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The purpose of this Circular is to inform of existing, and in some areas changed, practice with regard to the arrangement of cargo rails on offshore support vessels (OSV) registered in a Norwegian Ship Register.


IC 3-2015 applies to OSVs registered in a Norwegian ship register, the keel of which is laid on or after 1 January 2016.


Offshore Support Vessel: A cargo ship that shall be engaged in the safety zones of oil

platforms or operate in the close vicinity of other offshore structures in the open sea.


Agreement of 1 June 2002 between the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and Recognized Organizations (ROs) concerning surveys of ships registered in a Norwegian ship register (the Agreement) articles 2.2 and 2.3, cf. Annex I to the Agreement paragraph 3.1 cf. Annex III to the Agreement section 2.

4.2 RSV 6-2012

Regulations of 1 July 2014 No. 1072 on the construction of ships section 11

SOLAS 1974 Regulation II-2/

Fire Safety Systems Code (FSS Code) chapter 13.3


Since the basis for the design of the cargo rails is decided already when the construction of an OSV commences, the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) emphasizes the importance of taking into account the conditions described in this circular at an early stage of the project phase.


Access from the cargo deck

Pursuant to section 11 of the Regulations of 1 July 2014 No. 1072 on the construction of ships, the cargo rail shall be fitted with side openings. The main purpose of these openings is to provide quick access to a protected area in the event of an unforeseen situation for persons on the cargo deck, both during loading and unloading operations and whilst the vessel is underway. The openings shall lead into the cargo rail.

Distance between and dimensions of the openings

The distance between two adjacent openings shall be 10 metres or less. The dimensions of the opening shall be minimum 700 mm x 2000 mm. No coamings shall be fitted.

Inner width

In many cases, the cargo rail provides the only access to the aft of the vessel. With regard to the inner width of the cargo rail, the NMA applies SOLAS Regulation II-2/, with reference to the Fire Safety Systems Code (FSS Code) chapter 13.3. This provision stipulates a clear passage of at least 700 mm.

In order to ensure an effective transport by stretcher, the requirement for clear passage applies up to a height of minimum 1200 mm above deck/gratings. At a height between 1200 mm and 2000 mm above the deck/grating, the cargo rail shall be arranged as wide as practicable, but in no circumstances less than 500 mm. The arrangement of pipes and valves, etc. must be planned at an early stage in order to achieve such passage. The design of piping systems, arrangement of emergency exit hatches, location of valves, etc. shall not prevent the clear passage.

Mooring arrangements

If bollards and other mooring arrangements are placed inside the cargo rail, it must be designed so that mooring operations may be carried out in a safe manner. There must be suitable access to the mooring arrangements and a sufficient deck area must be available for this purpose.

Use of enclosed spaces

Divided sections / enclosed spaces in the cargo rail are accepted, provided that clear passages, as specified above, are ensured. Doors leading in to such spaces shall have a clear width of at least 700 mm. With regard to escape from cargo deck, the maximum length of such sections or spaces shall be 10 metres.

Doors leading to enclosed spaces

If enclosed spaces in the cargo rail are considered as buoyancy volumes in connection with the vessel’s stability calculations, doors leading in to such spaces shall be fitted with centrally operated closing appliances. Indicators on the bridge shall show whether such door is closed or open.

---end of IC 3-2015---