Regulations on service of life-saving equipment

SOLAS amendments

The IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) made a number of amendments to SOLAS (The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.) Chapter III. These amendments came into effect internationally on 1 January 2020, through Resolution MSC.404(96) and will be incorporated into Swedish law in the summer of 2020 by amendments to TSFS 2009:93 (The Swedish Transport Agency's Regulations and General Advice on Life-Saving Equipment and Life-Saving Appliances on board Vessels Covered by SOLAS, 1974).

The SOLAS amendments imply the following:

• That on board all vessels covered by the new regulations, it must be ensured that the life-saving equipment is reliable, and that the shipping companies has the overall responsibility for seeing that this is done. The reliability is to be ensured through maintenance, testing and inspections of the equipment, in accordance with Resolution MSC.402(96).
• That the service providers engaged to carry out maintenance, testing and inspections of life-saving equipment, must be authorised to carry out these tasks. This means that the Swedish Transport Agency is to approve the (Swedish and foreign) service providers engaged to service life-saving equipment on Swedish vessels.

As regards inflatable life-saving equipment, the following already applies:

• Inflatable life rafts, life jackets and marine evacuation systems shall be serviced at intervals of no more than 12 months at a servicing station approved by the Swedish Transport Agency.
• Repairs and maintenance of inflatable rescue boats shall be carried out in accordance with Resolution Res.A.761(18).

At present, the Swedish Transport Agency cannot approve service providers and servicing stations

In the present situation, the Swedish Transport Agency lacks legal authority to approve service providers and servicing stations, which also means that we cannot survey them. Nor is there any other Swedish organisation that is authorised to issue equivalent approvals.

Forthcoming legal change

We have initiated a process to effect a legal change enabling us to approve service providers and servicing stations.

What applies during the period before the legal change becomes effective?

Before the legal change is completed, the following applies:
• Swedish shipping companies, service providers and servicing stations shall carry out service in accordance with the new regulations in Resolution MSC.402(96) and, as regards inflatable life-saving equipment, Res.A.761(18), but the Swedish Transport Agency will not require this service to be carried out by a service provider or servicing station approved by us.
• Swedish shipping companies may engage a service provider or servicing station, be it Swedish or foreign, that is approved by a classification society recognised by the EU.
• Swedish service providers and servicing stations requiring our approval may instead be approved by a classification society recognised by the EU.