Circulars
  • Date: 7/1/2014
  • Series: RSR
  • Number: RSR 10 - 2014
  • Case number: 2014/796

Dangerous goods on Norwegian ships

The Norwegian Maritime Authority has laid down new Regulations on dangerous goods on Norwegian ships, which enter into force on 15 September 2014.

Download circular as PDF

As from the same date, the Regulations of 8 December 2009 No. 1481 concerning the carriage of dangerous cargoes on Norwegian ships (Regulations 2009/1481) are repealed.

Consultation

The proposed new Regulations on dangerous goods on Norwegian ships were circulated for review from 10 January to 15 April 2014. A total of 17 consultative statements came in, whereof 11 did not include comments to the proposal.

Following the consultation we chose to adjust the structure of chapter 3, so that the chapter has one less provision than the draft that was circulated for review. This has been further described in the comment to section 10 of the Regulations. This amendment means that the section numbering of the draft as regards chapter 3 and subsequent sections does not correspond to the numbering of the adopted Regulations.

Further information about the contents of the Regulations

The Regulations lay down the principle that the carriage of dangerous goods is prohibited, insofar as it is not permitted pursuant to rules laid down with legal basis in section 2 of the Ship Safety and Security Act. The Regulations make the rules of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention chapter VII concerning the carriage of dangerous goods applicable as regulation. Certain adjustments have been made for domestic voyages, otherwise the requirements of current law have been continued. For the carriage of packaged dangerous goods on ro-ro ships forming a part of the road network in domestic trade, certain amendments have been made compared to the current Regulations. These are explained in more detail below.

Refrigerated gases

The Regulations stipulate that refrigerated gases are allowed on passenger ferries engaged on domestic voyages without passenger limitation, see Appendix 1 B to the Regulations. This is a continuation of current law.

Specifically to foam fire-extinguishing systems on vehicle decks

The starting point of the Regulations is that there is no requirement for a fixed foam fire-extinguishing system on ferries engaged on domestic voyages carrying dangerous cargo[1]. A flexible solution is instead introduced, with less strict requirements for the carriage of dangerous goods on ferries with a foam fire-extinguishing system than on ferries without. It will therefore be optional for the company whether to install a fixed foam fire-extinguishing system on the vehicle deck. The option will on the other hand be significant for the extent to which the ship may carry dangerous goods in accordance with the new Regulations, cf. sections 10 to 12 of the Regulations.

Ferries not complying with the current requirements will have to apply for an exemption pursuant to section 14 of the Regulations. The company must in the application establish that compensating measures will maintain the same level of safety as the requirement to which the application applies. In the event of applications for exemptions, it will be natural to use as a starting point the compensating measures given as conditions for previously granted exemptions to the ship. Typical conditions for the exemptions were that the carriage had to take place in favourable weather conditions and only during the times of the day with the least amount of passenger traffic, in addition to several other conditions, e.g. that the crew must have sufficient knowledge, the transport unit must be kept under observation throughout the crossing, portable foam and absorption material must be found on board, the packaging of the transport unit must be checked prior to be being brought on board, requirements for placement of transport unit and an absolute smoking prohibition on deck.

The NMA presupposes that competent authorities calling for tenders on concessions in the future, will make sure to include necessary specifications where needed, for example with requirements for fixed foam fire-extinguishing system on routes where it is necessary to carry dangerous goods without the limitations that apply for ships without such systems. With such a solution, the need for upgrades will not be present for operators under current concessions.

Specifically to requirements for training

The requirements for training, cf. Regulations 2009/1481 section 5, have been continued in that SOLAS chapter VII and the relevant Codes in general have been made applicable as regulation, in addition to the requirements pursuant to STCW[2] already implemented into Norwegian legislation by the Qualification Regulations[3]. No new requirements for approval of training have been introduced.

