The Merchant Shipping (Safety Standards for Passenger Ships on Domestic Voyages) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022
These Regulations have been published on December 7th, 2022, and come into force on December 29th, 2022.
These Regulations extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
These Regulations amend three instruments. Regulation 2 amends the Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection: Small Ships) Regulations 1998 (S.I. 1998/1011), regulation 3 amends the Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction: Ships of Classes III to VI(A) Regulations 1998 (S.I. 1998/2515), and regulation 4 amends the Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances for Passenger Ships of Classes III to VI(A)) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/2723).
These Regulations implement the findings of a review into safety standards for older passenger ships which operate domestically and, so far as practicable, bring the safety standards of these older vessels up to the standards of new vessels.
The Regulations apply to domestic passenger ships.
In relation to the Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection: Small Ships) Regulations 1998 and the Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances for Passenger Ships of Classes III to VI(A)) Regulations 1999, the amendments to these instruments also apply to non-United Kingdom ships in United Kingdom waters.
The Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction: Ships of Classes III to VI(A)) Regulations 1998 are supplemented by an updated Merchant Shipping Notice (MSN 1699, Amendment 3) containing further technical detail, and which is made mandatory by way of the reference to it in those Regulations.
This MSN is available from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) of Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton SO15 1EG or can be found on www.gov.uk.
Provision for the postponement of compliance with the updated requirements in each instrument and in MSN 1699, Amendment 3, is included in each instrument.
Compliance with the updated requirements must be achieved by the date of the first passenger ship renewal survey after the second anniversary of the date on which these Regulations come into force, unless an exemption from the requirements of the regulations is granted by the Secretary of State pursuant to the relevant power to exempt in each instrument.
In practice, this will require the Secretary of State to be satisfied that there is an appropriate implementation plan in place to ensure later compliance with the updated requirements.
The updated requirements are set out in a guidance note, MGN 627(M). This guidance provides detailed explanation as to how the requirements work in practice and what factors the Secretary of State will take into account in granting an exemption beyond the date for compliance in each instrument.
MGN 627(M) is available from the MCA or can be found on www.gov.uk.
These Regulations have been notified in draft to the European Commission in accordance with Directive (EU) 2015/1535 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 September 2015 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical regulations and of rules on Information Society services (OJ L 241, 17.9.2015, p.1).
Guidance on Changes and Available Exemptions Against Requirements Introduced by the Merchant Shipping (Safety Standards for Passenger Ships on Domestic Voyages) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022
This Notice has been published on December 8th, 2022, and is addressed to all shipowners, recognised organisations, shipbuilders, shiprepairers, ship masters and surveyors.
a) changes implemented by the Merchant Shipping (Safety Standards for Passenger Ships on Domestic Voyages) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022 (“the amending Regulations”) as a result of the older domestic passenger vessels Grandfather Rights review; and
b) exemptions available in the existing Regulations, and amendments to this exemption provision made by the amending Regulations, which are applicable to the changes made by the amending Regulations.
The exemptions dealt with in this MGN include:
a) permanent exemptions, which allow alternative arrangements in the circumstances specified;
b) temporary exemptions permitted against some or all of the new requirements introduced by the amending Regulations to facilitate an extension of the two-year phase-in period afforded by the Regulations.
1. Introduction / background
1.1 The Merchant Shipping (Safety Standards for Passenger Ships on Domestic Voyages) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022 (“the amending Regulations”) implement legislative changes which have arisen from the review of standards for older domestic passenger vessels. The review examined the differences between standards to which older vessels were subject and those with which newer vessels were required to comply, and sought to make changes to the technical requirements which would, where possible, close that gap.
1.2 The amending Regulations do this by amending the following existing Regulations:
1.2.1 the Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances for Passenger Ships of Classes III to VI(A) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/2723);
1.2.2 the Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection: Small Ships) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1011);
1.2.3 the Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction: Ships of Classes III to VI(A) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/2515).
1.3 These changes do not affect vessels operating under, and in compliance with, MSN 1823(M).
2. Main changes
2.1 Liferafts. The amending Regulations amend the Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances for Passenger Ships of Classes III to VI(A)) Regulations 1999 to broaden the existing requirement, so that all domestic passenger vessels operating at sea or on Category C and/or D waters are required to carry 100% liferaft provision for all persons onboard. The aim of this is to achieve 100% dry-shod evacuation.
2.2 Lifejackets / Buoyancy Aids. The amending Regulations amend the Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances for Passenger Ships of Classes III to VI(A)) Regulations 1999 to extend the lifejacket / buoyancy aid carriage obligations such that all the relevant domestic passenger vessels operating on Category B waters are required to carry lifejacket / buoyancy aids for 100% of persons onboard. The existing Regulations permit the issue of exemptions to Life-Saving Appliance requirements which may be subject to conditions, including up to an equivalent level of safety where necessary. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will consider issuing an exemption from the requirement to carry 100% lifejacket / buoyancy aids provision where a vessel operating on Category B waters can be evacuated directly to the bank without need for persons to enter the water. For this exemption to be granted, the evacuation arrangements must be to the satisfaction of the MCA – this approval may require a practical demonstration.
