2019 Marine Regulations You Need To Know About

2019 has been a busy year for the maritime world. Over the past two decades, the shipping industry has grown exponentially, currently serving almost 80% of global trade. Ships are not only becoming larger and faster, but they are also rapidly increasing in quantity.



Here are the three updated marine regulations in 2019: International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulation with the forthcoming SOLAS amendments, significant milestones for the fuel oil consumption DCS required, and the MARPOL Annex VI requiring global sulphur limit coming into force in January 2020.

Amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-1 on damage stability

MSC 82 adopted comprehensive amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-1 in relation to subdivision and damage stability requirements in order to harmonize the provisions for passenger and cargo ships. The revision of SOLAS Chapter II-1 was intensely debated over the past decade by the SLF Sub-Committee, based on the “probabilistic” method of determining damage stability, which is different from the previously used “deterministic” method. The key changes include:

  • The need of limiting stability information to contain trim
  • Changing the require subdivision index, R, for passenger vessels
  • Amending the calculation for S factor
  • Limits regarding the distance between small wells and the keel lines unless a damage stability check is made and the introduction of a minimum limit for the vertical damage extent. It also permitted a butterfly valve at the collision bulkhead on cargo ships
  • Testing of watertight hatches
  • Air pipes must terminate in a superstructure to be considered unprotected openings unless equipped with watertight means of closure
  • Removing the possibility of leaving watertight doors open

These amendments need to be incorporated into the ship’s design starting from January 1 2020.


Implementation process of IMO DCS monitoring and reporting of fuel oil consumption and CO2 emissions

In October 2016, MEPC adopted mandatory MARPOL Annex VI requirements for ships to record and report their fuel oil consumption. The IMO fuel oil consumption data collection system (IMO DCS) became effective on March 1 2018, requiring ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above to submit to their Administration annual reports on fuel oil consumption. In accordance with the latest amendments to Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI, from 1 January 2019, ships must collect fuel oil consumption data based on a methodology that must be included in the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP Part II). Namely, all procedures, systems and responsibilities should be outlined in a Data Collection Plan (DCP) included in SEEMP Part II. This would be the first reporting period effective until 31 December 2019.


Implementation of sulphur 2020 limit reduction to 0.50% - carriage ban adopted

An amendment to support consistent implementation of the forthcoming 0.50% limit on sulphur in ships fuel oil was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), 26 October 2018. The new 0.50% limit on sulphur in ship’s fuel oil will be in force from 1 January 2020, under the IMO’s MARPOL treaty, with benefits for the environment and human health. The complementary MARPOL amendment will prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship – unless the ship has an exhaust gas cleaning system (scrubber) fitted. Installing a scrubber is accepted by Flag States as an alternative means to meet the sulphur limit requirement. The complementary amendment is expected to enter into force on March 1, 2020.