It is up to the companies to ensure that the requirements that follow from the Codes, cf. sections 5 and 8 of the Regulations, have been satisfied for the crew. This must be documented by the company through the safety management system. The company's compliance with these requirements will be controlled by the Norwegian Maritime Authority by way of ISM audits and supervision.

Specifically to high-speed craft

SOLAS chapter X "Safety measures for high-speed craft" and the HSC Code (International Code of Safety for High-speed Craft), with special rules on the carriage of dangerous goods on high-speed craft, have been implemented through the Regulations of 5 January 1998 No. 6 concerning the construction, equipment and operation of high-speed craft used as passenger craft or cargo craft.

High-speed craft not covered by the HSC Code are covered by the Regulations on dangerous goods that are now being laid down, and shall thus comply with the requirements stipulated therein for the carriage of dangerous goods.

Comments to the individual provisions

In the following we will comment further on the content of the individual provisions of the Regulations. Following the consultation we chose to adjust the structure of chapter 3, so that the chapter has one less provision than the proposal circulated for review. This amendment means that the section numbering in the draft as regards chapter 3 and subsequent sections does not correspond to the numbering of the adopted Regulations.

To section 1 Scope of application

Barges

Barges are covered by the term "ship", and will therefore be covered regardless of the specification in section 1. Of pedagogical reasons we have nevertheless mentioned barges specifically in the provision in order to avoid misunderstandings, since barges in principle are not covered by the scope of application of SOLAS chapter VII.

Mobile offshore units

Mobile offshore units are not mentioned in the scope of application, and are therefore not covered by the Regulations. This is a continuation of current law.

Fishing vessels

The rules regarding dangerous cargo shall apply to all Norwegian ships, including fishing vessels. The fact that fishing vessels are covered by the scope of application means that such vessels are covered by the prohibition against carrying dangerous goods, cf. section 2. In this connection, we would like to specify that the term "goods" only covers goods taken on board to be carried from A to B. A relevant issue for fishing vessels are goods being taken on board for own consumption, or goods being produced underway (such as fish oil being produced on board). Such cases are not covered by the term "goods", and therefore falls outside the scope of application of the Regulations.

High-speed craft

High-speed craft that fall outside the scope of application of the HSC Code, are covered by the Regulations.

To section 2 Prohibition

The provision codifies and specifies the starting point; that it is prohibited to carry dangerous goods unless provided otherwise by these Regulations or other regulations laid down pursuant to the Ship Safety and Security Act.

We do not see a need to include a definition of the term "dangerous goods" in the text of the Regulations, since this is provided in SOLAS chapter VII.

To section 3 Documentation

The provision continues Regulations 2009/1481 section 4 second paragraph, which is an implementation of the Directives 2009/17/EC and 2011/15/EU. A parallel provision related to polluting goods is found in section 3 of the Environmental Safety Regulations[4].

The Regulations do not set bounds for which emergency numbers to include in the documentation, cf. subparagraph e, as long as the requirement for knowledge about the goods is satisfied. The requirement will normally be satisfied by using 110 (the Norwegian emergency number in the event of a fire), but does not exclude that other numbers could be satisfactory.

To section 4 First aid in the event of chemical poisoning and procedures for fire and discharges

The provision continues Regulations 2009/1481 section 6, and supplements the latitude given to the Member States by SOLAS regulations VII/2.4 and 7-1.3, where the states on this topic are referred to the IMO's guidelines of MSC/Circ.1025 and MSC/Circ.857.

To section 5 Carriage of dangerous goods on ships engaged on foreign voyages

This is an incorporation provision, where it is stipulated that SOLAS chapter VII applies as regulation. The rules of SOLAS chapter VII in principle only apply for the cases falling within the scope of application of chapter VII. This includes the following ships engaged on international voyages: passenger ships carrying more than 12 passengers and cargo ships (incl. cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage).

SOLAS chapter VII requires the compliance with a number of IMO Codes. These Codes have been included in section 5.

