SOLAS is the IMO convention to ensure Safety Of Life At Sea.
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 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 surveyors world wide together with local approval centres and several sections at DNV’s Head Office at Høvik involved to ensure that all the different safety aspects of SOLAS are covered.
The chapters of SOLAS are as follows:
|II-1||Construction (stability, machinery, electrical installations)|
|III||Life saving appliances|
|VI||Carriage of cargoes|
|VII||Carriage of dangerous goods|
|IX||Management for the safe operation of ships|
|X||Safety measures for high-speed craft|
|XI||Measures to enhance maritime safety|
|XII||Additional safety measures for bulk carriers|