAS requirements

​This  exploration of SOLAS V will not attempt to follow any order. Bypassing all the earlier Regulations, I will jump straight into Regulation 23, pilot transfer arrangements.

Southampton Pilot Boat-Navsregs

Regulation 23 – Pilot Transfer Arrangements- A Handy Revision Guide

This post contains some of the key facts from SOLAS covering pilot boarding arrangements, and includes information on how and where a pilot ladder should be rigged.

Which ships must comply with the pilot boarding regulations?

Ships engaged on voyages in the course of which pilots may be employed.

Equipment and arrangements for pilot transfer which are provided on ships before 1 July 2012 shall at least comply with the requirements of regulations in SOLAS 1974, in force prior to that date.

What are the requirements of pilot transfer arrangements?


  • All arrangements used for pilot transfer shall efficiently fulfil their purpose of enabling pilots to embark and disembark safely
  • The appliances shall be kept clean, properly maintained and stowed , and shall be regularly inspected
  • The appliances shall be used solely for the embarkation and disembarkation of personnel.
  • An accommodation ladder shall be used in conjunction with the pilot ladder, or other equally safe and convenient means, whenever the distance from the surface of the water to the point of access to the ship is more than 9 m.

Note: Mechanical pilot hoists shall not be used.

The rigging of pilot transfer arrangements

  • The rigging of the pilot transfer arrangements, and the embarkation of a pilot shall be supervised by a responsible officer having means of communication with the bridge.
  • The responsible officer who shall also arrange for the escort of the pilot by a safe route to and from the  bridge.
  • Personnel engaged in rigging and operating any mechanical equipment shall be instructed in the safe procedures to be adopted, and the equipment shall be tested prior to use.


Certification, marking and record keeping

  •  A pilot ladder shall be certified by the manufacturer as complying with SOLAS, or with an international standard acceptable to the Organization
  • All pilot ladders shall be clearly identified with tags or other permanent marking so as to enable identification of each appliance
  • A record shall be kept on the ship as to the date an identified ladder is placed into service and any repairs conducted

Pilot boat bow

Where should the pilot transfer arrangements be located?

Arrangements should enable the pilot to embark and disembark safely on either side of the ship.

Pilot ladders

Maximum 9 metres- the distance to remember

  • A pilot ladder must require a  climb of not less than 1.5 m and not more than 9 m above the surface of the water
  • It must be  is clear of any possible discharges from the ship
  • It  is within the parallel body length of the ship and, as far as is practicable, within the mid-ship half length of the ship
  • Each step must rest firmly against the ship’s side. Where constructional features would prevent this, special arrangements shall, to the satisfaction of the Administration, be made to ensure that persons are able to embark and disembark safely
  • The single length of pilot ladder is capable of reaching the water and allowance is made for all conditions of loading and trim of the ship, and for an adverse list of 15°

When accommodation ladders are used in conjunction with pilot ladders

  •  The accommodation ladder shall be sited leading aft
  •  Means shall be provided to secure the lower platform of the accommodation ladder firmly to the ship’s side
  • The lower end of the accommodation ladder is to be within within the parallel body length of the ship and, as far as is practicable, within the mid-ship half length
  • The lower end of the accommodation ladder is to be  clear of all discharges
  • Means shall be provided to secure the pilot ladder and manropes to the ship’s side at a point of nominally 1.5 m above the bottom platform of the accommodation ladder
  • When there is a trapdoor in the bottom platform, the pilot ladder and man ropes shall be rigged through the trapdoor  extending above the platform to the height of the handrail

What are the requirements for access to the ship’s deck?

See MSC 1428 for poster

  • There must be safe, convenient and unobstructed passage between the head of the pilot ladder, or of any accommodation ladder or other appliance, and the ship’s deck.
  • When a gateway in the rails or bulwark is used, adequate handholds shall be provided
  • When a bulwark ladder is used, two handhold stanchions rigidly secured to the ship’s structure at or near their bases and at higher points shall be fitted
  • A bulwark ladder shall be securely attached to the ship to prevent overturning

Shipside doors

Shipside doors used for pilot transfer shall not open outwards.