The International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), cf. MSC.268(85) as amended by MSC.318(89), is made binding by SOLAS regulation VII/7-5:

"The carriage of dangerous goods in solid form in bulk shall be in compliance with the relevant provisions of the IMSBC Code, as defined in regulation VI/1-1.1."

However, this Code has also been made binding by SOLAS regulation VI/1.2. In order to avoid duplication of rules, the IMSBC Code will only be incorporated into the Regulations on the carriage of cargoes on Norwegian ships and barges, which are being laid down in parallel. Ships carrying dangerous goods will also have to relate to the Regulations on the carriage of cargoes, and will therefore find the legal basis for the requirements pursuant to the IMSBC Code there.

To section 6 Carriage of hazardous liquid substances on ships engaged in the offshore petroleum industry

The provision continues Regulations 2009/1481 section 14 first paragraph subparagraph c. A parallel wording regarding hazardous liquid substances in bulk is found in section 7 third paragraph of the Environmental Safety Regulations­.

This is a so-called "should rule". In other words, the starting point is the main rule in section 5, stipulating that SOLAS chapter VII applies as regulation, but in the cases covered by section 6, this provision provides the possibility of alternatively complying with the rules stipulated here.

To section 7 Chemical tankers and gas carriers constructed before 1 July 1986

The provision continues Regulations 2009/1481 section 14 second paragraph and section 15 second and third paragraph. The term "gas carriers" has been used to specify that this applies to ships carrying gas as cargo, not ships using gas as fuel. The provision is probably the most practical when flagging in older ships. It is in addition useful to have such a specification in regulations, so that i.a. the classification societies can easily find out which rules apply to these ships.

To section 8 Carriage of dangerous goods on ships engaged on domestic voyages

As a continuation of current law, the rules that apply to ships engaged on foreign voyages have also been made applicable to passenger ships and cargo ships engaged on domestic voyages.

To section 9 Carriage of packaged dangerous goods on ships engaged in the offshore industry on the Norwegian continental shelf

The provision continues Regulations 2009/1481 section 17 second paragraph. These are less strict Norwegian rules, which may be complied with as an alternative to satisfying SOLAS chapter VII, cf. section 8 of the Regulations. Section 9 of the proposed Regulations contained the same material terms in a revised form. After the consultation, the draft was reviewed, and we saw that the proposed section was not sufficiently clear. The NMA has therefore chosen to continue the current provision with some linguistic adjustments.

The provision contains a specification compared to the wording in the current Regulations, in that it only covers Norwegian ports. The wording in the current Regulations is not clear on this point, but the provision was never meant to apply to ships calling at foreign ports.

To section 10 Carriage of packaged dangerous goods on ro-ro ships engaged on domestic voyages

Sections 10 to 12 of the Regulations continue sections 8 to 12 of Regulations 2009/1481 regarding packaged dangerous goods on ro-ro ships engaged on domestic voyages. New rules on the carriage of dangerous goods on ferries without fixed foam fire-extinguishing system have additionally been included. These rules are also "may"-rules, and constitute an alternative to the starting point, i.e. compliance with the rules of SOLAS chapter VII, cf. section 8.

Compared to the proposed Regulations circulated for review, a slightly different structure has been chosen for ro-ro ships engaged on domestic voyages. Section 10 now includes all requirements for ro-ro ships with fixed foam fire-extinguishing system, whereas section 11 contains the requirements for ro-ro ships without fixed foam fire-extinguishing system.

Section 10 third paragraph continues the requirement of Regulations 2009/1481 for having procedures describing the safety measures to be implemented for ships carrying ADR transport units. This applies to e.g. procedures for preventing accidental events such as damage to packaging, smell, overheating of the wheel bearings, or leakage from safety valves or from the loading/unloading valves, as well as procedures for wearing anti-exposure suits. It is the company's responsibility to have the necessary procedures in place and to ensure compliance with these procedures. The procedures shall not be approved by the NMA, but the NMA may check that necessary procedures are in place when carrying out supervision. This would also be a natural part of the investigation following an accident.

