Amendments to the ISM Code enter into force on January 2015

The IMO Maritime Safety Committee in its 92nd session (12 – 23 June 2013) adopted amendments to the ISM Code through IMO Resolution MSC.353(92) which shall enter into force on 1st January 2015.

Amendments to the ISM Code enter into force on 1st January 2015 as follows;


Paragraph 6.2 has been amended requiring the Company to ensure that each ship is:

1. Manned with qualified, certificated and medically fit seafarers in accordance with national and international requirements and

2. Appropriately manned ships in order to encompass all aspects of maintaining safe operations onboard.


A new Paragraph 12.2 has also been adopted requiring the Company to: periodically verify whether all those undertaking delegated ISM-related tasks are acting in conformity with the Company’s responsibilities under the Code.

The amended ISM-Code includes various new footnotes with guidelines and recommendations developed by the IMO. Although the footnotes given in the ISM-Code are inserted for reference and guidance purposes and do not constitute requirements under the Code, in accordance with paragraph, all relevant guidelines, recommendations, etc. should be taken into account.

The following guidelines have been added as footnotes to the amended ISM-Code:

1. Procedures concerning observed ISM Code major non-conformities

2. List of codes, recommendations, guidelines and other safety and security related mandatory instruments

3. Revised Guidelines for the operational implementation of  the International Safety Management (ISM) Code by companies

4. Guidance on the qualifications, training and experience necessary for undertaking the role of the Designated Person under the provisions of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code

5. Guidelines for a structure of an integrated system of contingency planning for shipboard emergencies

6. Guidance on near-miss reporting

7. Revised list of certificates and documents required to be carried on board ships

Ship managers are advised to ensure that all the above mentioned guidelines have been incorporated in the Safety Management System (SMS). Where necessary, amendments to existing procedures must be carried out.



Latest SOLAS Amendments (2014-15)

The Amendments to SOLAS are as follows:

1 July 2014: Entry into force of November 2012 SOLAS amendments 

 1) New SOLAS regulation II-1/3-12 to require new ships to be constructed to reduce on-board noise and to protect personnel from noise, in accordance with the revised Code on noise levels on board ships, also adopted, which sets out mandatory maximum noise level limits for machinery spaces, control rooms, workshops, accommodation and other spaces on board ships.

 2) Amendments to SOLAS regulation III/17-1 to require ships to have plans and procedures to recover persons from the water, as well as related Guidelines for development of plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water. Also, a related MSC resolution on Implementation of SOLAS regulation III/17-1 to ships to which SOLAS chapter III does not apply; 

 3) Amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/10 on fire fighting to require a minimum of duplicate two-way portable radiotelephone apparatus for each fire party for fire fighters communication to be carried; amendments to regulation II-2/15 on instructions, on-board training and drills, to require an on-board means of recharging breathing apparatus cylinders used during drills, or a suitable number of spare cylinders; and amendments to regulation II-2/20 on protection of vehicle, special category and RO-RO spaces related to fixed fire-extinguishing systems.

 4) Amendments to the appendix to the annex to the SOLAS Convention replacing all forms of certificates and records of equipment, including its 1988 Protocol, and amendments to the forms of the Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate and Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate of its 1978 Protocol. 

1 July 2014: CSC Amendments

 Amendments to the International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC), 1972, to incorporate amendments to the CSC Convention adopted in 1993 by resolution A.737(18), including amendments relating to the safety approval plate and to the approval of existing and new containers. 

1 January 2015: Code for Recognized Organizations 

Code for recognized organizations (RO Code) becomes mandatory under SOLAS, MARPOL and Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966. 

1 January 2015: Entry into force of 2013 May SOLAS amendments 

 1) SOLAS regulation III/19 to require musters of newly embarked passengers prior to or immediately upon departure.

 2) SOLAS regulation III/19, on emergency training and drills, to mandate enclosed-space entry and rescue drills, which will require crew members with enclosed-space entry or rescue responsibilities to participate in an enclosed-space entry and rescue drill at least once every two months. Related amendments also to the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft (HSC Code), the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU Code) and the Code of Safety for Dynamically Supported Craft (DSC Code). 




Regulation 19 of SOLAS Chapter V (Carriage requirements for ship borne navigational systems and equipment) sets out navigational equipment to be carried on board ships, according to ship type. The regulation requires AIS to be fitted aboard all ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards engaged on international voyages, cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards not engaged on international voyages and all passenger ships irrespective of size. The requirement became effective for all ships by 31 December 2004.

