2010 SOLAS Deadline

Important to know for anyone researching used vessels:

2010 SOLAS Deadline Looms For Older Ships

For some of cruising’s older ships, 2010 is a watershed that could see them sent off to the breakers’ yard. That’s because on October 1, 2010, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea will require all ships of 167 signatory states making international voyages — including virtually every country where cruise ships are registered — to comply with the latest fire safety requirements. This means that for the first time, the latest regulations will apply even to the oldest ships as the grandfather clauses protecting them will not longer apply. If your favorite ship was built before 1980, its future beyond that date could be in question. Among the major points in the latest rules are requirements that there be two means of egress from all atrium levels; low-level lighting systems; installation of smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire detectors and fire alarm systems in all accommodations and service areas; and fireproof enclosures around all stairways. Most of these rules went into effect by October 1, 2005, which means all ships in service today already comply. But full compliance with the latest SOLAS regulations won’t be required until 2010, when all ships regardless of age will be required to be free of almost all combustible materials in their construction. Many ships built before 1980, and especially those built before the 1970’s, were constructed under older rules that allowed combustible materials. Replacing all the combustible materials in these ships may be prohibitively expensive, and owners may choose to scrap them instead and take the opportunity to replace them with more modern ships that more easily comply with today’s stringent safety standards.

This would definitely apply to any used ship bought and put into service again carrying passengers between ports – it must be brought up to SOLAS standards, or the port and/or flagging state will object. If you just anchored a flagless ship offshore, I’m not sure if SOLAS applies, but it might be a good idea to follow it for PR purposes. It’s a tricky question about when to break the rules: on the one hand, ignoring the new SOLAS could let a group snap up a ship that no one else can use for scrap prices. On the other hand, it makes the operation look unsafe and shady from the beginning, to ports, shipyards, flagging states, etc.


4 thoughts on “2010 SOLAS Deadline”

  1. 1.  Anchoring a flagless ship offshore has some problems: A. A ship without a flag is treated as a pirate.  B. Right of innocent passage probably assumes moving through waters, not being stationary.  C. It may not be physically possible to anchor beyond a continental shelf; the ocean floor may be thousands of meters underwater there.  (I don’t know if using thrusters to maintain a position over ground is considered passage; anchoring probably isn’t.)

    2.  Safety is a good idea.  I hate unnecessary over-regulation as much as any libertarian, but some safety rules make sense and may actually be beneficial.  Not using flammable materials may be one such rule.  Having adequate lifeboat capacity is probably another (unless we really desparately want to repeat the Titanic disaster).  Etc.  (In some ways SOLAS could be considered minimum standards that nearly everyone could agree on based on real world experiences.  As such, they’re generally not going to be overbearing or excessive.  Some of them may even be somewhat sensible.)

    Seasteads will have plenty of enemies, natural and man-made.  Safety should not be an enemy.  It should be a friend.

    Having well thought out safety standards, SOLAS or not, could be a marketing point to take away some of the psychological and physical risk of living on the ocean.  In other words, protecting the lives of visitors and inhabitants could be a competitive advantage.  Why throw it away pre-emptively?

    On the contrary, building to exceed SOLAS regulations may make the venture more economically viable by reducing risk to investors, insurers, etc.

    Put another way, Volvo probably hasn’t lost too many sales for being perceived as making cars that are too safe.  On the contrary, their brand and success are arguably built on it.

    Being on the ocean is inherently very dangerous.  Lots of things can kill you from storms, to waves, to falls, to hypothermia, to pirates, to navies.  It’s probably a good idea to err on the side of caution and take safety seriously.

  2. I think that if one is forming their own nation, and they wanted to form a raft of boats that were less than desirable for carrying humans, they could certainly benefit from the mass of boats that will be available.. but, if this is like most things, the regulations take years to be effective.  So, for now, the only available ships are in the 400,000.00 range for 50 person 300′ barges, etc… most are in the 1million range… i love drooling over them at apollo duck ship uk web page

    David Walen

    Attempting to Leave Living Footprints


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