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Web alert: Early Implementation of SOLAS Regulation XI-1/7 on Atmosphere Testing Instrument for Enclosed Spaces – Singapore and Vanuatu

26 June 2015

Due to the serious threat posed to people working in enclosed spaces on board ships, IMO introduced new requirements to SOLAS Chapter III Regulation 19, which entered into force from 1 January 2015. Crew members are now required to participate in an enclosed space entry and rescue drill on board the ship at least once every two months.

The IMO also adopted mandatory requirements for portable atmosphere testing instruments to be carried on board ships in November 2014 which will enter into force on 1 July 2016, as SOLAS regulation XI-1/7. In accordance with the amendments to SOLAS regulation XI-1/7 contained in IMO Resolution MSC.380 (94):

  • every ship to which SOLAS Chapter I applies shall carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument or instruments;
  • as a minimum, these shall be capable of measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapours, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide prior to entry into enclosed spaces;
  • instruments carried under other requirements may satisfy this regulation;
  • suitable means shall be provided for the calibration of all such instruments.

As regulation XI-1/7 requirements for portable testing instruments will enter into force much later than Regulation 19 - Rescue Drill Requirements, the IMO issued a circular MSC.1/Circ.1485 to encourage early implementation.

The Singapore flag administration has issued Shipping Circular No.8 of 2015 and the Republic of Vanuatu has issued Fleet/Safety Letter 170415 regarding the early implementation of future amendments to SOLAS Regulation XI-1/7. The Circular and Letter require a portable atmosphere testing instrument (or instruments) to be provided as soon as possible, but no later than 1 July 2015.

This requirement applies to all Vanuatu-registered vessels to which SOLAS Regulations apply; and to all Singapore-registered vessels to which Chapter I of the Singapore Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Regulations apply. Under the Singapore flag, the application is extended to drilling/non-drilling units certified under the MODU Code.

** Members should also take into consideration the ‘Guidelines to facilitate the selection of portable atmosphere testing instruments for enclosed spaces as required by SOLAS regulation XI-1/7 (MSC.1/Circ.1477)’ and ‘Revised recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships (resolution A.1050(27)).’