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Raul Varnovici Anatoli SOLAS

Chapter I
Solas Regulations
In the beginning of this thesis is mandatory to acknowledge the importance of safety
upon nowadays ships.
SOLAS is the first international convention concerning safety at sea and its meaning is
Safety of Life at Sea, and it was prompted by the Titanic disaster in 1911. The convention was
first adopted in 1914, with amendments adopted in 1929 and 1948. When IMO was founded in
1958, its first major task was the amendment of SOLAS in 1960, and the Organization has
subsequently ensured that its revision is an ongoing process. The current version of the SOLAS
Convention is the 1974 version, known as SOLAS 1974, which came into force on 25 May 1980.
From 1974 SOLAS convention has about 162 states which are contracted upon. In large
numbers that is the equivalent of 99% of merchant ships around the world, in terms of gross
I chose to discuss in the beginnings about the SOLAS convention because it is regarded
as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.
Solas is also a study that specifies and highlights minimum standards for equipment and
operation of ships compatible with their safety. Of all international treaties, Solas is regarded as
the most important of all studies and conventions concerning the safety of merchant vessels and
is in fact embraced by the United Nations 1982 Law at the Sea Convention as a generally
accepted international regulation.
Another debate could be done on the appliance of the rules of Solas convention. Apart
from Chapter V, SOLAS does not apply to fishing vessels, wooden ships of primitive build and
ships not propelled by mechanical means, thus leaving out most of the fleet in the developing
countries. Also chapter V deals with safety of navigation and identifies certain navigation safety
services that should be provided by Contracting Governments and sets forth provisions of an
operational nature applicable in general to all ships on all voyages. This is in contrast to the
Convention as a whole, which only applies to certain classes of ship engaged on international
The international conference that adopted SOLAS 60, however, approved three
resolutions related to fishing vessels.
The first version of SOLAS was passed in 1914 in response to the sinking of the RMS
Titanic. It prescribed numbers of lifeboats and other emergency equipment along with safety
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procedures, including continuous radio watches. The 1914 treaty never entered into force due to
the outbreak of the First World War.
Other further versions were adopted in 1929 and 1948.
The 1960 Convention was adopted on 17 June 1960 and entered into force on 26 May
1965. It was the fourth SOLAS Convention and was the first major achievement for International
Maritime Organization (IMO). It represented a considerable step forward in modernizing
regulations and keeping up with technical developments in the shipping industry.

Figure 1.1 “Copy of Solas amendment from 1960”

In 1974 a completely new Convention was adopted to allow SOLAS to be amended and
implemented within a reasonable time scale, instead of the previous procedure to incorporate
amendments, which proved to be very slow. Under SOLAS 1960, it could take several years for
amendments to be come into force since countries had to give notice of acceptance to IMO and
there was a minimum threshold of countries and tonnage. Under SOLAS 1974, amendments
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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
The 1974 SOLAS came into force on 25 May 1980, 12 months after its ratification by at
least 50 countries with at least 50% of gross tonnage. It has been updated and amended on
numerous occasions since then and the Convention in force today is sometimes referred to as
SOLAS, 1974, as amended.
In 1975 the assembly of the IMO decided that the 1974 convention should in future use
SI (metric) units only.
In 1985, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee prepared recommendations for weather
criteria with respect to intact stability.17 This resolution is applicable to cargo and passenger
ships of 24m in length and more, and to fishing vessels 45m in length or more. Yet again, these
criteria do not apply to the majority of passenger and fishing vessels used in the developing
Recognizing that a number of fishing boat accidents are caused by submarines, a
resolution was adopted in 1987, recommending operational practices for submarines, in order to
reduce this danger.
In particular, amendments in 1988 based on amendments of International Radio
Regulations in 1987 replaced Morse code with the Global Maritime Distress Safety System
(GMDSS) and came into force beginning 1 February 1992. An idea of the range of issues
covered by the treaty can be gained from the list of sections

