News & EventsRegulatory Information International Regulatory News Updates • MSC 71 Session
Maritime Safety Committee's 71st Session
May 1999

Bulk Carrier Safety

FSA and HAZID Studies

In light of the continuing U.K. coordinated effort in undertaking an international collaborative formal safety assessment of single deck bulk carriers with topside and hopper tanks and recognizing that an objective of the study is to better inform IMO with regard to future decisions on measures to improve the safety of bulk carriers, the MSC proposed that the scope of the study be modified to include operational aspects related to life-saving appliances, ballast water exchange at sea and machinery configurations. Discrete tasks, based on IMO FSA guidelines, will be carried out over a two year period.

The IACS hazard identification study on the watertight integrity of the fore end structure of bulk carriers, including the design and operation of closures and systems serving cargo holds and tanks in the fore end of bulk carriers including hatchcovers, airpipes, ventilation trunks, bilge alarms and sounding and emergency pumping systems, was considered by the MSC to provide useful input to the FSA effort. 4.16

BC Code Amendments

The Code of Safe Practice of Solid Bulk Cargoes was amended by approval of a new MSC/Circ.921. The Circular provides characteristic properties and stowage and separation requirements for peat moss and brown coal (lignite) briquettes. 8.6

Interpretations of SOLAS Chapter XII

The MSC adopted the following interpretations relative to bulk carriers under SOLAS Chapter XII.

Double sides - The MSC adopted resolution MSC.89(71) defines bulk carriers of single side skin construction as a bulk carrier where one or more holds are bounded by the side shell only or by an internal second boundary spaced at a distance from the side shell of less than 760mm for bulk carriers built before 1 January 2000 and 1000 mm for bulk carriers built on/after that date.

Bulk carriers of single side skin construction which are built before 1 July 1999 are subject to flooding of the foremost cargo hold and must, inter alia, satisfy the damage stability and structural survivability requirements of SOLAS XII/Regs 4.2 & 6. Bulk carriers of single side skin construction built on or after 1 July 1999 are subject to flooding of each cargo hold and must satisfy the requirements of SOLAS XII/Regs. 4.1 & 5. 4.14

Cargo density - On/after 1 July 1999, the declaration of solid bulk cargo density, when between 1250 to 1780 kg/m3, must be verified by an accredited testing organization when being carried by existing bulk carriers built before 1 July 1999, unless the ship fully complies with SOLAS Chapter XII for bulk carriers carrying cargoes with densities of 1780 kg/m3 and above. To facilitate a uniform method of testing and recording the density and characteristics of bulk cargoes, the MSC adopted recommended performance specifications as contained in MSC/Circ.908. 4.15

A decision whether or not bulk carriers carrying break bulk cargoes (with stowage factors of 0.56 m3/ton or less) should be subject to the provisions of SOLAS Chapter XII has been held in abeyance pending the outcome of the collaborative formal safety assessment study of bulk carriers as noted above. 4.17

Restricted Loading Designation – The MSC clarified the criteria for determining when the solid triangle shown below is to be assigned to the sides of existing bulk carriers built before 1 July 1999 as per regulation XII/8.3. The triangle is required if -- in order to achieve compliance with the structural survivability requirements of SOLAS XII/6 -- operating restrictions either limit the ship’s deadweight/draft or specify homogeneous or specific distribution of cargo in the forward two holds. General restrictions on homogenous loading or on the mass of packaged goods do not constitute a basis for assignment of the triangle. 4.14

( + Note: All "ships" are all self propelled vessels)

For further information concerning the above information, please contact ABS Regulatory Affairs Department at telephone (212) 839 5059, by fax (212) 839 5214, or by email Regulatoryaffairs@eagle.org.

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