Because of the serious threat posed to people working in enclosed spaces on board ships, the IMO has introduced new requirements to SOLAS Chapter III, regulation 19, which enter into force on 1 January, 2015. From this date, crew members will be required to participate in an enclosed space entry and rescue drill on board the ship at least once every two months.
The IMO is also finalising mandatory requirements for portable atmosphere testing instruments to be carried on board ships. These are expected to be adopted in November 2014 for entry into force on 1 July, 2016, as SOLAS regulation XI-1/7. These portable testing instruments will not be used as part of personal protective safety equipment but as part of the ship’s equipment. They will be used to test enclosed spaces from the outside to make sure they are safe to enter and will cover, as a minimum, the following gases: oxygen, flammable gasses or vapours, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide.
The IMO will be issuing an associated circular providing guidance on selecting portable atmosphere testing instruments, which we will detail in a future Class News.
• Early implementation of regulation XI-1/7
Because the regulation XI-1/7 requirements for portable testing instruments will enter into force much later than the regulation 19 rescue drill requirements, the IMO has drafted a circular to encourage their early implementation. The circular is expected to be issued in December 2014.
• Related IMO resolutions and circulars
The changes to SOLAS Chapter III, regulation 19 are detailed in IMO Resolution MSC.350(92)
Recommendations for entering enclosed spaces are contained in IMO Resolution A.1050(27).
• High speed craft, mobile offshore drilling units and dynamically supported craft
The enclosed space entry and rescue drill requirements also apply to high speed craft, mobile offshore drilling units and dynamically supported craft from 1 January, 2015. Amendments have been made to the following Codes accordingly:
- the 1979 Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Code (Resolution MSC.357(92))
- the 1989 Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Code (Resolution MSC.358(92)
- the 2000 Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Code (Resolution MSC.359(92))
- the Dynamically Supported Craft Code (Resolution MSC.360(92))
- the High Speed Craft Code 1994 (Resolution MSC.351(92)), and
- the High Speed Craft Code 2000 (Resolution MSC.352(92)).