Tag Archives: Deck cadet

SOLAS V and Steering Gear

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V>Steering Gear

Stern of Isle of Wight Ferry Leaving Portsmouth

Another Regulation of SOLAS V-Safety of Navigation-explored

And so the wader through SOLAS V continues with its equipment related theme. This time its the steering gear, and in particular. the tests an Officer of the Watch must conduct.

Regulation 26-Steering gear- Testing and Drills

This Regulation within SOLAS V contains the requirements for the pre-sailing tests of steering gear tests.

Click here for the UK MCA guidance on Regulation 26>

When should the pre-departure testing of steering gear be conducted?

It should be tested within 12 hours before departure

What equipment should include within the steering gear testing procedure?

  • The main steering gear
  • The auxiliary steering gear
  • The remote steering gear control systems
  • The steering positions located on the navigation bridge
  • The emergency power supply
  • The rudder angle indicators in relation to the actual position of the rudder
  • The remote steering gear control system power failure alarms
  • The steering gear power unit failure alarms
  • The automatic isolating arrangements and other automatic equipment

What tests and checks should be included in the steering gear testing procedures?

  • The full movement of the rudder according to the required capabilities of the steering gear
  • A visual inspection for the steering gear and its connecting linkage
  • The operation of the means of communication between the navigation bridge and steering gear compartment


The flag state may waive the requirements to carry out the checks and tests for ships which regularly engage on short voyages. Such ships shall carry out these checks and tests at least once every week.

How often should the emergency steering gear be tested?

Emergency steering drills shall take place at least once every three months.

These drills shall include

  • Direct control within the steering gear compartment
  • The communications procedure with the navigation bridge
  • Where applicable, the operation of alternative power supplies

The date upon which the checks and tests are carried out and the date and details of emergency steering drills carried shall be recorded.

What should be displayed regarding the steering gear change over procedures?

A simple operating instructions with a block diagram showing the change-over procedures for remote steering gear control systems. This shall be permanently displayed on the navigation bridge and in the steering compartment.

Note: All ships’ officers concerned with the operation and/or maintenance of steering gear shall be familiar with the operation of the steering systems fitted on the ship and with the procedures for changing from one system to another.

Car ferry manouvering

In addition to the testing requirements, SOLAS V contains a short regulation requiring the use of more than one steering gear.

SOLAS V Regulation 25-Operation of Steering Gear

When should more than one steering gear be used?

In areas where navigation demands special caution,  when steering gear units are capable of simultaneous operation.

Click here for MCA guidance on Regulation 25>

A diversion beyond SOLAS V into the Construction section of the convention gives the performance standards required when testing the steering gear.

SOLAS II-1 Regulation 29-Steering Gear

How quick should a rudder turn?

At maximum ahead service speed the rudder must be capable of putting the rudder over:

From 35° on one side to 35° on the other side


From 35° on either side to 30° on the other side in not more than 28 seconds.

The auxiliary steering gear shall be of adequate strength and capable of steering the ship at navigable speed and be capable of putting the rudder over from 15° on one side to 15° on the other side in not more than 60 seconds at one half of the maximum ahead service speed or 7 knots, whichever is the greater.

Other online sources of information

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Cover of the Really handy Guide to Ship Certification, part 3. A Really Handy Guide to Ship Certification

Part 3

Keeping Vessels safe

The third in the series of revision guides on Ship certification is now available for the Kindle Platform.  SOLAS safety certification and Security are the themes this time, with a bit of HSSC thrown in for good measures.

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What are the requirements for VDRs?


Radars , radios and lights on ship's gantry mast

Voyage Data Recorders- the Maritime’Black box’

A quick guide to  The SOLAS requirements

The blog now returns to the series of posts on SOLAS V with a topic that follows on nicely from the last post on MAIB accident reporting requirements.

SOLAS V-Regulation 20 – Voyage Data Recorders

Click here for the UK MCA guidance of Regulation 20>

Why are VDRs required?

To assist in casualty investigations.

VDR Capsule as shown on IMO website, click to visit the site

Click For IMO page on VDRs

Click here for the IMO page on VDRs>

Which ships require to be fitted with an SDR?

Ships, when engaged on international voyages:

  • All passenger ships
  • Ships, other than passenger ships, of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards constructed on or after 1 July 2002

Which ships must be fitted with a VDR or a simplified voyage data recorder (S-VDR)?

  • Cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards

Non-passenger ships on or above 3000 GT built after July 2002, and all passanger ships must have a VDR. Non-passenger ships built before July 2002 must have either a VDR or SVDR.  SDRs are Simplified data recorders that have less inputs then a full VDR.

What is a VDR?

Full information can be found at:

What is a VDRs Purpose

To maintain a store, in a secure and retrievable form, information concerning the position, movement, physical status, command and control of a ship over the period leading up to and following an incident.

This information is for use during any subsequent safety investigation to identify the causes of the incident.


Who should the VDR information be made available to?

Information contained in a VDR should be made available to both the Administration and the shipowner.

What is included within the term ‘VDR’?

The complete system, including:

  • Any items required to interface with the sources of input signals and their processing and encoding
  • The final recording medium
  • The playback equipment
  • The power supply and dedicated reserve power source


What must a VDR do?

  • Continuously maintain sequential records of pr-selected data items relating to the status and output of the ship’s equipment, and command and control of the ship
  • Allow analysis of factors surrounding an incident
  • Include functions to perform a performance test at any time

The final recording medium should consist of the following items:

  • Fixed recording medium-Capable of being accessed after an accident- maintain data for 2 years after termination
  • Float-free recording medium;-6 months after termination,this is to  transmit a homing signal
  • Long-term recording medium- Accessible internaly

What Data items are to be recorded?Main mast

  • Date and time– From an external source
  • Ship’s position-From electronic position fixing system
  • Speed– over water and over ground
  • Heading– As ship’s heading source
  • Bridge audio-Covering all bridge workstations. At least 2 channels
  • Communications audio– On separate channel
  • Radar-Main displays of both radar installations
  • ECDIS-Record the display of ECDIS in use as primary means of navigation
  • Echo sounder– Depth information
  • Main alarms– Status of mandatory alarms
  • Rudder order and response– Includes settings of heading or track controller
  • Engine and thruster order and response-positions of any engine telegraphs or direct engine/propeller/Thruster controls, feedback indications and the control station in use
  • Hull openings status– To include all mandatory status information required to be carried on the bridge
  • Watertight and fire door status— To include all mandatory status information required to be carried on the bridge
  • Accelerations and hull stresses- When a ship is fitted with hull stress and response monitoring equipment
  • Wind speed and direction– Where a ship is fitted with a suitable sensor, wind speed and direction
  • AIS- All AIS data should be recorded
  • Rolling motion– If electronic inclinometer

What is a S-DVR?

A simplified voyage data recorder that fulfils the same requirements of an VDR, but with less inputs. They can be carried by cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards instead of a VDR built after July 2002.

For full information see


What data items need to be recorded by a S-VDR?

  • Date and time– From an external source
  • Ship’s position-From electronic position fixing system
  • Speed– over water and over ground
  • Heading– As ship’s heading source
  • Bridge audio-Covering all bridge workstations. At least 2 channels
  • Communications audio– On separate channel
  • Radar data,- Main displays of of radar installations
  • AIS Data-If it is impossible to obtain radar data3 then AIS target data should be recorded as a source of information regarding other ships. If radar data is recorded,, AIS information may be recorded additionally as a  secondary source of information
  • Other items– Any additional data items required for a VDR should be recorded when the data is available.

Surveys and inspections

For more information see:

What test is the VDR and SDV-R subject to?

The voyage data recorder system, including all sensors, shall be subjected to an annual performance test.  The test shall be conducted by an approved testing or servicing facility

What is the objective of the annual VDR test?

  • To verify the accuracy, duration and recoverability of the recorded data
  • To determine the serviceability of all protective enclosures and devices fitted to aid location

A copy of the certificate of compliance issued by the testing facility, stating the date of compliance and the applicable performance standards, shall be retained on board the ship.

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Marine Incident Reporting- what does MGN 564 say?

A Handy Summary to MGN 564 on Marine Casualty and Marine Incident Reporting.

A shipwreck near Port Stanley

A Quick break from SOLAS V posts to look at a new important M Notice from the UK MAIB.Click to view the MGN on the UK GOV website

The UK MAIB has recently issued a new M Notice MGN 564(M + F) on  Marine Casualty and Marine Incident Reporting. This explains what accidents and near misses needs to be reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

Recommend sources of information

The M Notice

What ships are required to report incidents?

  • A UK ship
  • A ship is within UK waters and carrying passengers to/from the UK
  • The marine casualty or marine incident occurs within the jurisdiction of a UK harbour master

Which other organisations are required to report incidents?

