Harmonized system of ship survey and certification enters into force

A harmonized system of survey and certification covering international shipping regulations
adopted by the International Maritime Organization enters into force on 3 February 2000.
The system covers survey and certification requirements of the
 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974,
 The International Convention on Load Lines, (LL) 1966,
 The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973,
as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78),
 The International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying
Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code),
 Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous
Chemicals in Bulk (BCH Code) and
 Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in
Bulk (IGC Code).
All these instruments require the issuing of certificates to show that requirements have been met
and this has to be done by means of a survey which can involve the ship being out of service for
several days. The harmonized system will alleviate the problems caused by survey dates and
intervals between surveys which do not coincide, so that a ship should no longer have
to go into port or repair yard for a survey required by one convention shortly after
doing the same thing in connection with another instrument.

The harmonized system
In practice, many Administrations and classification societies already operate a form of
harmonized survey and certification. Moreover, a resolution adopted by the IMO Assembly in
1991, and amended in 1993 (Resolution A.718(17), as modified by resolution A.745(18)), allowed
for Governments which had ratified the 1988 SOLAS and Load Lines Protocols to implement the
harmonized system ahead of the entry into force date of the protocols.



The harmonized system provides for:
 a one-year standard interval between surveys, based on initial, annual,
intermediate, periodical and renewal surveys as appropriate;
 a scheme for providing the necessary flexibility for the execution of each
survey with the provision that the renewal survey may be completed
within three months before the expiry date of the existing certificate with
no loss of its period of validity;
 a maximum period of validity of five years for all certificates for cargo
ships;
 a maximum period of validity of 12 months for the Passenger Ship Safety
Certificate;
 a system for the extension of certificates limited to three months to
enable a ship to complete its voyage (or one month for ships engaged on
short voyages);
 when an extension has been granted, the period of validity of the new
certificate is to start from the expiry date of the existing certificate before
its extension.
The main changes to the SOLAS and Load Lines Conventions are that annual inspections have
been made mandatory for cargo ships and unscheduled inspections have been discontinued.
Other changes refer to survey intervals and requirements.


Assembly resolution
In November 1999, IMO's 21
st
Assembly adopted resolution A.883(21) Global and uniform
implementation of the harmonized system of survey and certification (HSSC), which is
aimed at encouraging all States to implement the harmonized system of survey and certification
(HSSC), even if they are not parties to the relevant Protocols, which enter into force on 3 February
2000.







Further information
1 Types of ship survey
Initial survey - A complete inspection of all the items relating to the particular certificate before
the ship is put into service to ensure they are in a satisfactory condition and fit for the service for
which the ship is intended.
Periodical survey - Inspection of the items relating to the particular certificate to ensure that
they are in a satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which the ship is intended.
Renewal survey - As per periodical survey but leads to the issue of a new certificate.
Intermediate survey - Inspection of specified items
Annual survey - General inspection of the items relating to the particular certificate to ensure
that they have been maintained and remain satisfactory for the service for which the ship is
intended.
Additional survey - Inspection, either general or partial according to the circumstances, to be
made after a repair resulting from casualty investigations or whenever any important repairs or
renewals are made.

2 List of certificates required on board ship relating to harmonized system of survey
and certification (some depend on type of ship)
 Passenger Ship Safety Certificate, including Record of Equipment
 Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate
 Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate, including Record of Equipment
 Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate, including Record of Equipment
 Cargo Ship Safety Certificate, including Record of Equipment
 International Load Lines Certificate
 International Load Lines Exemption Certificate
 International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate
 International Pollution Prevention Certificate for the Carriage of Noxious Liquid Substances
in Bulk
 International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk
 International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Liquefied Gases in Bulk
 Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk