Amended requirements for anchor equipment on board new vessels of less than 24 metres

The NMA considers the anchor equipment as a part of the safety equipment on a vessel. In the last couple of years, there have been several serious incidents where vessels have had engine breakdown and the anchor equipment has prevented the vessel from grounding and sinking. Having an anchor arrangement that can keep the vessel in position even in bad weather conditions, is therefore important for the safety of the crew and vessel.

The amendment means that the requirements for anchor equipment will be stricter. Until now, anchor equipment has been required for vessels of 15 to 24 metres in length (L), only as a function of the overall length of the ship. This is a weakness compared to the legislation that applies to vessels of more than 24 metres in overall length (L), where the anchor equipment requirement is a function of the vessel's displacement and windage.  Taking into account today's large displacement vessels, we consider the current anchor weight requirement to be too low for vessels of an overall length between 15 and 24 metres. Over the recent years, there has been a development towards wider, deeper and taller vessels with more displacement and windage. This means that existing requirements to a smaller extent cater for the need of anchor equipment. Pursuant to current provisions, a vessel of 15 metres in overall length will be required to be equipped with only one anchor weighing a minimum of 72 kilos, regardless of the displacement and windage.

The anchor equipment requirement for fishing vessels of less than 24 metres should comply with the corresponding legislation for cargo vessels of less than 24 metres in length (L). This amendment will harmonise the rules for fishing and cargo vessels of less than 24 metres.

Since carrying out the corresponding anchor arrangement requirements on existing vessels can be very expensive, and since it may include extensive conversions and be challenging to fit the new anchor arrangement, the amendment only applies to newbuildings. The amendment will have no consequences for existing vessels, unless a major conversion is done that affects the anchor equipment requirements, such as an extension of the vessel.

Emergency stop for bilge pumps

The Norwegian Maritime Authority now allows for the bilge pumps to be so arranged as to be capable of being started and stopped manually (locally) and to be stopped automatically by means of a level switch in each bilge well connected to the well pump. This may increase the safety of maintenance work and similar, since the person carrying out the work is in better control of unintentional start-up of the pump. The level switch used for automatic start and stop shall not be identical with the one that initiates the high-water level alarm in the wheelhouse. Based on suggestions from the industry, the NMA allows for an alternative solution in addition to the current requirements, giving the shipping company a wider scope of action for finding practical solutions based on their own needs.

Power-operation for side and stern hatches

Within the deadline, side and stern hatches on open shelter deckers must be power-operated and fitted with operating controls etc. This also applies to existing vessels who will need to have this in place before the first certificate renewal after 1 July 2022.

The amendment is partly based on Safety recommendation MARINE No. 2016/05T from the Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN), where the AIBN expresses uncertainty as to whether the NMA's legislation and supervision are sufficient when it comes to the safe operation of open shelter deckers. The Østbanken accident, which this case refers to, led to the vessel sinking and the crew members being picked up by a helicopter under very dramatic circumstances. The outcome could easily have been that the whole crew of five died in the accident.

New code for intact stability

The reference to the Intact Stability Code IMO Res. A.749(18) is replaced by the International Code on Intact Stability, 2008.

The amendment means that the greatest angle of heel caused by constant wind must not exceed 16° or 80% of the angle where the deck comes into water is made a mandatory requirement. In Res. A.749(18), it is suggested to limit this angle to 16°.

This could imply that new vessels designed with a large surface exposed to wind (large superstructures) will have stricter stability requirements. In practice, each year very few new vessels have enough windage to make the design affected by this amendment.  For newbuildings or rebuilds affected by the amendment, the requirement may affect the need for permanently fixed ballast or the design of the part of the vessel that is exposed to wind. The actual calculation of the criteria is done in a computer program based on already available data, so it should not add significant cost.

Deep fryers and saunas

The Norwegian Maritime Authority introduces a requirement that deep fryers that are installed on board a vessel after the enforcement of the amendment must have a fixed gas fire-extinguishing system or a fire-extinguishing system providing similar protection, since hot oil makes it difficult to extinguish a fire manually by using a hand-held device.

Over the recent years, saunas have become common on board fishing vessels. The NMA recognises the need to align the requirements for such spaces with similar SOLAS requirements for other vessel types. Part B of the Regulations is otherwise identical to the requirements in SOLAS.

You can read more about the amendment in Circular RSR 18-2020, which is found here.