Solas (2)

The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships. The first version was adopted in 1914, in response to the Titanic disaster, the second in 1929, the third in 1948, and the fourth in 1960. The 1974 version includes the tacit acceptance procedure — which provides that an amendment shall enter into force on a specified date unless, before that date, objections to the amendment are received from an agreed number of Parties.

As a result the 1974 Convention has been updated and amended on numerous occasions. The Convention in force today is sometimes referred to as SOLAS, 1974, as amended.

Technical provisions

The main objective of the SOLAS Convention is to specify minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their safety. Flag States are responsible for ensuring that ships under their flag comply with its requirements, and a number of certificates are prescribed in the Convention as proof that this has been done. Control provisions also allow Contracting Governments to inspect ships of other Contracting States if there are clear grounds for believing that the ship and its equipment do not substantially comply with the requirements of the Convention — this procedure is known as port State control. Thecurrent SOLAS Convention includes Articles setting out general obligations, amendment procedure and so on, followed by an Annex divided into 12 Chapters.


Part 9. SOLAS-74/78,1992

Chapter II 2


l.   What are the basic principles of fire protection requirements?

1 .These basic principles are the following:

a)   division of the ship into main vertical zones by thermal and structural boundaries.

b)   separation of accommodation spaces from the remainder of the ship by thermal and structural boundaries.

c)   restricted use of combustible materials.

d)   detection of any fire in the zone of origin.

e)   extinction of any fire in the space of origin.

f)   protection of means of escape.

g)   Ready availability of fire-extinguishing appliances.

h)   minimization of possibility of ignition of flammable cargo vapour.

2. What fire-fighting equipment should cargo ships be fitted with?

   First of all there shall be permanently in all new and existing ships for the guidance of the ship’s officers general arrangement plans showing clearly for each deck the control station and various fire sections. In a cargo ship the required fire pumps shall be capable of delivering for fire-fighting purposes a quantity of water, at the appropriate pressure prescribed. All fire extinguishers shall be of approved types and designs. Fire extinguishers shall be periodically examined and subjected to such tests as the Administration may require. The use of fire extinguishers which give off toxic gases in such quantities as to endanger persons shall not be permitted. Any required fixed high expantion froth system in machinery spaces shall be capable of rapidly discharging through fixed discharge outlets a quantity of froth sufficient to fill the greatest space. Any required fixed pressure water spraying fire-extinguishing system in machinery spaces shall be provided with spraying nozzles of an approved type. Any required automatic sprinkler and fire alarm and fire protection system shall be capable of immediate operation at all times and no action by the crew shall be necessary to set it in operation.

3.   How   cargo tank protection shall be achieved on big tankers?

For tankers of 100 000 metric tons deadweight and upwards and combination carries 50000 metric tons deadweight and upwards, the   protection   of   the cargo tanks deck area and cargo tanks shall be achieved by a fixed deck froth system and a fixed inert gas system in accordance with the requirements of Convention Regulations.


4.   What is the general principal governing the provision of life- boats, life-rafts and   buoyant apparatus in a ship?

The general principal governing the provision of lifeboats, lifecrafts and buoyant apparatus in a ship is that they shall be readily available in case of emergency.

5.    What conditions should any buoyant apparatus satisfy?

N0 type of buoyant apparatus shall be approved unless it satisfies the following conditions:

a) it shall be of such size and strength that can be thrown from the place where it stowed into the water without being damaged

b) it shall not exceed 180 kilogrammes weight.

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