The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), as requested by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has developed measures (Technical Provisions) to implement the new international requirements designed to improve access to and within the cargo areas of tankers and bulk carriers. The new requirements will apply to oil tankers of 500 grt and over and to bulk carriers of 20,000 grt and over, constructed on or after January 1, 2004 and will take effect from January 2004.
The amendments to the SOLAS Regulation will make it easier for Classification surveyors,crew members and others to conduct inspections, with a strong emphasis on close-up checksin critical areas of the ship’s structure. The changes also take account of the growing numbersof double hull oil tankers and bulk carriers entering service.
As proposed, the revised SOLAS regulation will require direct access to cargo spaces (including holds, cofferdams, ballast tanks and cargo tanks) from the open deck. Means of access must be provided for inspection purposes. Safe access to double bottom spaces may be from a pump room, deep cofferdam, pipe tunnel, cargo hold, double hull space or “similar compartment not intended for the carriage of oil or hazardous cargoes”.
Cargo holds will require at least two means of access, located as far apart as possible. Adiagonal layout for access points is favoured. As for tanks and subdivisions, spans with alength of 35 m or more will require at least two access hatchways and ladders, again as farapart as practicable. Tanks subdivided by wash bulkheads or other obstructions must alsohave two means of access.
Robin Bradley, IACS, UK - (+44) (0) 20 7976 0660