IMO to amend SOLAS

02 Dec 2010

Amendments to the IMO’s convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to make mandatory the International Code for the Application of Fire Test Procedures (2010 FTP Code) and to improve lifeboat release hooks are set to be adopted.

The proposed SOLAS amendment is intended to ensure new, stricter, safety standards for lifeboat release hooks, aimed at preventing accidents involving lifeboats, and will result in the review and possible replacement of a large number of release hooks for lifeboats, thereby requiring action from all involved parties, including flag States, manufacturers, shipowners, and surveyors.

The safety amendment is being discussed at the 88th session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meeting. The agenda also includes discussion on piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden and the implementation of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of ships (LRIT) system. Also, the draft 2010 FTP Code, along with relevant SOLAS amendments to make it mandatory, will be considered for adoption.

The 2010 FTP Code provides the international requirements for laboratory testing, type-approval and fire test procedures for products referenced under SOLAS chapter II-2. It comprehensively revises and updates the current Code, adopted by the MSC in 1996. The 2010 FTP Code includes the following tests: non-combustibility; smoke and toxicity; test for “A”, “B” and “F” class divisions; test for fire door control systems; test for surface flammability (surface materials and primary deck coverings); test for vertically supported textiles and films; test for upholstered furniture; test for bedding components; test for fire-restricting materials for high-speed craft; and test for fire-resisting divisions of high-speed craft.

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