In this blog post, I will explain what is the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) chapter 12 on ship and why it is important for bulk carriers. SOLAS is an international maritime treaty that sets minimum safety standards for the construction, equipment and operation of merchant ships. SOLAS chapter 12 deals with additional safety measures for bulk carriers, which are ships that carry dry cargo such as coal, iron ore, grain, etc.
Bulk carriers are exposed to various hazards such as structural failure, cargo shifting, water ingress, fire and explosion. These hazards can lead to serious accidents such as sinking, capsizing, grounding or loss of life. Therefore, SOLAS chapter 12 aims to enhance the safety of bulk carriers by imposing specific requirements on their design, construction and operation.
Some of the main requirements of SOLAS chapter 12 are:
– The fitting of high level alarms and level monitoring systems on all bulk carriers, in order to detect water ingress in cargo holds or ballast tanks. Water ingress can cause loss of stability or flooding of the ship. The alarms and systems should be tested regularly and maintained properly.
– The strengthening of the transverse watertight bulkhead or double bottom in the foremost cargo hold of single side skin bulk carriers. This is to prevent progressive flooding in case of damage to the bow section of the ship. The strengthening should be based on the type and density of cargo carried by the ship.
– The provision of a loading instrument on board to calculate and monitor the loading conditions and stability of the ship. The loading instrument should be approved by the administration and should take into account the effects of cargo distribution, ballast water, fuel oil, etc.
– The conduct of enhanced surveys for bulk carriers that are over 10 years old. The surveys should include close-up inspections and thickness measurements of critical structural areas such as hatch covers, coamings, frames, brackets, etc. The surveys should be carried out by qualified surveyors and recorded in a survey report file.
– The compliance with the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers (ESP Code), which provides detailed guidance on how to conduct enhanced surveys for bulk carriers.
These are some of the key aspects of SOLAS chapter 12 on ship that aim to improve the safety of bulk carriers and prevent accidents. By following these requirements, ship owners, operators and crew can ensure that their ships are fit for service and comply with the international standards. For more information on SOLAS chapter 12 and other chapters, you can visit the website of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at https://www.imo.org/.