Various amendments to MARPOL and SOLAS came into force on 1 January 2015.

MARPOL Annex VI: The limit for fuel sulphur oil levels has fallen to 0.10% m/m (from 1.00%) in Emission Control Areas established to limit SOx and particulate matter emissions. The emission control areas concerned are: the Baltic Sea area; the North Sea are; the North American area; and the United States Caribbean Sea area.

The Code for recognised organisations (RO Code) became mandatory under SOLAS, MARPOL and the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966. Flag States may delegate certain responsibilities for surveying and certification of ships to “recognised organisations” (often classification societies). The RO Code provides Flag States with standard mechanisms for the oversight, assessment and authorisation of recognised organisations and clarifies the responsibilities of such organisations.

An amended SOLAS regulation III/19 was adopted in May 2013 in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident. Certain of the amendments came into force on 1 January:

  • Musters of newly embarked passengers are now required prior to or immediately upon departure has come into force. Previously, the requirement was for the muster of passengers to take place within 24 hours of embarkation.
  • Enclosed-space entry and rescue drills are now mandated. This will require crew members with enclosed-space entry or rescue responsibilities to participate in an enclosed-space entry and rescue drill at least once every two months.