Equipment required at the pilot boarding location

The following associated equipment shall be kept at hand ready for immediate use when persons are being transferred:

  • Two man-ropes of not less than 28 mm and not more than 32 mm in diameter. The man-ropes shall be fixed at the rope end to the ring plate fixed on deck and shall be ready for use when required by the pilot.
  • A lifebuoy equipped with a self-igniting light
  • A heaving line
  •  When required, stanchions and bulwark ladders
  • Adequate lighting to illuminate the transfer arrangements overside and the position on deck where a person embarks or disembarks.

Some sources of useful information

A Really Handy Book to Learn the Collision Regulations

Amongst Navsbooks study guides for Kindle readers is this handy guide to revise the COLREGS.

Click here to download a sample from Amazon> 

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The Safety of Navigation- what is in SOLAS Chapter V?

After many months of exploring ship Certification this blog will now return to some bridge watch keeping related topics. So for those studying for officer of the watch, Mates, and Masters this will be well worth following. For those studying for engineering tickets the keep an eye on the topics for I am sure I will wander off into non-navigation subjects along the way.

Why is SOLAS V  a ‘must read’ for bridge watchkeepers?

If you are a bridge watchkeeper and have the time to read any one part of SOLAS, then this chapter should be it. Within its many regulations are many directly relevant to the keeping of a safe navigational watch.

The chapter is even more useful when used as a starting point for further study; as a framework to hang other knowledge on.

This series of posts will do just that, use some of the more important regulations as a starting point of an exploration of The Safety of Navigation.

What ships does SOLAS V apply to?

The chapter applies to all ships on all voyages, except:

  • Warships, naval auxiliaries and other ships owned or operated by a Contracting Government and used only on government non-commercial service. However, such vessels are  encouraged to act in a manner consistent, so far as reasonable and practicable, with the chapter.
  • Vessels in the Great Lakes and connected waters when navigating west of Quebec.

Flag states can decide how much of the chapter applies to the following vesses:

  • Ships operating solely in waters landward of the baselines which are established in accordance with international law.
  • Ships below 150 gross tonnage engaged on any voyage
  • Ships below 500 gross tonnage not engaged on international voyages
  • Fishing vessels

Click here for the UK MCA guidance on Chapter V>

The contents of SOLAS Chapter V

The Regulations

The Really Handy Study Guides

Navsregs publishes a range of revision guides for Mariners..

These are all available in the Kindle Format, and cover the Collision Regulations, semananship and Certification.

Click here to learn more>

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What is in SOLAS Chapter XI?

This blog will now take a pause in its exploration of ship’scertificates.  But before it moves on to the next topic here is a very quick post on an eclectic chapter in SOLAS.

Special Measures to Enhance Maritime Safety

SOLAS Chapter XI is a mixture of assorted Regulations, some covering safety, and some security. Hidden within this Chapter are some important Regulations that may be expected to be contained in other parts of SOLAS.

Contents of the Chapter

  • Regulation 1 – Authorization of Recognized Organizations
  • Regulation 2 – Enhanced Surveys
  • Regulation 3 – Ship Identification Number
  • Regulation 3-1 – Company and Registered Owner Identification Number
  •  Regulation 4 – Port State Control on Operational Requirements 
  •  Regulation 5 – Continuous Synopsis Record
  •  Regulation 6 – Additional Requirements for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents 
  •  Regulation 7 – Atmosphere Testing Instrument for Enclosed Spaces

    What useful information can be found in these regulations?

    Regulation 2  contains the additional hull survey requirements for bulk carriers and oil tankers.This Regulation mandates the requirement to comply with the ESP code.

    Regulation 3 contains the requirements to display  the vessels IMO number.

    Regulation 5 contains the requirements to hold a CSR.

    Regulation 7 contains the requirement to hold portable atmosphere testing equipment.

    To find SOLAS and other conventions on Amazon, click here>

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    Oil Liability Certificates- A handy guide


    This journey through vessel certification is nearing its final posts; a series of assorted guides to certificates missed on the first pass through the certificates. This revision guide covers two documents related to the IOPP certificate.