2.3 Lifejacket lights. The amending Regulations amend the Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances for Passenger Ships of Classes III to VI(A) Regulations 1999 to require that lifejackets on all relevant passenger vessels operating on Category C and D waters be fitted with lights. The MCA will consider issuing an exemption from the requirement that lifejackets must be fitted with lights when a vessel does not sail more than one hour before sunrise, or more than one hour after sunset, and that this restriction is recorded on the passenger ship safety certificate. The exemption will only be issued when the MCA is satisfied that adequate arrangements have been recorded in the ship’s Domestic Safety Management system to ensure the Master has the authority to return the vessel to a berth in deteriorating daylight conditions.
2.4 Fire detection. The amending Regulations amend the Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection: Small Ships) Regulations 1998 to require all enclosed machinery spaces which are not continually manned during the vessel’s operation, and any passenger sleeping spaces, on Class III-VI(A) vessels, to be fitted with fire detection systems. These systems must be of a kind approved by the Secretary of State. If they comply with the British Standards Organisation’s BS EN 54 standard, this will normally be considered satisfactory. Fire detection systems provide a valuable early awareness of fire and hence increase the chances of extinguishing it promptly.
2.5 Fixed Firefighting. The amending Regulations amend the Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection: Small Ships) Regulations 1998 to require fixed firefighting systems to be fitted in all relevant Class III to VI(A) passenger vessels. All fixed firefighting systems must be of a kind approved by the Secretary of State, through the MCA. Under this proposal, on smaller vessels with boxed engines, the fixed firefighting requirement may be met with alternative arrangements (such as a permanently fixed fire extinguisher). Such alternative arrangements are conditional on the proviso that opening the machinery space is not required to fight the fire, and that the MCA surveyor is satisfied with the alternative arrangements. Fixed firefighting systems are a proven effective method of fighting fires within machinery spaces and are extensively required throughout modern standards. For vessels with non-standard methods of propulsion, e.g., steam, exemptions against this requirement will be considered on a case by case basis.
2.6 Powered bilge pumps. The amending Regulations amend the Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction: Ships of Classes III to VI(A) Regulations 1998 to require the carriage of powered bilge pumps to meet the minimum bilge pump requirement. This requirement increases the efficiency of bilge pumping. This does not preclude the carriage of additional hand-powered bilge pumps which are in excess of the minimum requirements.
2.7 Bilge alarms. The amending Regulations amend the Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction: Ships of Classes III to VI(A) Regulations 1998 to require that bilge alarms be fitted in all compartments containing propulsion machinery, and in any other compartment where bilge water can accumulate. Such systems facilitate the detection of water ingress and hence can help to prevent catastrophic flooding or foundering.
2.8 Damage stability. Merchant Shipping Notice 1699(M) has been amended to require that relevant passenger vessels operating on Category C waters meet either the one-compartment stability standard or achieve compliance with the buoyancy test (110% buoyancy). This requirement does not apply to Class V vessels operating on non-tidal waters in daylight or Class VI passenger vessels. Additionally, Class V vessels operating on tidal Category C waters which are considered low operational risk – as demonstrated by an assessment carried out to an agreed standard and covering an agreed set of minimum considerations – may be exempted from the requirements.
3. Temporary exemptions enabling extension
3.1 The Regulations require vessels to comply with the updated requirements by the date of the first passenger ship renewal survey after 28 December 2024. However, existing Regulations allow the Secretary of State, through the MCA, to issue exemptions. The MCA will consider issuing exemptions from any of the new requirements at the point they come into force if an alternative timescale for implementation is contained in an implementation plan, produced by the owner, and that plan is agreed with the Secretary of State, through the MCA. The policy intention of this approach is to allow flexibility to a vessel owner who is striving to comply with the new requirements but is encountering genuine and intractable obstacles to bringing their vessel or vessels into timely compliance. Exemptions will not be issued on the basis of convenience alone.
3.2 The default position will be that the MCA will require compliance with all obligations by the deadline date. Exemptions will only be permitted where the MCA considers the owner has valid reasons for not implementing the new requirements by the specified date, taking into account all the circumstances, and as part of an overall implementation plan which the owner has agreed with the MCA.
3.3 Any owner wishing to agree a staged implementation plan with the MCA is advised to do this well in advance of the deadline date, to avoid a situation where a plan is not agreed, and the owner’s vessel is unable to gain a certificate to operate.
4.1 Owners are reminded that the MCA cannot guarantee the granting of an exemption in every case, and also that such exemptions will not be issued to allow a vessel’s continued operation simply because of delay by an owner. Owners wishing to obtain an exemption are therefore encouraged to contact their local MCA Marine Office with a proposed implementation plan at the earliest possible opportunity so that, should the desired exemption not be granted, they have time to comply with the new requirements prior to the default deadline date.
