easy way to learn to use SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea Convention)

There is no easy way to learn to use SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea Convention). Learning SOLAS is long and hard, with many hours needed to become proficient. The first step is learning where to find the relevant materials. This becomes easier with sections used on a day-to-day basis. It is when legislation is required for a special task that careful reading is required. This is when marrying up the various circulars and codes becomes vital to ensure a correct interpretation of the part of SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea Convention) being used. Even when checking SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea Convention) for the correct interpretation, it is always advisable to check what the flag state of the ship has put in place with its own national legislation, because this is what must be met. The national legislation can have the same or higher application as SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea Convention) but never less. ISPS Code (International Ship and Port Facility Security) by itself has no mandatory application, but because ISPS Code is linked to a chapter of SOLAS it does have mandatory application to SOLAS ships. In this case, it is SOLAS Chapter XI-2 that makes the ISPS Code mandatory. SOLAS to be mandatory, a ship must be engaged on an international voyage and be of convention size. The convention size is not constant. The mandatory minimum gross tonnage is not constant and a ship manager must read the relevant application to ensure it is correct. For example, for bulk carriers the convention size is 500 GT (Gross Ton) and above. The current SOLAS edition is the 2009 consolidated edition, but there have been many amendments made since. SOLAS need to be read to ensure that the correct applications are made. SOLAS amendments can be checked in the MSC (Marine Safety Committee) circulars and published amendments. Amending is a continuous process and reflects the work done at the IMO (International Maritime Organization). Amendments does not only apply to SOLAS only but to all publications.

 

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