The main objective of Solas Convention is to define the minimum standards for
equipment, for construction and also for the operation of the ship in a safe way. Flag States are
responsible for ensuring that ships under their flag comply with its requirements, and a number
of certificates are prescribed in the Convention as proof that this has been done. Control
provisions also allow Contracting Governments to inspect ships of other Contracting States if
there are clear grounds for believing that the ship and its equipment do not substantially comply
with the requirements of the Convention - this procedure is known as port State control.
. The current SOLAS Convention includes Articles setting out general obligations,
amendment procedure and so on, followed by an Annex divided into 12 Chapters.
Chapter I includes regulations concerning the survey of the various types of ships and the
issuing of documents signifying that the ship meets the requirements of the Convention. This
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chapter also includes details of structure and division of passenger ships. Therefore, as an
example of Solas regulation from chapter I could be : “Ships shall be as effectively subdivided as
is possible having regard to the nature of the service for which they are intended. The degree of
subdivision shall vary with the length of the ship and with the service, in such manner that the
highest degree of subdivision corresponds with the ships of greatest length, primarily engaged in
the carriage of passengers.” The Chapter also includes provisions for the control of ships in ports
of other Contracting Governments.
On the other hand, the most important section of the chapter is the regulation nr. 7 which
has the main purpose to provide sufficient intact stability in all service conditions so as to enable
the ship to withstand the final stage of flooding of any one main compartment which is required
to be within the floodable length.

Figure 1.2 “Titanic compartments flooded”

In the same chapter, there are also some regulations about ballasting such as if ballasting
with water is necessary, the water ballast should not in general be carried in tanks intended for oil
fuel. In ships in which it is not practicable to avoid putting water in oil fuel tanks, oily-water
separator equipment to the satisfaction of the Administration shall be fitted, or other alternative
means acceptable to the Administration shall be provided for disposing of the oily-water ballast.
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The degree of subdivision - measured by the maximum permissible distance between two
adjacent bulkheads - varies with ship's length and the service in which it is engaged. The highest
degree of subdivision applies to passenger ships.
Requirements covering machinery and electrical installations are designed to ensure that
services which are essential for the safety of the ship, passengers and crew are maintained under
various emergency conditions.
"Goal-based standards" for oil tankers and bulk carriers were adopted in 2010, requiring
new ships to be designed and constructed for a specified design life and to be safe and
environmentally friendly, in intact and specified damage conditions, throughout their life. Under
the regulation, ships should have adequate strength, integrity and stability to minimize the risk of
loss of the ship or pollution to the marine environment due to structural failure, including
collapse, resulting in flooding or loss of watertight integrity.
The second chapter, includes detailed fire safety provisions for all ships and specific
measures for passenger ships, cargo ships and tankers.

Figure 1.3 “Types of fire extinguishers”

They include the following principles: division of the ship into main and vertical zones
by thermal and structural boundaries; separation of accommodation spaces from the remainder of
the ship by thermal and structural boundaries; restricted use of combustible materials; detection
of any fire in the zone of origin; containment and extinction of any fire in the space of origin;
protection of the means of escape or of access for fire-fighting purposes; ready availability of
Raul Varnovici Anatoli SOLAS

fire-extinguishing appliances; minimization of the possibility of ignition of flammable cargo

Fire hoses shall be of material approved by the Administration and sufficient in length to
project a jet of water to any of the spaces in which they may be required to be used. Their
maximum length shall be to the satisfaction of the Administration. Each hose shall be provided
with a nozzle and the necessary couplings. Hoses specified in this Chapter as "fire hoses" shall
together with any necessary fittings and tools be kept ready for use in conspicuous positions near
the water service hydrants or connexions. Additionally in interior locations in passenger ships
carrying more than 36 passengers, fire hoses shall be connected to the hydrants at all times.

