New SOLAS Chapter XV – Safety Measures for Ships Carrying Industrial Personnel


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a new SOLAS chapter XV and an associated International Code of Safety for Ships Carrying Industrial Personnel (IP Code). These regulations have been developed to establish minimum safety standards for ships that transport industrial personnel and to ensure the safety of the personnel themselves. The regulations specifically address the unique risks associated with maritime operations in the offshore and energy sectors, including personnel transfer operations. Industrial personnel covered by these regulations may be involved in activities related to the construction, maintenance, decommissioning, operation, or servicing of offshore facilities such as wind farms, oil and gas installations, aquaculture, ocean mining, and similar activities.

Here are some key details about the IP Code:

Definition of Industrial Personnel (IP): According to SOLAS, industrial personnel refers to persons transported or accommodated on board for the purpose of offshore industrial activities performed onboard other ships and/or offshore facilities, such as wind farms and oil rigs.

Applicability: The IP Code applies in its entirety to cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft that meet the following criteria:

  • Have a gross tonnage (GT) of 500 and upwards.
  • Are engaged on international voyages.
  • Carry more than 12 industrial personnel.
  • Were constructed (keel laid) on or after July 1, 2024.
  • Existing vessels that are not certified to carry industrial personnel prior to July 1, 2024.

Prerequisite: Vessels must have SOLAS cargo ship certificates or high-speed craft code certificates, as applicable, for the IP Code to be applicable.

Authorization before July 2024: Vessels have the option to request authorization from the flag Administration to carry more than 12 industrial personnel before the IP Code enters into force on July 1, 2024. This can be based on the Interim recommendations on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel onboard vessels engaged on international voyages (Resolution MSC 418(97)). After July 1, 2024, these vessels can obtain IP Code certification by complying with additional requirements related to training, safe personnel transfer, life-saving appliances, and dangerous goods.

SPS Code Vessels: Vessels constructed before July 1, 2024, that operate with a large number of persons on board and have not been certified in accordance with the Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships, 2008 (2008 SPS Code) or Resolution MSC. 418(97), may face difficulties in complying with the IP Code if they wish to carry more than 12 industrial personnel after July 1, 2024. Similarly, vessels built under the 1984 SPS Code (Resolution A.534(13)) that currently carry special personnel (SP) and industrial personnel may encounter challenges in meeting the IP Code’s stability requirements without proper authorization.

Recommendation: Shipowners and ship managers of vessels constructed before July 1, 2024, who intend to carry more than 12 industrial personnel should engage early with the flag Administration to request authorization in accordance with Resolution MSC.418(97).

The IP Code represents an important development in maritime safety and regulation, particularly for ships involved in offshore industrial activities. Shipowners and operators should be aware of the requirements and timelines to ensure compliance with this new code.

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