Statutory alert: New unified interpretations on downflooding points
Applicability: Owners and managers of ships with openings that may be left uncovered
New unified interpretations have been developed to highlight the issue of openings on ships that may be left uncovered.
This follows an accident where a vessel sank – resulting in the loss of life – because some openings (fitted with closing appliances and therefore not considered as downflooding points in stability calculations) were left uncovered in order for the vessel to carry out her normal duties.
The International Association of Classification Societies has identified all the instances where downflooding points are mentioned in statutory requirements and developed new unified interpretations.
These new unified interpretations now make it clear that if, for operational reasons, openings that are fitted with covers will be uncovered, the opening needs to be considered as a downflooding point in stability calculations. The new unified interpretations have been agreed by the International Maritime Organization and appropriate circulars have been issued.
Owners of existing vessels should be aware of the new unified interpretations and always consider the closing appliances and their status. For exact details of the new unified interpretations, please see the following:
MSC.1/Circ.1543: Unified Interpretation relating to the IGC Code
MSC.1/Circ.1538: Unified Interpretation relating to the International Grain Code
MSC.1/Circ.1537: Unified Interpretation of the 2008 IS Code (note that only part of this circular relates to unprotected openings)
MSC.1/Circ.1539: Unified Interpretation of SOLAS Chapter II-1 (note that only part of this circular relates to unprotected openings)
MSC.1/Circ.1534: Unified Interpretation relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (note that only part of this circular relates to unprotected openings)
UI CC7 (New): Unprotected openings
UI MPC11 Rev.2: Interpretation to MARPOL I/27
UI CG17 (New): Unprotected openings
UI MPC129 (New): Unprotected openings (MARPOL I/28.3.3)
UI SC280 (New): Angle of down-flooding (ϕf)/Angle at which an opening incapable of being closed weathertight (θv)
UI LL80 (New): Unprotected openings