New requirements for onboard stability instruments applicable to all tankers will be effective from 1st January 2016. MARPOL Annex I Ch.4, the IBC/BCH Code and the IGC/GC Code have all been amended, requiring tankers to be fitted with a stability instrument capable of handling both intact and damage stability. The new requirement is retroactive and applies to both new and existing ships as follows:
(1) Ships constructed (keel laid) on or after 1st January 2016 – at delivery.
(2) Ships constructed (keel laid) before 1 January 2016 – at the first renewal survey on or after 1st January 2016, but no later than 1st January 2021. Ships carrying onboard stability instruments already approved and certified by a recognized organization, and capable of verifying both intact and damage stability to a standard acceptable to the administration, may continue to use such an instrument.
Alternatively, owners and operators can apply to their flag administration for a waiver if their vessel is loaded in accordance with approved conditions and falls into one of the following categories:
- tankers that are on a dedicated service, with a limited number of permutations of loading so that all anticipated conditions have been approved in the stability information provided to the master in accordance with the relevant regulations
- tankers where stability verification is made remotely by a means approved by the administration
- tankers that are loaded within an approved range of loading conditions
- tankers constructed before 1 July, 2016, provided with approved limiting KG/GM curves covering all applicable intact and damage stability requirements.
The stability instrument must be approved by Class or the Flag Administration, taking into account the performance standards recommended by the IMO (Part B, chapter 4 of the 2008 IS Code; Annex, Section 4 of the Circular MSC.1/Circ.1229; and the technical standards defined in part 1 of the Circular MSC.1/Circ. 1461). The loading instrument (software) should have a Document of Approval which clearly reflects this capability. The Program Installation Test certificate from Class will serve this purpose if it clearly states that both intact and damage stability aspects are covered by the software.
If vessels require a new and/or upgraded stability software installation to comply with the latest requirements, the software should have a valid Class Approval Certificate clearly specifying ‘Type 2’ or ‘Type 3’ software. To avoid complications associated with developing suitable KG/GM limit curves and their potential restriction on operational capacity, we strongly recommend that Type 3 stability software is fitted on board.
The new requirements have been introduced to MARPOL Annex I and the IBC, IGC, BCH and GC Codes by IMO Resolutions MEPC.248(66), MSC.369(93), MSC.370(93), MSC.376(93) and MSC.377(93)), respectively, to make the provision of a stability instrument mandatory on board all oil tankers, chemical tankers and gas carriers. Vessels are still required to carry approved stability documentation regardless of whether they are fitted with an approved stability instrument or not.
IOPP Form B certificates for oil tankers and IBC/BCH and IGC/GC Certificates of fitness for chemical tankers and gas carriers will be required to reflect the provision of an approved stability instrument on board in accordance with the new regulations, or, alternatively, the applicable waivers granted by the administration.