Tag Archives: GMDSS

SOLAS where to look


  A quick handy guide to the SOLAS Chapters


As a quick pause in the certificates handy guides here is a quick handy guide to the SOLAS chapters. SOLAS is the top level legislation for the majority of the Maritime safety  related subjects so knowing what it contains in ‘big handfuls’ is useful knowledge.

What is the full name for SOLAS?

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974solas

 Its aim is to promote safety of life at sea.

When was it implemented?

Adoption: 1 November 1974; entry into force: 25 May 1980

Click here for the IMO SOLAS page>


“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 2016

 Click here for a poster showing the link between the Titanic and SOLAS on the IMO website>


The SOLAS chapters with a summary of some of their contents

Chapter I – General Provisions

  • Surveys
  • Certification
  • Port state controlLoadlines

Chapter II-1 – Construction: Structure, Subdivisions and Stability, Machinery and Electrical Installations

  • Subdivision
  • Pumping arrangements
  • Stability requirements
  • Essential systems

Chapter II-2 – Construction: Fire Protection, Fire Detection and Fire img_20160915_072700_hdr.jpgExtinction

  • Fire zones
  • Fire boundaries
  • Fire detection
  • Means of escape
  • Access for fire-fighting
  • Fire extinguishing appliences

Chapter III – Life-Saving Appliances

  • Lifeboatswp-1473672238644.jpg
  • Rescue boats
  • Lifejackets

Chapter IV – Radiocommunications

  • EPIRBSimg_20160915_071815_kindlephoto-118812233.jpg

Chapter V – Safety of Navigation

  • Metrological services
  • Ice patrol services
  • Routeing Search and rescue
  • Distress
  • VDRs
  • AIS

Chapter VI – Carriage of Cargoes and Oil Fuels

  • Stowage and securing of cargoimg_20160302_070228_pan.jpg

Chapter VII – Dangerous Goods

  • Part A Dangerous goods in package form
  • Part B Dangerous chemicals in bulk
  • Part C    Liquefied gases in bulk

Part D Radioactive substances

Chapter VIII – Nuclear Ships

Chapter IX – ISM

  • ISM code

Chapter X – High-Speed Craft

  • HSC code

Chapter XI-1 – Special Measures to Enhance Maritime Safety

  • Authorisation of organisations
  • Enhanced surveys
  • Ship identification numbers
  • Port state control

Chapter XI-2 – Special Measures to Enhance Maritime Security

  • ISPS codeWharfs
  • Ship alert system
  • Port facilities
  • Control of ships in port

Chapter XII – Additional Safety Measures for Bulk Carriers

  • Structural requirements for bulk carriers

Chapter XIII – Verification of Compliance

  • IMO member state audit schemewpid-wp-1440485717071.jpeg

Chapter XIV-Safety measures for ships operating in polar waters

      • The Polar Code

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SOLAS Form R-A handy guide to its contents

Navsregs>Ship Certification>Form R

Listing the radio equipment

Attached to each Safety Radio Certificate for cargo ships should be a Form R, a form that lists the radio communications equipment held on board. This post is a quick guide to the contents of that form, contents that give an indication of the range of equipment covered by a cargo ship’s radio safety survey. 

Particulars of ship  

  • Name
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • Minimum number of persons with required qualifications to operate the radio installations

Details of radio facilities

Primary systems 

  •  VHF radio installation
  • DSC encoder
  •  DSC watch receiver
  •   Radiotelephony
  • MF radio installation
  • DSC encoder
  • DSC watch receiver
  • Radiotelephony
  • MF/HF radio installation
  •  DSC encoder
  •  DSC watch receiver
  •  Radiotelephony
  •  Direct-printing telegraphy
  • Inmarsat ship earth station

Facilities for reception of maritime safety information 

  • EGC receiver
  • NAVTEX receiver
  • HF direct-printing radiotelegraph receiver

Secondary means of alerting

  • Satellite EPIRB
  •  Ship’s search and rescue locating device
  •  Radar search and rescue transponder (SART)
  • AIS search and rescue transmitter (AIS-SART)

Methods used to  ensure  availability of  radio  facilities  (regulations  IV/15.6 and  15.7) 

  • Duplication  of  equipment
  • Shore-based  maintenance
  • At-sea maintenance capability

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Safety Radio Certificate for Cargo Ships- a handy guide

Navsregs>Ship Certification>Cargo Ship Radio Certificate

Raising the alarm

The last of the trio of SOLAS cargo ship safety certificates is the subject of this post,  the Safety Radio Certificate.

Why is it required?

It is required by SOLAS Chapter 1  regulation 9 – Surveys of Radio Installations of Cargo Ships.

The details of requirements for equipment is contained in SOLAS Chapter IV – Radiocommunications.

Which ships require it?

Cargo ships of 300 gross and above.

What information does it contain?

  • Name of ship
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • Port of registry
  • Gross tonnage
  • Sea areas in which ship is certified to operate (regulation IV/2)
  • IMO Number
  • Date on which keel was laid or ship was at a similar stage of construction or, where applicable, date on which work for a conversion or an alteration or modification of a major character was commenced
  • Completion date of the survey on which this certificate is based

What does it certify?

  • That the ship has been surveyed in accordance with the requirements of regulation I/9 of the Convention.
  • That the survey showed that:
    • The ship complied with the requirements of the Convention as regards radio installations
    • The functioning of the radio installations used in life-saving appliances complied with the requirements of the Convention.
  • That an Exemption Certificate has/has not been issued.

What form should be attached?

A Record of Equipment for the Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate (Form R)

What Surveys are required?

  • An initial survey before the ship is put in service;
  • A renewal survey at intervals specified by the Administration but not exceeding five years
  • A periodical survey within three months before or after each anniversary date of the Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate

Some useful links

UK MGN 392 Radio survey service authorisation

ITU itu

IMO SOLAS webpage  IMO

INMARSAT  GMDSS web pageinmarsat

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