Ship’s lifting appliances may come under regulation through Solas, believes Richard Brough, technical director to the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA). He reminded Marine Propulsion of the number of tragic incidents from all kinds of failures of lifting gear, including some fatalities. In one case, an entire crane fell into a hold and in another, a barge skipper was killed while loading stores onto a vessel.
He said that has been “a misconception” that inspections for this equipment are required to be done by classification societies. This can be done under voluntary arrangements and only covers around 3 per cent of the global fleet.
A number of maritime administrations and equipment manufacturers have been concerned about these incidents, Mr Brough said, and suggested that to establish any ruling on a solid, worldwide footing, IMO should regulate to make these inspections compulsory under Solas, since national and regional laws are something of a patchwork. However, he said, there has been stiff opposition “as a number of parties believe that we have enough legislation in place already.”
There is already an international standard: the ILO (International Labour Organization) Convention 152 (the Occupational Safety and Health (Dock Work) Convention) but this has been ratified by and is in force in only 26 states, so it is not as robust as the Solas regime, he said.
He is, like many, waiting for the outcome of a New-Zealand-led intersessional correspondence group that is now analysing incident information to find out exactly what lies behind the failures, and it is likely that a recommended course of action will be recommended to the next meeting, in March 2015, of the Ship Systems and Equipment sub-committee of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee.
And while he hopes that ship’s lifting appliance inspections will be embraced by Solas, he said he is “open to any outcome” that will push the issue up the agenda. MP