Figure 1.4 “Fire hoses on vessel”

On the same chapter there is also stated that there shall be permanently exhibited in all
new and existing ships for the guidance of the ship's officers general arrangement plans showing
clearly for each deck the control stations, the various fire sections enclosed by "A" Class
divisions, the sections enclosed by "B" Class divisions (if any), together with particulars of the
fire alarms, detecting systems, the sprinkler installation (if any), the fire extinguishing
appliances, means of access to different compartments, decks, etc. and the ventilating system
including particulars of the fan control positions, the position of dampers and identification
numbers of the ventilating fans serving each section. Alternatively, at the discretion of the
Administration, the aforementioned details may be set out in a booklet, a copy of which shall be
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supplied to each officer, and one copy at all times shall be available on board in an accessible
position. Plans and booklets shall be kept up to date, any alterations being recorded thereon as
soon as practicable. Description in such plans and booklets shall be in the national language. If
the language is neither English nor French, a translation into one of those languages shall be
included. In addition, instructions concerning the maintenance and operation of all the equipment
and installations on board for the fighting and containment of fire shall be kept under one cover,
readily available in an accessible position.
The newest vessels are advised to be as well equipped with automatic sprinklers, fire
alarm and fire detection systems. Any required automatic sprinkler and fire alarm and fire
detection system shall be capable of immediate operation at all times and no action by the crew
shall be necessary to set it in operation. It shall be of the wet pipe type but small exposed
sections may be of the dry pipe type where in the opinion of the Administration this is a
necessary precaution. Any parts of the system which may be subjected to freezing temperatures
in service shall be suitably protected against freezing. It shall be kept charged at the necessary
pressure and shall have provision for a continuous supply of water as required.
Detectors shall be grouped into separate sections each covering not more than 50 rooms
served by such a system and containing not more than 100 detectors. A section of detectors shall
not serve spaces on both the port and starboard sides of the ship nor on more than one deck and
neither shall it be situated in more than one main vertical zone except that the Administration, if
it is satisfied that the protection of the ship against fire will not thereby be reduced, may permit
such a section of detectors to serve both the port and starboard sides of the ship and more than
one deck.
Apart of fire related regulations in the same chapter there also references about
ventilation system, ways of escape onto a vessel, windows and sidecuttles but even restriction
about combustive materials.
Is is in fact, the most extensive part of the Solas convention.
Chapter 3 includes requirements for life-saving appliances and arrangements, including
requirements for life boats, rescue boats and life jackets according to type of ship. It is divided
in 3 main parts. Part A includes mainly passenger ships and cargo ships, the second part is about
passenger ships only, and the last is a deeper study about life saving appliances on board cargo
Raul Varnovici Anatoli SOLAS

The International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code gives specific technical

requirements for LSAs and is mandatory under Regulation 34, which states that all life-saving
appliances and arrangements shall comply with the applicable requirements of the LSA Code,
which is going to be discussed as well later on this thesis.
Some other issues were lifeboats and liferafts, and their capacity, the number of motors
and their specifications, and last but not least, the equipment of this lifeboats.
The convention states that every cargo ship, except ships employed as whale factory
ships, fish processing or canning factory ships, and ships engaged in the carriage of persons
employed in the whaling, fish processing or canning industries, shall carry lifeboats on each side
of the ship of such aggregate capacity as will accommodate all persons on board, and in addition
shall carry liferafts sufficient to accommodate half that number.
Provided that, in the case of such cargo ships engaged on international voyages between
near neighboring countries, the Administration, if it is satisfied that the conditions of the voyage
are such as to render the compulsory carriage of liferafts unreasonable or unnecessary, may to
that extent exempt individual ships or classes of ships from this requirement.
Also, there are regulations that deck officer or certified lifeboat man shall be placed in
charge of each lifeboat and a second-in-command shall also be nominated. The person in charge
shall have a list of the lifeboat's crew, and shall see that the men placed under his orders are
acquainted with their several duties. Also, a man practiced in the handling and operation of
liferafts shall be assigned to each liferaft carried, except where in ships engaged on short
international voyages the Administration is satisfied that this is not practicable.
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Figure 1.5 “Lifeboat designed and manufactured to SOLAS 86 regulations”

