SOLAS is the IMO convention to ensure Safety Of Life At Sea.

Rescue vessel

The SOLAS convention was initiated after the Titanic disaster, and the first set of international standards to enhance Safety Of Life At Sea came in 1929. The main focus in this set of requirements was on watertight integrity, structural fire protection, fire resistance of bulkheads above the bulkhead deck and to create main vertical zones.

SOLAS is a set of statutory requirements. This means that it is the flag state authority’s responsibility to make sure that their ships are in compliance with this convention. For most flag state authorities DNV GL is authorised to ensure this compliance on behalf of the flag state.

Since the first edition was introduced in 1929 SOLAS has been amended several times. The convention now regulates basic safety aspects for ships on international voyages such as stability, machinery, electrical installations, fire safety, lifesaving appliances, navigation, communication, safe operation, maritime safety etc. The keel laying date of the ship decides which edition of SOLAS is applicable.

In addition to the SOLAS convention, other documents provide guidance or further requirements related to SOLAS. These are IMO Codes (Eg. International Safety Management (ISM) Code, Fire Safety Systems (FSS) Code, Fire Test Procedures (FTP) Code, Life-Saving Appliances (LSA) Code) that are stand-alone documents made mandatory under SOLAS Chapters and IMO Resolutions or Circulars. These are referred to in SOLAS and may be mandatory or guidance notes.

DNV GL surveyors world wide together with local approval centres and several sections at DNV GL’s Head Office involved to ensure that all the different safety aspects of SOLAS are covered.

The chapters of SOLAS are as follows:

II-1Construction (stability, machinery, electrical installations)
II-2Fire protection
IIILife saving appliances
IVRadio communications
VICarriage of cargoes
VIICarriage of dangerous goods
VIIINuclear ships
IXManagement for the safe operation of ships
XSafety measures for high-speed craft
XIMeasures to enhance maritime safety
XIIAdditional safety measures for bulk carriers

Related contact information

SOLAS - Fire safety and Lifesaving

for GL classes

Related contact information

SOLAS - Machinery

for GL classes

Related contact information

SOLAS - Stability

for DNV classed

for GL classes