The sixth paragraph contains requirements for the ADR transport unit to be kept under observation during the crossing. The master's responsibility for ensuring a watchkeeping arrangement that maintains the safety of the ship when the ship is carrying dangerous goods, has been established in section 6 paragraph 2.4 of the Regulations concerning watchkeeping[5]. It will be natural for the ship's procedures for the carriage of ADR transport units to include routines for the observation of such goods.

To section 11 Additional requirements for ro-ro ships without fixed foam fire-extinguishing system

The provision is based on information from the industry regarding which ferries carry dangerous goods, the type of goods carried and the frequency thereof. These rules stipulate that ro-ro ships without fixed foam fire-extinguishing system may, on specified terms, nevertheless carry packaged dangerous goods.

Section 11 first paragraph subparagraph e contains a requirement for carrying on board specified amounts of foam and absorption material. The requirement is a codification of conditions that have been set in order for ferries to be granted exemption for carrying dangerous goods.

To section 12 Carriage of limited quantities of packaged dangerous goods on ro-ro ships

The provision continues section 8 second paragraph of Regulations 2009/1481. The NMA received some comments to the layout of the provision (section 13 of the draft Regulations), and recognise, in light of the provision to be continued, that the draft in this regard had some shortcomings. The provision has been restructured, in line with the suggestion from the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning.

To section 13 Carriage of dangerous goods on barges

Barges are, as mentioned, not covered by the scope of application of SOLAS chapter VII. There is, however, a need for rules for the carriage of dangerous goods on barges, and current law has been continued in section 13.

To section 14 Exemptions

Section 14 first paragraph continues SOLAS regulation I/5 subparagraph a within the scope of application of the Regulations. SOLAS chapter I Part A cannot be generally implemented into Norwegian legislation, and is therefore incorporated into individual regulations where appropriate. The provision allows for the possibility to approve other solutions than those that explicitly follow from the wording of SOLAS chapter VII. The provision does not relax the requirements, but allows for the requirements to be satisfied in other ways than as stipulated by the rules. This way, the door is kept open to e.g. the development of new solutions, which were not known at the time when the new Regulations were laid down. The latitude of the provision may be delimited by internationally applicable provisions. For instance, the IGF Code[6] stipulates that technical requirements cannot be replaced by operational measures.

The second paragraph continues the exemption provision of section 3 of Regulations 2009/1481, with a somewhat different terminology.

It is a condition that an exemption will not compromise on safety and environmental considerations, and that it does not conflict with Norway's international commitments. The provision on exemption is limited to ships engaged on domestic voyages, and will here apply in addition to provisions on exemption found in SOLAS chapter VII and appurtenant Codes.

In the event of ships falling under our international commitments in SOLAS chapter VII, it will not be possible to grant exemptions beyond the openings provided by SOLAS and appurtenant Codes. The same exemptions and exceptions will also apply to ships engaged on domestic voyages, but in this regard Norway is not bound by the same international commitments, and there is thus latitude for further flexibility.

Further information about the contents of the provision
The content of the term "domestic voyages" is connected to the Regulations concerning trade areas[7] (Trade Area Regulations). Norwegian ships with a trade area laid down in chapter 2 of the Trade Area Regulations (domestic voyages) may be granted exemption pursuant to this provision. Norwegian ships with a trade area laid down in chapter 3 of the Trade Area Regulations (foreign voyages) may nevertheless also be granted exemption pursuant to this provision, but it must in these cases be specified that the exemption only applies for voyages between Norwegian ports. Oil and gas installations on the Norwegian continental shelf are also regarded as Norwegian ports, cf. section 4 of the NIS Act[8].

It is a condition that the company itself must apply in writing for an exemption. The written application should contain all relevant information and argumentation for an assessment with regard to the criteria that need to be satisfied in order for the NMA to grant such exemption.

