Many consider the SOLAS Convention to be one of the most important of the International treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships. First adopted in 1914, following the Titanic disaster, the fourth SOLAS Convention was adopted on 17th June 1960. The entry into force was on 26th May 1965 and represented a considerable step forward in modernising regulations and keeping up with technical developments in the shipping industry.
In 1974 a completely new Convention was adopted to allow SOLAS to be amended and implemented within a reasonable time scale. Now amendments enter into force via a tacit acceptance procedure – this allows an amendment to enter into force on a specified date, unless objections to an amendment are received from an agreed number of parties. The 1974 Convention has been updated and amended on numerous occasions and the Convention in force today is sometimes referred to as SOLAS, 1974, as amended.
On 1 July 2014, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) will be amended to make the 'Code on Noise Levels On Board Ships' mandatory for new vessels.
New SOLAS regulation II-1/3-12 will require all 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.
Amendments to 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;
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; and
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.
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