    If things go wrong

    MARPOL Annex I has the objectives of preventing oil reaching the sea, but these two certificates are associated with conventions whose objectives are to fund the cleaning up of pollution in the unfortunate event of a spill.

    What are the two Oil Pollution Liability Conventions?

    Two similar conventions exist, each with their own certificate.

    • The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution DamageDSCF3260
    • The International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage

    The first convention applies to all types of ships, and the latter to seagoing vessels carrying oil in bulk as a cargo.

    Certificate of insurance or other financial security in respect of civil liability for bunker oil pollution damage

    This certificate is Issued in accordance with the provisions of article 7 of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001. It certifies that there is in a policy of insurance or other financial security satisfying the requirements of article 7 of the International Convention.

    What ships require the Certificate?

    It is required by ships greater than 1000 GT.

    What details are shown on the certificate?

    • Name of Ship
    • Distinctive Number or letters
    • IMO Ship Identification Number
    • Port of Registry
    • Name and full address of the principal place of business of the registered owner.
    • Type of Security
    • Duration of Security
    •  Name and address of the insurers and/or guarantors
    • Validity of certificate

    What is the definition of pollution Damage?

    A definition from the Convention
    “‘ Pollution damage’ means: (a) (b) 10 loss or damage caused outside the ship by contamination resulting from the escape or discharge of bunker oil from the ship, wherever such escape or discharge may occur, provided that compensation for impairment of the environment other than loss of profit from such impairment shall be limited to costs of reasonable measures of reinstatement actually undertaken or to be undertaken; and the costs of preventive measures and further loss or damage caused by preventive measures.”

    Certificate of insurance or other financial security in respect of civil liability for oil pollution damage

    This is issued in compliance with the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil DSCF3305Pollution Damage (CLC) 1992. The Civil Liability Convention was adopted to ensure that adequate compensation is available to persons 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.

    What vessels require the Certificate?

    The Convention applies to all seagoing vessels actually 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.

    The certificate states that there is in force a policy of insurance or other financial security satisfying the requirements of Article VII of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992.

    What information contained on certificate

    This is the same range of information as shown on the bunker liability certificate, except it refers to the damage caused by cargo spillage.

    A new Revision Guide

    A Really Handy Guide to Ship Certification

    Part 2- Managing the vesselCertmanCover

    The second in Kindle format revision guides on ship Certification has just been published. ‘Managing the Vessel‘ covers ISM, safe manning and the Maritime Labour Certificate.

    This Really Handy Guide mixes facts with questions, and a bit more, at a really handy price.


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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 High Speed Craft Code

    DSC00654To complete the exploration of the High Speed Craft Safety Certification, here is a quick post on the high speed craft code.

    Two High Speed Craft Codes

    High speed craft have to comply with one of two codes, with the date of build determining which one.

    • The International Code of safety for High speed Craft 1994
    • The International Code of safety for High speed Craft 2000

    The 2000 Code applies to high speed craft of which the keels were laid or which are at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 July 2002.

    What is the link between SOLAS and the High Speed Craft Code?

    Chapter X of SOLAS is dedicated to high speed craft. A small chapter of only three regulations, the last of which contains the following:

    “.1 a high-speed craft constructed on or after 1 January 1996 but before 1 July 2002 which complies with the requirements of the High-Speed Craft Code, 1994 in its entirety and which has been surveyed and certified as provided in that Code shall be deemed to have complied with the requirements of chapters I to IV and regulations V/18, 19 and 20. For the purpose of this regulation, the requirements of that Code shall be treated as mandatory;

    .2 a high-speed craft constructed on or after 1 July 2002 which complies with the requirements of the High-Speed Craft Code, 2000 in its entirety and which has been surveyed and certified as provided in that Code shall be deemed to have complied with the requirements of chapters I to IV and regulations V/18, 19 and 20.”

    In simple terms this states that an High speed craft that complies with the relevant code does not require to comply with the SOLAS chapters that apply to cargo and passanger ships.

    What is the concept of the code?

