The circular was issued on 1 April 2023 and replaces MMC No. 165.
This circular informs Panamanian-flagged ships about the mandatory use of immersion suits and anti-exposure suits. Shipowners, operators, and masters are reminded of their responsibility to ensure the presence of appropriate equipment at all times.
The circular applies to cargo and passenger ships as defined in SOLAS Regulations III/22.4 and 32.3.
New cargo ships built after July 1, 2006, and existing cargo ships surveyed thereafter must carry immersion suits for every person on board, as indicated in the Safety Equipment Certificate (Form E). Suitable suits should also be provided for children.
Additional immersion suits must be available in designated areas away from the main storage, such as the Navigation Bridge and Engine Room, to ensure accessibility during emergencies.
Cargo ships must provide appropriately sized immersion suits for all individuals on board according to SOLAS Regulation III/32.3.2.
Passenger ships must carry at least three immersion suits per lifeboat, along with thermal protective aids for those without immersion suits, as required by SOLAS Regulation III/22.4.1.
For cargo vessels under 85 meters in length (excluding certain types), all individuals must be provided with immersion suits if only life rafts are carried.
Ships constantly voyaging in warm climates between 30°N and 30°S may be exempted from these requirements if they are not bulk carriers.
The required number of lifejackets specified by SOLAS Regulation III/7.2 must still be carried when immersion suits are classified as lifejackets.
Monthly inspections and periodic testing of immersion suits must be conducted as per SOLAS Regulation III/20.7 and MSC/Circ.1047.