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Web Alert: Update on Verified Gross Mass of Packed Containers (VGM)

26 May 2016

IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, during its 96th session, noted the concerns of its member states regarding practical aspects of compliance with the upcoming SOLAS amendments relating to the verification of the gross mass (VGM) of packed containers.
There was a wide variation of readiness amongst the administrations and ports, in particular, relating to transhipped containers and communication of VGM information, in an initial period following their entry into force.
Consequently, a circular (MSC.1/Circ.1548) was drawn up recommending the flag and port state authorities to adopt a practical and pragmatic approach when verifying compliance with the SOLAS Chapter VI requirements for a period of three months after the entry-into-force date (1 July 2016).
The Circular recommends to administrations, port state control authorities, ship operators, port terminals and masters that till 1 October 2016:

• packed containers loaded on a ship before 1 July 2016 and are trans-shipped on or after 1 July 2016 may be allowed to be shipped to their final port of discharge without the gross mass being verified as per SOLAS VI/2.4 to VI/2.6; and
• flexibility be exercised in accepting the means for documenting, communicating and sharing VGM information.
Members are recommended to refer to the club’s guidance on VGM for further details on this subject.