British Marine is in the midst of a consultation on the authorisation of service providers of live-saving appliances (LSA), in a bid to create a new Marine Guidance Note (MGN) to replace Marine Information Note (MIN) 424.
“Over the past 10 years unfortunately there have been too many injuries and deaths from use of the [above-mentioned] gear, which has led to the IMO [International Maritime Organization] investigating and issuing guidance on the appliances, both on the use of and the servicing of the equipment,” explains Edward Tuite, technical executive at British Marine. In fact, Tuite points out that the aforementioned injuries and deaths most often take place during testing drills on larger vessels.
The new MGN will set out the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's (MCA) policy of following the IMO guidance, which in turn follows the SOLAS chapter III requirements on the servicing of equipment. Tuite admits this is “not actually a big change” for the industry, yet there are clear benefits for the MCA. “This reduces burdens on the MCA needing to update their policies to keep in line with SOLAS regulations as they now directly cite the SOLAS regulations, which are currently under review,” Tuite explains.
"This should benefit all sectors including British flagged superyachts that require the equipment."
In short, the main aim of the consultation is to ensure that only authorised service providers in line with SOLAS rules service the LSA equipment on board vessels on which the LSA equipment is required, something which, according to Tuite, “should benefit all sectors including British flagged superyachts that require the equipment”. Tuite hopes the new MGN will improve clarity on exactly which companies can service essential safety items and reduce unauthorised servicing, not only improving safety but easing the management of the servicing of the safety equipment.
The consultation is currently underway and will close on 10 June, 2016. Tuite expects final publication to be at any time from Autumn 2016.