New IMO requirements on authorized service providers for life-saving appliances

New IMO requirements for the maintenance, examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats is entering into force on 1 January 2020. This statutory news is an updated version of news 22/2017, providing information on the new requirements and guidance on how to ensure compliance.

Technical Regulatory News 18, 2019 - lifeboat

Relevant for ship owners and managers, yards, suppliers and flag states.


According to the IMO Resolution MSC.402(96), from 1 January 2020, maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing overhaul and repair of the following items shall be carried out by authorized service providers*:

  • Lifeboats (including free-fall lifeboats), rescue boats and fast rescue boats
  • Launching appliances as well as on-load and off-load release gear for lifeboats (including primary and secondary means of launching appliances for free-fall lifeboats), rescue boats, fast rescue boats and davit-launched life rafts

Qualification levels

The following inspection intervals are described:

  • Weekly and monthly inspections shall be conducted by authorized service providers, or by shipboard personnel under the direction of a senior ship’s officer in accordance with the maintenance manual(s).
  • Annual thorough examinations and operational tests shall be conducted by certified personnel from either the manufacturer or an authorized service provider*. The service provider may be the ship operator, provided they are authorized.
  • A five-yearly thorough examination, any overhaul, overload operational tests and repairs shall be conducted by certified personnel from either the manufacturer or an authorized service provider. This shall be done in the presence of a DNV GL surveyor.

The scope is further described in the IMO Resolution MSC.402(96), sections 6.1 (general), 6.2 (annual thorough examination and operational tests) and 6.3 (five-yearly thorough examination, overhaul and overload operational tests).

Authorized service provider*

An authorized service provider* is an entity authorized by the flag administration (or its recognized organizations, ROs) in accordance with the requirements given in the IMO Resolution MSC.402(96), section 8. The authorization shall be limited to each make and type** of equipment to be serviced. Flag administrations (or their ROs) will issue the authorization document and ensure that information regarding authorized service providers is made available.

Unless flag administration instructs otherwise, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are not required to be authorized when acting as service providers for their own equipment, however, their personnel need to be certified. IACS UR Z17 Rev.14 corresponds to IMO Resolution MSC.402(96), so an AoSS (Approval of Service Supplier) certificate referring to IACS UR Z17 Rev.14 would be considered equivalent to one referring to the IMO Resolution MSC.402(96).

Flag administrations may also accept or recognize service providers authorized by other administrations or by their ROs. In cases where a manufacturer is no longer in business or no longer provides technical support, administrations may authorize service providers for the equipment based on prior authorization for the equipment and/or long-term experience and demonstrated expertise as an authorized service provider.

Certification of service personnel

Service personnel shall be certified by the manufacturer or by an authorized service provider for each make and type** of the equipment to be worked on. An authorized service provider can only certify its own personnel (i.e. employed by the same service provider).

Certification of service personnel shall be performed in accordance with a recognized national, international or industry standard as applicable, or a manufacturer’s established certification programme. In either case, the certification process and programme shall comply with requirements of the IMO Resolution MSC.402(96), section 8, for each make and type** of equipment for which service is to be provided.

Upon completion of personnel certification, a certificate shall be issued (by the manufacturer or service provider) defining the level of qualification (annual or five-yearly) and the scope of the certification (i.e. makes and model of equipment). The expiry date shall clearly be stated on the certificate and shall not exceed three years from the date of issuance.

For further clarifications, please refer to the FAQs available in the Appendix of this statutory news as PDF document.

*Please note that IACS Approved Service Suppliers (AoSS) are the same as authorized service providers as defined in the IMO Resolution MSC.402(96).

**The definition of “make and type” is the same as “make and model” mentioned in IACS UR Z17 para 5.1.1 and is understood as the following:

  • Make of equipment: name of equipment’s manufacturer (for example: Beijing Lifesaving Co., Ltd.)
  • Type of equipment: type/model of equipment, or series of equipment if there is no difference in maintenance and examination (for example: LBBJ04T or LBBJ series), but not the kind of equipment such as “lifeboats”

The specification of the model or series in the competency certificate should be left to each manufacturer or service supplier who retains the responsibility for the certification process of service personnel.


  • Approach your regular service suppliers to ensure they are approved for servicing your life-saving appliances, and obtain certificates proving so. Do not wait until annual surveys are due.
  • Ensure compliance with the new requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear.
  • Whenever work required by an authorized service provider is carried out, ensure the following is received:
    • Service report
    • Personnel certificate
    • AoSS certificate proving compliance with the IMO Resolution MSC.402(96) or IACS UR Z17 Rev.14 for the make and type of the on-board equipment

Some flag administrations have specific instructions the vessels flying their flags. Owners, managers and service suppliers shall therefore confirm with their flag administrations if any additional or special requirement apply.


  • FAQs available in the Appendix of this statutory news as PDF document
  • IMO Resolution MSC.402(96): Requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear
  • IMO Resolution MSC.404(96): Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended, containing amendments to SOLAS III/3 and III/20
  • IACS UR Z 17 Rev.14, available at IACS homepage


  • For customers:
    DATE – Direct Access to Technical Experts via My Services on Veracity.
  • Otherwise:
    Use our office locator to find the nearest DNV GL office.
27 July 2021

IMO update: Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III 7)

The 7th session of the IMO Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III 7) was held remotely from 12 to 16 July 2021. III 7 revised the procedures for port state control and survey guidelines under the harmonized system of survey and certification (HSSC). III 7 further discussed lessons learned and safety issues identified from the analysis of marine safety investigation reports and proposed to look further into accidents involving elevators.

  • Maritime
25 June 2021

New MARPOL requirement on designated fuel oil sampling points

The 0.50% global sulphur limit for fuel oil used or carried for use has been in force since 1 January 2020. Three months later the so-called carriage ban took effect which prohibits carriage of fuel exceeding the global sulphur limit in the fuel oil tanks. To follow up on the new requirement and enable PSC to take representative samples of the fuel oil being used onboard, in-use sampling points needs to be designated. This statutory news summarizes the sampling point requirement.

  • Maritime
17 June 2021

IMO update: Marine Environment Protection Committee – MEPC 76

The 76th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 76) was held remotely with a limited agenda from 10 to 17 June 2021. MEPC 76 adopted technical and operational measures to reduce carbon intensity of international shipping, taking effect from 2023. The measures include the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), the enhanced Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) rating scheme.

  • Maritime
10 June 2021

PSC back to normal – update on Concentrated Inspection Campaigns (CICs)

Several serious incidents have initiated CICs from the major port states. The CIC on Stability in General by the Paris and Tokyo MoUs will be carried out from 1 September to 30 November 2021. The Black Sea, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Riyadh and Vina del Mar MoUs will join this initiative, whereby the Caribbean MoU, US Coast Guard and AMSA have their own CIC or local inspection campaigns. This PSC news summarizes ongoing and upcoming CICs.

  • Maritime
14 May 2021

IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 103)

The 103rd session of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) was held remotely from 5 to 14 May. The agenda ranged from the humanitarian crew change crisis to safety regulations for unmanned ships. With 200,000 seafarers still affected by the pandemic, it was recognized that the vaccination of seafarers is key to overcoming the crisis. A new goal-based IMO instrument was found to be the best way to safely introduce autonomous ships into the IMO regulatory framework, concluding the MSC review of existing instruments for this purpose.

  • Maritime
View all