Domestic Passenger Vessels: Information on Risk Assessment to Support Application for Exemption from Damage Stability Requirements
This Notice has been published on December 8th, 2022, and is addressed to all shipowners, recognised organisations, shipbuilders, shiprepairers, ship masters and surveyors.
To provide information on Risk Assessment applications for domestic passenger vessels on tidal Category C waters seeking an exemption from the additional damage stability requirements introduced by the Merchant Shipping (Safety Standards for Passenger Ships on Domestic Voyages (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022 by demonstrating they operate in an area of “Lower Operational Risk”.
1.1 The Merchant Shipping (Safety Standards for Passenger Ships on Domestic Voyages) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022, introduces requirements for older vessels to meet new damage stability requirements. The vessels affected most by these new requirements, from feedback during the consultation process, are those vessels certified as Class V and operating on Tidal Category C waters.
1.2 It was recognised from feedback during the consultation that there was a need for the Government to provide some flexibility to operators who could demonstrate that the risks to their vessels were owing to their particular area of operation. For example, owing to a small volume of traffic operating in the area the risk of collision was reduced.
1.3 In order to make this demonstration to the MCA, an application for equivalence/exemption will need to be completed and submitted to the nearest Marine Office. The application should be submitted along with a risk assessment which details how the operator/owner believes that the risks in their particular area of operation are considered so low that the purpose of applying damage stability requirements are not appropriate.
1.4 More detail of the factors which would be likely to be considered are provided in section 2 of this MIN, but it is emphasised that these focus on the risk of collision, particularly resulting in the vessel being holed below the waterline.
1.5 Whilst Risk Assessments will require the acceptance of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), it is expected that the local navigational authority will have been consulted and that they will have confirmed they are satisfied that the vessels in the area can operate without damage stability. It will not be possible for MCA surveyors to be involved in drawing up the Risk Assessments. Therefore, some operators wishing to obtain such an exemption may wish to engage the services of a professional consultancy to assist with drawing up the necessary Risk Assessment. This MIN may also be a useful reference document for such consultants.
1.6 The main focus of such a risk assessment will be to consider scenarios causing damage below the waterline.
1.7 Applications for Exemptions will be made in the normal way on MCA form MSF 1261, which may be obtained from the nearest MCA Marine Office.
1.8 It is emphasised that owners / operators are not obliged to carry out such a Risk Assessment. Some operators may prefer to have the certainty associated with full compliance with the damage stability requirements.
2. Possible Risk factors
2.1 Any factors affecting the risk posed to a vessel, its occupants and other vessels and parties are relevant to the Risk Assessments referred to in this information.
Risk factors could include:
2.1.1 the depth of water available in relation to the draft of the vessel;
2.1.2 distance from land;
2.1.3 density of traffic;
2.1.4 make-up of traffic, (e.g. are there vessels of a size which could inflict serious damage in the event of a collision?);
2.1.6 environmental conditions (e.g. nature of the sea / river bed, flow of current, is the area prone to reduced visibility, etc.);
2.1.7 frequency of berthing / unberthing operations and condition of berths (i.e. older wooden berths may pose a hazard from protruding fastenings compared to modern well fendered arrangements, etc.);
2.1.8 seasonal operation considerations.
2.2 The above list is not exhaustive and any factor with the potential to affect the risk of a collision causing damage below the waterline may be included.
2.3 The risk assessment will consider not only the risk factors, but the extent to which they can be mitigated.
3.1 Risk Assessments generally are intended to help operators and other stakeholders understand the risks associated with specific hazards, examine the effectiveness of controls already in place and of any proposed new controls.
3.2 Although targeted more at seafarer safety, rather than ships, the high-level Risk Assessment principles contained in the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers (COSWP) may provide useful reference information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-safe-working-practices-for-merchant-seafarers-2020
3.3 The Risk Assessment, if accepted by MCA, will form part of the vessel Safety Management System, as required by the Domestic Safety Management system (DSM) Code (MGN 536), and be retained onboard the vessel. As such, the company should review the risk assessment in line with its procedures particularly if any of the risks or control measures change. The MCA should ensure that the requirements remain relevant as part of the DSM re-certification process.
3.4 It is the responsibility of the operator / company to prepare the Risk Assessment although external bodies (consultants) may assist in the preparation and other stakeholders (such as the local navigation authority) may need to be involved. It is expected that operators take ownership of their own risk assessments. The MCA will expect to see a thorough Risk Assessment to underpin a request for exemption from the damage stability requirements. Owners/ operators are strongly advised to submit exemption requests well in advance of when an answer is required as it will normally take some time to give the requests due consideration.
3.5 Although vessel specific assessments must be prepared, it is recognised that much of the hazard identification is applicable to many of the vessels operating within the same stretch of water. It is recommended, as far as possible, that the hazard identification process is prepared with all stakeholders, including other local operators.