LSA ( Life-saving appliance), which is mostly included in the chapter III, also states that
every liferaft shall be so constructed as to be capable of withstanding exposure for 30 days afloat
in all sea conditions. The liferaft shall be so constructed that when it is dropped into the water
from a height of 18 m, the liferaft and its equipment will operate satisfactorily. If the liferaft is to
be stowed at a height of more than 18 m above the waterline in the lightest seagoing condition, it
shall be of a type which has been satisfactorily drop-tested from at least that height. The floating
liferaft shall be capable of withstanding repeated jumps on to it from a height of at least 4.5 m
above its floor both with and without the canopy erected. The liferaft and its fittings shall be so
constructed as to enable it to be towed at a speed of 3 knots in calm water when loaded with its
full complement of persons and equipment and with one of its sea-anchors streamed
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Figure 1.6 “Liferaft”

The liferaft shall have a canopy to protect the occupants from exposure which is
automatically set in place when the liferaft is launched and waterborne. No liferaft shall be
approved which has a carrying capacity of less than six persons. Unless the liferaft is to be
launched by an approved launching appliance or is not required to be stowed in a position
providing for easy side-to-side transfer, the total mass of the liferaft, its container and its
equipment shall not be more than 185 kg. The liferaft shall be fitted with an efficient painter of
length equal to not less than 10 m plus the distance from the stowed position to the waterline in
the lightest seagoing condition or 15 m whichever is the greater.
Raul Varnovici Anatoli SOLAS

Figure 1.7 “Liferaft launching appliance”

Figure 1.8 “Liferaft equipment”

Ships shall carry for every person on board a life-jacket of an approved type and, in
addition, unless these life-jackets can be adapted for use by children, a sufficient number of life-
jackets suitable for children. Each life-jacket shall be suitably marked showing that it has been
approved by the Administration.
Chapter IV incorporates the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). All
passenger ships and all cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards on international voyages
are required to carry equipment designed to improve the chances of rescue following an accident,
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including satellite emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) and search and rescue
transponders (SARTs) for the location of the ship or survival craft.
Regulations in Chapter IV cover undertakings by contracting governments to provide
radio communication services as well as ship requirements for carriage of radio communications
equipment. The Chapter is closely linked to the Radio Regulations of the International
Telecommunication Union.
Chapter V identifies certain navigation safety services which should be provided by
Contracting Governments and sets forth provisions of an operational nature applicable in general
to all ships on all voyages. This is in contrast to the Convention as a whole, which only applies to
certain classes of ship engaged on international voyages.
The subjects covered include the maintenance of meteorological services for ships; the
ice patrol service; routing of ships; and the maintenance of search and rescue services.
This Chapter also includes a general obligation for masters to proceed to the assistance of
those in distress and for Contracting Governments to ensure that all ships shall be sufficiently
and efficiently manned from a safety point of view.
In fact, this chapter, applies to all ships on all voyages, except ships of war and ships
solely navigating the Great Lakes of North America and their connecting and tributary waters as
far east as the lower exit of the St. Lambert Lock at Montreal in the Province of Quebec, Canada.
Some regulations states about managing routing, ice patrol and ice speeding. We can also
find information about manning, find and rescue codes and algorithms and last but not the least
this chapter provides with a number of life-saving signals, which come in handy for any active
The chapter makes mandatory the carriage of voyage data recorders (VDRs) and
automatic ship identification systems (AIS).
Another important regulation states that ships engaged on voyages in the course of which
pilots are likely to be employed shall comply with pilot ladders.
The ladder shall be efficient for the purpose of enabling pilots to embark and disembark
safely, kept clean and in good order and may be used by officials and other persons while a ship
is arriving at or leaving a port. The convention also emphasizes official sizes and the correct
placement of pilot ladder. Battens made of hardwood, or other material of equivalent properties,
in one piece and not less than 1.80 meters (5 feet 10 inches) long shall be provided at such
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intervals as will prevent the pilot ladder from twisting. The lowest batten shall be on the fifth
step from the bottom of the ladder and the interval between any batten and the next shall not
exceed 9 steps.