    The High-Speed Craft Code  recognizes that safety levels can behsccode
    significantly enhanced by the infrastructure associated with regular service on a particular route, whilst the conventional ship safety philosophy relies on the ship being self-sustaining with all necessary emergency equipment being carried on board. The Code is based on the management and reduction of risk as well as the traditional philosophy of passive protection in the event of an accident.

    What does the code cover?

    This summary of the chapter headings from the code will give an overview of its scope:

    • Buoyancy, stability and Subdivision
    • Structures
    • Accommodation and escape measures
    • Directional control systems
    • Anchoring, towing and berthing
    • Fire safety
    • Life saving appliances and arrangements
    • Machinery
    • Auxiliary systems
    • Remote control, alarm and safety systems
    • Electrical installations
    • Ship Navigational systems and equipment and voyage data recorders
    • Radio communications
    • Operating Compartment layout
    • Stabilization systems
    • Handling, controllability and performance
    • Operational requirements
    • Inspection and maintenance requirements

    For more information


    First in the series of Ship Certification revision guides

    A Really Handy Guide to Ship Certification, Part 1, is available for Kindle readers.

    Click here for the Amazon page>


    The High Speed Craft Safety Certificate


    This journey through ship certification is now exploring some of the more specialized certificates, that is that required by High speed Craft.

    Two High Speed craft Codes

    • The International Code of safety for High speed Craft 1994
    • The International Code of safety for High speed Craft 2000

    The 2000 Code applies to high speed craft of which the keels were laid or which are at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 July 2002.

    The High Speed Craft Safety Certificate

    Why is the HSC safety certificate required?

    It is required by the International Code of safety for High-speed craft 2000 ( the HSC CertHSCUKcode)

    What does it certify?        

    That the craft has been surveyed in accordance with the HSC code and in all respects the craft complies with the relevant provisions of the Code.

    That the life‐saving appliances are provided for a stated number of persons

    What is a high speed craft?

    High-speed craft is a craft capable of a maximum speed, in metres per second (m/s), equal to or exceeding a value obtained from the formula

    Cert HSC formula

    Where Delta is the volume of displacement corresponding to the design waterline (m3),excluding craft the hull of which is supported completely clear above the water surface in non-displacement mode by aerodynamic forces generated by ground effect.

    What vessels must comply with the High Speed craft code?

    High speed craft that:

    • Are engaged in international voyages
    • Had keels of laid or which are at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 July 2002.

    And is either:

    • A passenger craft which does not proceed in the course of their voyage more than four hours at 90% of maximum speed from a place of refuge.or
    • A cargo craft of 500 gross tonnage and upwards which do not proceed in the course of their voyage more than 8 hours at 90% of maximum speed from a place of refuge when fully laden.

    The code does not apply to:

    • Craft of war and troopcraft
    • Craft not propelled by mechanical means
    • Wooden craft of primitive build
    • Pleasure craft not engaged in trade
    • Fishing craft

    What information is shown on the Certificate?

    Particulars of craft

    • Name of craft
    • Manufacturer’ s model and hull number
    • Distinctive number or letters
    • IMO number
    • Port of registry
    • Gross tonnage
    • Sea areas in which the craft is certified to operate
    • Design waterline details, and corresponding draughts
    • Position of reference line
    • Category:
      • category A passenger craft
      • category B passenger craft
      • Cargo craft
    • Craft type:
      • air‐cushion vehicle
      • surface‐effect ship
      • hydrofoil
      • monohull
      • multihull
      • other
    • Date on which keel was laid or craft was at a similar stage of construction or on which a major conversion was conducted

    The Certificate shall be supplemented by a Record of Equipment.

    What Surveys are required to maintain the certificate?

    The Harmonised System of Survey and Certification does not apply, the surveys required by the certificate are:

    • An Initial Survey before the craft is put in service or before the Certificate is issued for the first time
    • A Periodical Survey (which includes an inspection of the ship’s bottom), annually within 3 months, before or after, the anniversary date of the certificate
    • A Renewal Survey (which includes an inspection of the ship’s bottom) at intervals specified by the flag state, but must not exceeding 5 years
    • An Additional Survey as required

    Permit to operate High speed craft

    Another document required to be held by High Speed Craft is the Permit to operate. Th permit is more specific than the High Speed Craft safety Certificate; covering a specific craft trading on specific routes.