IMO Resolution MSC.74 (69) Annex 3, adopted on 12th May 2008 provides the Recommendation on Performance Standards For an Universal Ship borne AIS.


These performance standards specify the requirements for the universal AIS.

1. The AIS should improve the safety of navigation by assisting in the efficient navigation of ships, protection of the environment, and operation of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), by satisfying the following functional requirements:

      (a) in a ship-to-ship mode for collision avoidance;

      (b) as a means for littoral States to obtain information about a ship and its cargo; and

      (c) as a VTS tool, i.e. ship-to-shore (traffic management).

2. The AIS should be capable of providing to ships and to competent authorities, information from the ship, automatically and with the required accuracy and frequency, to facilitate accurate tracking. Transmission of the data should be with the minimum involvement of ship’s personnel and with a high level of availability.

3. The installation, in addition to meeting the requirements of the Radio Regulations, applicable ITU-R. Recommendations and the general requirements as set out in resolution A.694 (17), should comply with the following performance standards.


4. The system should be capable of operating in a number of modes:

    (a) an “autonomous and continuous” mode for operation in all areas. This mode should be capable of being switched to/from one of the following alternate modes by a competent authority;

    (b) an “assigned” mode for operation in an area subject to a competent authority responsible for traffic monitoring such that the data transmission interval and/or time slots may be set remotely by that authority; and

    (c)  a “polling” or controlled mode where the data transfer occurs in response to interrogation from a ship or competent authority.


5. The AIS should comprise:

    (a) a communication processor, capable of operating over a range of maritime frequencies, with an appropriate channel selecting and switching method, in support of both short and long range applications;

    (b) a means of processing data from an electronic position-fixing system which provides a resolution of one ten thousandth of a minute of arc and uses the WGS-84 datum.;

    (c) a means to automatically input data from other sensors meeting the provisions as specified in paragraph 6.2;

    (d) a means to input and retrieve data manually;

    (e) a means of error checking the transmitted and received data; and

    (f) built in test equipment (BITE).

6. The AIS should be capable of:

    (a) providing information automatically and continuously to a competent authority and other ships, without involvement of ship’s personnel;

    (b) receiving and processing information from other sources, including that from a competent authority and from other ships;

    (c) responding to high priority and safety related calls with a minimum of delay; and

    (d) providing positional and manoeuvring information at a data rate adequate to facilitate accurate tracking by a competent authority and other ships.

User interface

7. To enable a user to access, select and display the information on a separate system, the AIS should be provided with an interface conforming to an appropriate international marine interface standard.


8. For the purpose of ship and message identification, the appropriate Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number should be used.


9. The information provided by the AIS should include

    (a) Static:

          – IMO number (where available)

          – Call sign & name

          – Length and beam

          – Type of ship

          – Location of position-fixing antenna on the ship (aft of bow and port or starboard of centerline)

    (b) Dynamic:

          – Ship’s position with accuracy indication and integrity status

          – Time in UTC*

          – Course over ground

          – Speed over ground

          – Heading

          – Navigational status (e.g. NUC, at anchor, etc. – manual input)

          – Rate of turn (where available)

          – Optional – Angle of heel

          – Optional – Pitch and roll

    (c) Voyage related:

          – Ship’s draught

          – Hazardous cargo (type)

          – Destination and ETA (at masters discretion)

          – Optional – Route plan (waypoints)

    (d) Short safety-related messages

10. Information update rates for autonomous mode

The different information types are valid for a different time period and thus need a different update rate:

    – Static information: Every 6 min and on request

    – Dynamic information: Dependant on speed and course alteration according to  Table 1

    – Voyage related information: Every 6 min, when data has been amended and on request

    – Safety-related message: As required

 Ship reporting capacity: the system should be able to handle a minimum of 2000 reports per min to adequately provide for all operational scenarios envisioned.

11. Security

A security mechanism should be provided to detect disabling and to prevent unauthorized alteration of input or transmitted data. To protect the unauthorized dissemination of data, the IMO guidelines

(Guidelines and Criteria for Ship Reporting Systems*) should be followed.

Permissible initialization period

12. The installation should be operational within 2 min of switching on.

Power supply

13. The AIS and associated sensors should be powered from the ship’s main source of electrical energy. In addition, it should be possible to operate the AIS and associated sensors from an alternative source of electrical energy.

Technical characteristics

14. The technical characteristics of the AIS such as variable transmitter output power, operating frequencies (dedicated internationally and selected regionally), modulation, and antenna system should comply with the appropriate ITU-R Recommendations.