New international Code of Safety for ships carrying industrial personnel
The IMO has adopted a new mandatory International Code of Safety for Ships Carrying Industrial Personnel (IP Code), anchored in a new SOLAS Chapter XV. The code enters into force on 1 July 2024 and enables cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft to transport and accommodate industrial personnel working offshore.
A growing offshore energy sector, including renewable energy construction projects, has triggered the need for clear requirements to facilitate the safe and efficient transfer of technicians serving offshore installations. The new IP Code is based on the Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships (2008 SPS Code), but with adaptations and provisions for the training of industrial personnel, the safe transfer of personnel and the carriage of dangerous goods in combination with industrial personnel. The carriage of toxic products, low-flashpoint products, and acids as cargo will not be allowed on IP ships carrying more than 60 persons on board.
The new IP Code is intended to enable the carriage of industrial personnel and passengers, without restricting the carriage of special personnel. Wherever in the new SOLAS Chapter XV or IP Code the number of industrial personnel appears as a parameter, it shall be the aggregate number of industrial personnel, special personnel and passengers carried on board, where the number of passengers shall not exceed twelve. The new IP Code will apply to new ships constructed after 1 July 2024 and to existing ships that have not carried industrial personnel prior to 1 July 2024, and which:
- Are of 500 gross tonnage and above, and
- Operate on international voyages, and
- Carry more than a total of 12 industrial personnel, special personnel and passengers combined.
Grandfather provisions will allow existing ships, which are already authorised by the flag administration to carry industrial personnel, to obtain an Industrial Personnel Safety Certificate by complying with parts of the IP Code, i.e. the provisions for training, safe personnel transfer, life-saving appliances and the carriage of dangerous goods. The following deadlines apply:
- Cargo ships constructed before 1 July 2024 shall comply with the applicable requirements by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 July 2024.
- High-speed cargo craft constructed before 1 July 2024 shall comply with the applicable requirements by the third periodical or first renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 July 2024.