Web alert: Amendments to the IMSBC Code Announced (1)

News & Insights 16 June 2015


The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee has decided on a number of amendments to the IMSBC Code.

The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee has decided on a number of amendments to the IMSBC Code. The official text of the amendments is expected to be released by the IMO in 2 – 3 weeks.

The amendments are expected come into force in January 2017 and can be summarised as follows:

  • An addition has been made to section 3 paragraph 3.1 of the existing Code in relation to fire protection for self-unloading bulk carriers.  The insertion requires routine on board operational fire safety risk assessments to be carried out by the crew in cargo handling areas and that due consideration be given to fire prevention and the effective operation of fire detection systems, containments and suppression under all anticipated operating conditions and cargoes.  These assessment procedures must be detailed in the ship’s SMS together with a recommendation for the frequency of such assessments.
  • New schedules have been added relating to the following cargoes: aluminium fluoride, amorphous sodium silicate lumps, boric acid, chemical gypsum, copper slag, glass cullet, iron and steel slag and its mixture, iron ore fines, iron oxide technical, iron sinter, manganese component ferroalloy slag, manganese ore fines, scale generated from the iron and steel making process, spodumene (upgraded), wood pellets containing additives and/or binders, wood pellets not containing any additives and/or binders, zinc slag, zircon kyanite concentrate. 
  • Section 7 has new requirements relating to “specially constructed or fitted cargo ships for confining cargo shift”.
  • The iron ore schedule has been replaced. 
  • A new Section 14 has been added. This relates to the management of residues of solid bulk cargoes in order to avoid pollution by such residues. The new Section 14 relates specifically to the 2012 Guidelines for the implementation of MARPOL Annex V. Under MARPOL Annex V, determining how to manage the residues of sold bulk cargoes depends primarily on the classification of that bulk cargo and whether it is harmful to marine environment (HME) or not. The responsibility to classify the cargo in this way is on the shipper. The new section 14 reproduces the texts of the MARPOL Annex V Guidelines which relate to the residues of solid bulk cargoes. 
  • MSC.1/Circ 1395/Rev. 1 has been revised and replaced by MSC.1/Circ.1395/Rev.2 – “Lists of solid bulk cargoes for which a fixed gas fire-extinguishing system may be exempted or for which a fixed gas fire-extinguishing system is ineffective”.
  • MSC.1/Circ.1454 has been revised and replaced by MSC.1/Circ.1454/Rev.1 - “Guidelines for developing and approving procedures for sampling, testing and controlling the moisture content for solid bulk cargoes which may liquefy”.   The main objectives of these guidelines are to (i) assist shippers in preparing procedures for sampling, testing and controlling moisture content (as required by para 4.3.3 of the IMSBC Code); and to assist competent authorities of ports of loading when approving and checking the implementation of such procedures (again in accordance with para 4.3.3 of the Code). 
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