Figure 1.9 “Pilot ladder”

As the first 5 chapters are discussed, we can conclude that this was the general part of the
Solas convention, therefore, the regulations within the abstract are common for the most active
ships in service.
The Chapter VI covers all types of cargo (except liquids and gases in bulk) "which,
owing to their particular hazards to ships or persons on board, may require special precautions".
The regulations include requirements for stowage and securing of cargo or cargo units (such as
containers). The Chapter requires cargo ships carrying grain to comply with the International
Grain Code
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Chapter VII , “Carriage of dangerous goods” contains regulations that are structured in
three parts:
Part A - Carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form - includes provisions for the
classification, packing, marking, labeling and placarding, documentation and stowage of
dangerous goods. Contracting Governments are required to issue instructions at the national level
and the Chapter makes mandatory the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code,
developed by IMO, which is constantly updated to accommodate new dangerous goods and to
supplement or revise existing provisions.
Part A-1 - Carriage of dangerous goods in solid form in bulk - covers the documentation,
stowage and segregation requirements for these goods and requires reporting of incidents
involving such goods.
Part B covers Construction and equipment of ships carrying dangerous liquid chemicals
in bulk and requires chemical tankers to comply with the International Bulk Chemical Code (IBC
Part C covers Construction and equipment of ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk and
gas carriers to comply with the requirements of the International Gas Carrier Code (IGC Code).
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Figure 1.10 “Liquefied gas carrier”

Part D includes special requirements for the carriage of packaged irradiated nuclear fuel,
plutonium and high-level radioactive wastes on board ships and requires ships carrying such
products to comply with the International Code for the Safe Carriage of Packaged Irradiated
Nuclear Fuel, Plutonium and High-Level Radioactive Wastes on Board Ships (INF Code).
The chapter requires carriage of dangerous goods to be in compliance with the relevant
provisions of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code).
Chapter 7 gives basic requirements for nuclear-powered ships and is particularly concerned with
radiation hazards. It refers to detailed and comprehensive Code of Safety for Nuclear Merchant
Ships which was adopted by the IMO Assembly in 1981.
Chapter IX, “ Management for the Safe Operation of Ships” makes mandatory the
International Safety Management (ISM) Code, which requires a safety management system to be
established by the ship-owner or any person who has assumed responsibility for the ship (the
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Chapter X , “Safety measures for high-speed craft “ makes mandatory the International
Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft (HSC Code).
Chapter XI-1,” Special measures to enhance maritime safety clarifies requirements
relating to authorization of recognized organizations (responsible for carrying out surveys and
inspections on Administrations' behalves); enhanced surveys; ship identification number scheme;
and port State control on operational requirements.
Chapter XI-2 , “ Special measures to enhance maritime security” chapter enshrines the
International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code (ISPS Code). Part A of the Code is
mandatory and part B contains guidance as to how best to comply with the mandatory
requirements. Regulation XI-2/8 confirms the role of the Master in exercising his professional
judgment over decisions necessary to maintain the security of the ship. It says he shall not be
constrained by the Company, the charterer or any other person in this respect.
Regulation XI-2/5 requires all ships to be provided with a ship security alert system.
,Regulation XI-2/6 covers requirements for port facilities, providing among other things for
Contracting Governments to ensure that port facility security assessments are carried out and that
port facility security plans are developed, implemented and reviewed in accordance with the
ISPS Code. Other regulations in this chapter cover the provision of information to IMO, the
control of ships in port, (including measures such as the delay, detention, restriction of operations
including movement within the port, or expulsion of a ship from port), and the specific
responsibility of Companies.
Chapter XII - Additional safety measures for bulk carriers
The Chapter includes structural requirements for bulk carriers over 150 meters in length.
Chapter XIII - Verification of compliance
Chapter XIV - Safety measures for ships operating in polar waters. The chapter makes
mandatory, from 1 January 2017, the Introduction and part I-A of the International Code for
Ships Operating in Polar Waters (the Polar Code).
In a short conclusion we can emphasize that SOLAS convention is a key achievement to
a safer sea transport. It also assures that everyone is working and obeying the same regulations
and rules.