  • Harbour authorities, for occurrences in or adjacent to their harbour area
  • The person, authority or body having responsibility for an inland waterway

Which vessels do not have to report?

  • Recreational craft hired on a bareboat basis
  • Commercial craft or boats <8m length overall that are operating in a harbour or on an inland waterway, which are not carrying passengers
  • Unless the marine casualty involves an explosion, fire, or capsize of a power driven vessel, or results in death, serious injury or severe pollution

A pleasure vessel (though notifications are welcomed).Click to view MAIB accident reports

The definition of a pleasure vessel is covered later in this post.

What has to be reported?

  • Marine casualties
  • Marine incidents

What is a marine casualty?

  • An event or sequence of events that occurred directly in connection with the operation of a ship, and resulted in:
  • Death
  • A serious injury to, a person that renders the person unable to perform their usual duties for greater 72 hours, or requires their admittance to a hospital / medical facility for greater than 24 hours
  • The loss of a person from a ship
  • The loss, presumed loss or abandonment of a ship.
  • Material damage to a ship. This means the structural integrity, performance or operational characteristics of the ship or infrastructure are significantly affected, and requires major repair or replacement of a major component or components
  • The ship being unfit to proceed, or requires flag state approval or a condition of class before it may proceed
  • At sea, a breakdown of the ship, requiring towage.
  • The stranding or disabling of a ship, or the involvement of a ship in a collision
  • Material damage to marine infrastructure external of a ship that could seriously endanger the safety of the ship, another ship or any individual
  • Pollution, caused by damage to a ship or ships

What is a marine incident?

A marine incident means an event, or sequence of events, which occurred directly in connection with the operation of a ship, that do not meet the criteria to be classified as a marine casualty but that endangered or, if not corrected would endanger, the safety of the ship, its occupants or any other person or the environment.

Examples of marine incidents include:

  • Close-quarters situations where urgent action was required to avoid collision.
  • Any event that had the potential to result in a serious injury.
  • A fire that did not result in material damage.
  • An unintended temporary grounding on soft mud, where there was no risk of stranding or material damage.
  • A person overboard who was recovered without serious injury.
  • Snagging of fishing gear resulting in a dangerous heel

What is not to be reported?

There is no requirement to report:

  • Defects to equipment and vessel detentions, unless they are related to a marine casualty or marine incident
  • Injuries to passengers that did not result from activities connected with the operation of the vessel. For example: a passenger suffering a fall on board a ship, where the ship’s movement, design, or acts or omissions by crew were not contributing factors
  • Damage or injuries occurring ashore, including the quayside, which do not involve the ship’s equipment
  • A deliberate act or omission that is intended to cause harm to the safety of a ship, an individual (e.g. assault, suicide or homicide) or the environment

When is the report to be made?

All marine casualties and marine incidents must be notified to the MAIB as soon as practicable by the quickest means available. Notification must not be delayed until the completion of an internal company investigation.

How is the report to be made?

  • By telephone to  MAIB’s 24 hour accident reporting line.
  • By submitting an Accident Report Form (ARF)

Rocky coastline in Cornwall

Pleasure vessels

What is a pleasure vessel?

A vessel which is:

Wholly owned by an individual or individuals and used only for the sport or Small craft at Portsmouth Hard, HMS Warrior in the backgroundpleasure of the owner or the immediate family or friends of the owner


Owned by a body corporate and used only for the sport or pleasure of employees or officers of the body corporate, or their immediate family or friends


Is on a voyage which the owner is not paid for.

The Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2005 contains more details and explanation of a pleasure vessel.

Incident reporting and SOLAS

Click here for the IMO page on casualty investigation>

What SOLAS regulation requires accident investigation?NAVSREGSOLASCover

SOLAS 1 Regulation 21 requires each Administration to conduct an investigation of any casualty occurring to any of its ships when it judges that such an investigation may assist in determining what changes in the present regulations might be desirable.

What is the Casualty investigation code?

This is a code that Administrations must follow when investing marine incidents. It is introduced by SOLAS Chapter XI-1, Regulation 6 -Additional Requirements for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents.

Click here for a copy of the code>

Some Handy Amazon Book searches

Accidents at sea>
Maritime accidents>

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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.

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​The Continuous Synopsis Record-A handy guide

Navsregs>Ship Certification>CSR

A permanent record of a ship’s life

What is it?

The Continuous Synopsis Record is intended to provide an on-board record of the history of the ship

Which ships need to carry one?

Ships engaged on international voyages. The CSR shall be kept on board the ship and shall be available for inspection at all times.