    When must a Permit to operate High Speed Craft be held?

    The permit must be held for shall not operate commercially unless a Permit to Operate CertHSCPermitHigh‐Speed Craft is issued and valid in addition to the High‐Speed Craft Safety Certificate. Transit voyage without passengers or cargo may be undertaken without the Permit to Operate High‐Speed Craft.

    When is a Permit to operate High Speed Craft required?

    The permit is required by high speed craft operating on a commercially with passengers or cargo onboard.

    The Permit to Operate High‐Speed Craft shall be issued by the flag state to certify compliance with the code and state the conditions of the operation of the craft.

    When may a voyage be conducted without a Permit to Operate?

    On transit voyages provided the craft is not operating commercially with passengers or cargo onboard. These transit voyages include delivery voyages and repositioning voyages.  These voyages may be undertaken provided that:

    • The craft has a valid High‐Speed Craft Safety Certificate or similar before the start of such a voyage
    • The operator has developed a safety plan for the voyage including any temporary accommodation to ensure that the craft is capable of safely completing the transit voyage
    • The master of the craft is provided with the materials and information necessary to operate the craft safely during the transit voyage
    • The Administration is satisfied that arrangements have been made for the safe conduct of the voyage

    What consultation will the flag state conduct before issuing the Permit to operate?

    The Administration shall consult with each port State to obtain details of any operational conditions associated with operation of the craft in that State. Any such conditions  shall be shown on the Permit to Operate and be included in the route operational manual.

    What must a flag state be assured of before issuing a Permit to operate?

    • The suitability of the craft for the service intended
    • The suitability of the operating conditions in the route operational manual
    • The arrangements for obtaining weather information
    • Provision in the area of operation of a base port
    • The designation of the person responsible for decisions to cancel or delay a
      particular voyage
    • Sufficient crew complement
    • Crew qualifications and training
    • Restrictions with regard to working hours, rostering of crews and any other
      arrangements to prevent fatigue
    • he training of crew in craft operation and emergency procedures
    • The maintenance of crew competence in regard to operation and emergency
    • Safety arrangements at terminals
    • Traffic control arrangements
    • Restrictions and/or provisions relating to position fixing and to operation by night or in restricted visibility
    • Additional equipment which may be required, due to the specific characteristics of
      the service intended
    • Communication arrangements
    • The keeping of records
    • Arrangements to ensure that equipment is maintained
    • The existence and use of adequate instructions regarding:
      Loading of the craft
      Provision of adequate fuel reserves
      Action in the event of reasonable foreseeable emergencies
      Provision of contingency plans

    What information is contained on the permit to operate?

    • Name of craft
    • Manufacturer’ s model and hull number
    • Distinctive number or letters
    • IMO number
    • Port of registry
    • Category
      • Category A passenger craft
      • category B passenger craft
      • Cargo craft
    • Name of operator
    • Areas or routes of operation
    • Base port
    •  Maximum distance from place  of  refuge
    • Number of:
      • Passengers maximum permitted
      • Manning scale required
    • Worst intended conditions
    • Other operational restrictions

    What is a Category A and Category B craft?

    Category A craft is any high‐speed passenger craft:

    Operating on a route where it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the flag and port States that there is a high probability that in the event of an evacuation at any point of the route, all passengers and crew can be rescued safely within the

    least of:

    • the time to prevent persons in survival craft from exposure causing hypothermia in the worst intended conditions,
    • the time appropriate with respect to environmental conditions and geographical features of the route, or
    • 4 hours


    • Carrying not more than 450 passengers.

    Category B craft is any high‐speed passenger craft other than a category A craft, with machinery and safety systems arranged such that, in the event of any essential machinery and safety systems in any one compartment being disabled, the craft retains the capability to navigate safely.

    Further information on HSC Certification



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    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

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