International Maritime Organization & Ro-Ro Safety

The Roll-on/ Roll-off ship is one of the successful kinds operating today. Apart from its flexibility, its capability to integrate with other transport systems and speed of operation has turned it hugely popular on many shopping routes. One of the substantial roles of Ro-Ro ships is to act as a passenger ferry, especially on the short-sea routes. The Ro-Ro safety and security have been empowered by IMO for ensuring shield-protection of the sea passengers. Take a look at following to know more with the same:

Ro-ro ship safety

The Development of Ro-Ro Ships

The development of Ro-Ro ship can be traced some one hundred years back. Those ships were built for transporting trains across rivers. The ships were fitted with rails. The trains rolled straight on to the ship. The ship sailed across the river and reached another rail berth where the train rolled off again.

During the World War II, Ro-Ro ships were built for carrying tanks and other military equipments to battlefields. The Ro-Ro principle was applied on merchant ships during 1940s. The principle became popular on short sea ferry routes.

Ro-Ro ship offers a few advantages over traditional ship. The prime advantage, which a ship gets from the Ro-Ro ship, is the speed. Cars and heavy moving vehicles can drive straight on to this ship and can roll off easily at other port.

Detection of the Problem Areas

Ro-Ro ships have become successful at carrying various loads. However, some experts have expressed their concerns regarding safety.

In case of traditional ship, the hull is divided with transverse bulkheads, which are watertight. If the hull is damaged in an accident, the bulkheads will prevent or slowdown the inrush of water. The Ro-Ro ship has unpierced transverse bulkheads that offer obstacle.

The cargo access at the bow and stern of the Ro-Ro ship has a potential weak spot. With the passage of time, the side doors may get twisted or damaged when the doors serves the function of a ramp.

The movement of cargo on the deck can affect the stability of the ship. If the hull is damaged, water can rush inside rapidly causing major damage. The large superstructure can be affected by bad weather or wind easily.

IMO’s Activities in the Areas of Ro-Ro Safety

IMO was formed in 1959. Since its formation, IMO has held various conventions for addressing the safety issues of vessels including Ro-Ro ships.

In 1972, IMO framed the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. The regulation suggests some steps, which a Ro-Ro owner should take for enhancing safety when the ship travels through narrow channels, straits, etc.

The measures explained in the 1972 regulation have become successful in reducing the chances of head-on collisions. During the 1960s, the number of collisions went down drastically when ships operated in the English Channel.

Other conventions that speak about safety norms are the International Convention on Load Lines of 1966, the International Convention for Safe Containers of 1972, etc.

Ro-Ro ships have helped ship owners to transport people and goods from one place to another place at short time. Some safety issues exist with the design. IMO has framed a few regulations that have reduced the chances of head-on collisions.

Construction and Maintenance Standards of High-Speed Crafts

High-speed craft belongs to the category of sea-going vessels that include hovercraft, hydrofoils, catamarans, etc. Both the construction and operation of high-speed crafts is subjected to similar legislation that controls other merchant shipping. However, there are some additional and substitute regulations that are also taken into account because of some specific issues caused by their speed of travel.

High speed craft

High Speed Craft Codes

IMO (International Maritime Organization) framed the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft. The IMO is involved into formulating standards and regulations related to the operation of passenger and cargo ships.
The international code of safety offers an overall guidance on how to choose correct equipments and the methods of maintenance and operation of high-speed crafts.
A new regulation of IMO called SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) was framed in 1996. The new regulation made the safety code compulsory for high crafts that were manufactured on or after January 1, 1996.

Construction Standard for High-Speed Crafts

The International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft explains regarding the standards that have to be followed while manufacturing a high-speed craft. According to the safety code, the manufacturer has to consider

• Passenger and crew accommodation
• Structural factors
• Life saving, emergency and safety equipments
• Steering and control
• Machinery and propulsion systems
• Stabilization
• Navigation, radio and electrical equipments

Based on these factors, the manufacturer conducts ship surveys. In addition, operational certificates are issued after adhering to these standards.

Maintenance and Operational Standards for High-Speed Crafts

The International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft offers guidance on maintenance of the ship. The maintenance guideline includes routine maintenance, preventive inspection, etc. The code also explains how a manufacturer records and makes reports of maintenance activities.

Maintenance is the major issue that crops up during the periodic inspections of the ship. If a shipowner fails to follow the right maintenance procedures, he or she can face legal action.

The code offers detailed instructions on how to operate the high-speed crafts. By following the code, a ship owner can learn about training, emergency and safety instructions as well as carrying out steps for proper documentation. Additional instructions on training and emergency procedures are available for passenger and cargo ships.

Requirements for Ro-Ro High-Speed Craft

High-speed Ro-Ro crafts vessels like hydrofoil craft and catamarans are subjected to the general requirements of International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft. These vessels are also subjected to special regulations, especially in regards to crew and passenger safety. During the operation of these vessels, the navigation department has to follow regulations related to buoyancy and stability issues.

As per the SOLAS convention, high-speed roll on/roll off vessels are covered by damage stability requirements. Ships used for international voyages in Baltic and northwest Europe have to follow the Stockholm agreement. Both the stability requirements come into practice when damage is caused by water flooding the decks.

These are regulations which high-speed craft owners have to follow for maintaining and operating ships. During the operation, proper safety requirements of crew and passengers have to be met.