The provision stipulates that "the Norwegian Maritime Authority may exempt". In other words, the decision whether to grant an exemption will be to the NMA's discretion. The companies applying for exemption are not legally entitled to have such exemption granted, even if they establish that they satisfy the criteria stipulated by the provision. The starting point is that the requirements of the Regulations shall be met. Only in extraordinary cases, where warranted by valid grounds, will there be an opening for making a decision to exempt.

The criteria that must be met before the NMA may grant an exemption, are meant to be narrow. There are two possibilities for granting exemptions, as stipulated by subparagraphs a and b.

That the requirement is not essential means that the requirement concerned is considered to be less essential when compared to the extraordinary reasons forming the basis for an exemption. During the processing of such applications, it will be natural to take socioeconomic consequences into account. An exemption pursuant to subparagraph a may only be granted if a waiver of the requirement concerned will still provide a solution considered overall justifiable in terms of safety.

The term "compensating measures", cf. second paragraph subparagraph b, is relatively wide, and may include a number of measures, as long as they are considered to maintain the same level of safety as the requirements of the Regulations.

Insofar as there are provisions on exemption in the sets of rules made applicable as regulation, cf. section 5, the provisions will have to be weighed against one another based on common assessments related to sources of law. Reference is for instance made to chapter 7.9 of the IMDG Code.

To section 15 Entry into force

The Regulations enter into force on 15 September 2014, as part of a coordinated entry into force of several new regulations.

Economic and administrative consequences

The Regulations for the most part continue current law. The starting point is that the NMA's legislation shall become more readily available to the users, and that it shall become easier for the industry to locate applicable requirements.

The NMA also surmises that a new and changed structure will make the maintenance of the legislation less resource-demanding for the authorities.

If companies and others have referred to regulations being repealed in their normative documents, they will have to bear the costs of incorporating and updating new references.

Section 11 of the Regulations, which provides for the possibility to carry dangerous goods on ferries without fixed foam fire-extinguishing system, will have no economic and administrative consequences of significance, except that companies will have to apply for exemptions if they wish to expand their right to carry dangerous goods beyond what they quality for pursuant to the requirements of the Regulations. The provisions have been developed in cooperation with the industry, so that today's practice for the carriage of dangerous goods has for the most part been continued. Consequently, the majority of ferries will still be allowed to carry dangerous goods the same way as before. In the very few cases where this is not the case, the NMA will consider granting exemptions pursuant to section 14, so that they may continue to carry dangerous goods. With such a solution, there will be no need for upgrades for operators under current concessions. The provisions will thus not trigger claims for public financing.

As mentioned, the NMA presupposes that competent authorities calling for tenders on concessions in the future, will make sure to include necessary specifications where needed, for example with requirements for fixed foam fire-extinguishing system on routes where it is necessary to carry dangerous goods without the limitations that apply for ships without such systems.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority presupposes that the overall gain of the new Regulations on the carriage of dangerous goods is larger than the associated costs related to their adoption.

[1] In the new Regulations on fire protection on ships, laid down by the NMA in parallel with these Regulations, the content of the rules has been changed, so that there is no longer a requirement for ro-ro ships carrying dangerous goods to have a fixed foam fire-extinguishing system. If such a system is installed on the ship, however, the technical requirements that follow from the current Regulations have been continued.

[2] International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers

[3] Regulations of 22 December 2011 No. 1523 concerning qualifications and certificates for seafarers

[4] Regulations of 30 May 2012 No. 488 concerning environmental safety for ships and mobile offshore units

[5] Regulations of 27 April 1999 No. 537 concerning watchkeeping on passenger ships and cargo ships

[6] International Code for Ships using Gas or other Low Flash-Point Fuels

[7] Regulations of 4 November 1981 No. 3793

[8] Act of 12 June 1987 No. 48 relating to a Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS)

 

For the full text of the Regulations, please see PDF.

Back to top