Further to Class News 13/2017, the IMO has adopted a new mandatory International Code for Safety for Ships Carrying Industrial Personnel (IP Code)*. It is mandated through a new Chapter XV# in SOLAS, which enters into force on 1 July 2024.

SOLAS defines “industrial personnel” (IP) as 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).

Application

The new code applies in its entirety, on or after 1 July 2024, to cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft that are:

  • Of 500gt and upwards
  • Engaged on international voyages
  • Carrying more than 12 industrial personnelǂ
  • Constructed (keel laid) on or after 1 July 2024; or
  • Existing vessels that are not certified to carry industrial personnel prior to 1 July 2024.

A reduced version of the code will apply to vessels authorised to carry industrial personnel prior to 1 July 2024 (see below).

A prerequisite for the applicability of SOLAS Chapter XV and the IP Code is that a vessel has SOLAS cargo ship certificates or high-speed craft code certificates, as applicable.

Flag Administrations may allow certification to the IP Code for non-convention vessels, i.e. those less than 500gt or not engaged on international voyages.
(Click here for the attached application flow chart).

Authorisation prior to July 2024

Prior to the IP Code entering into force on 1 July 2024, vessels have the option to request authorisation from the flag Administration to carry more than 12 industrial personnel, 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)).

Such vessels can then gain IP Code certification after 1 July 2024 by complying with some additional requirements for training, safe personnel transfer, life-saving appliances and dangerous goods. These additional requirements on cargo ships need to be evaluated before the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 July 2024. For high-speed cargo craft, the evaluation has to take place before the first renewal or third periodical survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 July 2024.

SPS Code vessels

Vessels constructed before 1 July 2024, operating with a large number of persons on board, that have not been certified in accordance with Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships, 2008 (2008 SPS Code) or MSC. 418(97), may have difficulty complying with the IP Code if they wish to carry more than 12 industrial personnel after 1 July 2024.

Vessels built under the 1984 SPS Code – Resolution A.534(13), which are currently carrying special personnel (SP) and industrial personnel, but have no authorisation from their Administration to confirm that they are allowed to operate in line with Resolution MSC.418(97), may have difficulty complying with the stability requirements from the IP Code.

What should shipowners and ship managers do now?

For vessels constructed before 1 July 2024 and wanting to carry more than 12 industrial personnel, early engagement with the flag Administration is encouraged to request authorisation in accordance with the Interim recommendations on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel onboard vessels engaged on international voyages (Resolution MSC.418(97)).

# SOLAS amendments published as Resolution MSC.521(106)
* IP Code is published as Resolution MSC.527(106)
ǂ The number of industrial personnel is the aggregate number of industrial personnel, special personnel and passengers carried on board (where the number of passengers shall not exceed 12).