Why is it needed?

It is required by SOLAS Chapter XI-1 – Special Measures to Enhance Maritime Safety, Regulation 5 – Continuous Synopsis Record

What does it contain?

Ship identification

Registration details

  • The name of the State whose flag the ship is entitled to fly
  • The date on which the ship was registered with that State
  • The port at which the ship is registered
  • The date on which the ship ceased to be registered with that State.

Ownership information:

  • The name of the registered owner(s) and their registered address(es)
  • The registered owner identification number;
  • The name of the registered bareboat charterer(s) and their registered address(es), if applicable
  • The name of the Company, as defined in regulation IX/1, its registered address and the address(es) from where it carries out the safety-management activities
  • The Company identification number


  • The name of all classification society(ies) with which the ship is classed
  • The name of the Administration or of the Contracting Government or of the recognized organization which has issued the Document of Compliance (or the Interim Document of Compliance)
  • The name of the Administration or of the Contracting Government or of the recognized organization that has issued the Safety Management Certificate (or the Interim Safety Management Certificate)
  • The name of the Administration or of the Contracting Government or of the recognized security organization that has issued the International Ship Security Certificate (or the Interim International Ship Security Certificate).

What form does it take?

It has three parts

  • Form 1 The CSR
  • Form 2 Amendment form
  • Form 3 Index of amendments

How is it amended

On each change a form CSR 2 is completed showing the new details. The original is kept with the CSR 1 on the ship and a copy sent to the flag state administration.

The Flag state issue a revised CSR 1 to the ship, which is given a sequential number, the initial one issued on build being 1

All the CSR1s have to be retained on board.

The CSR3 is a is updated with a summary of the amendments.

The Administration needs to keep a copy (which may be an electroniccopy) of each CSR document issued to the ship.



The CSR is required by SOLAS Chapter XI-1 – S

It contains a history of the ship’s life from build to scrapping

It is made up of three forms.

  • Form 1 The CSR
  • Form 2 Amendment form
  • Form 3 Index of amendments

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The Ship’s Certificate of Registry-A Handy Guide

Navsregs>Ship Certification>Certificate of Registry

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 

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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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Hoegh Osaka – A handy revision summary for mariners based the MAIB safety flyer

For those about to hOEGHsit deck officer  examinations, or for those serving on Ro-Ros the topic of Ro-Ro stability is definitely one to have a good knowledge of. The UK MAIB have published a safety flyer  on the Hoegh Osaka grounding that is well worth a read.


Click here for the flyer from the MAIB.

A really hand revision list of the Safety Lessons from the report

 Assessing a ship has adequate stability for its intended voyage on completion of cargo operations and before it sails must not be neglected.

Sufficient time must be made before departure for an accurate stability calculation to be completed.

 A loading computer’s output can only be as accurate as the information entered into it.

 The master has ultimate responsibility for the safety of his/her ship.  This responsibility cannot be delegated to shore-based managers or charterers’ representatives.


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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

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Top 10 MGNs Cargo work

UK M notices with a cargo work theme.

UK Marine Notices  (MGNs and MSNs) are excellent sources of information for anyone studying for Officer of Watch, Chief Mate and Master’s examinations, even for those not sailing under the British flag. Here are the top ten of the Notices with a cargo work theme.


1. MGN 107 (M) – The Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999.

The new Regulations introduce additional requirements with respect to the loading and unloading of bulk cargoes.

2. MGN 146 (M) – The Carriage of Packaged Cargo and Cargo Units. Requirement for cargo securing manual.

3. MGN 198 (M) – Safety at Solid Bulk Cargo Terminals

4.   MGN 418 Roll-on/roll-off ships stowage and securing of vehicles.

5. MGN 60 (M) – Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes (BC Code): 1996 Amendment – Carriage of Coal Cargoes.

6. MGN 157 (M) -Safety of Personnel During Container Securing Operations and while Working at Corrugated Bulkheads in General Cargo Ships.

7. MGN 282 (M) – Dangerous Goods: Guidance in the Carriage of Packaged Dangerous Goods on Offshore Supply Vessels.

8. MGN 531 (M) – Cargo Stowage and Securing: Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code) – Guidance on Application of Section 6 of Annex 14 for Existing Containerships.

9. MSN 1231 (M) – Safe Cargo-Handling Operations on Offshore Supply Vessels.

10    MSN 1167 (M+F) – Carriage of Containers and Flats in Ships not Designed or Modified for the Purpose.

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