implementation of atmosphere testing instrument

08 September 2015  |  C15030

Following the implementation of new SOLAS Regulation XI-1/7, as of July 1, 2016 all ships shall carry an appropriate atmosphere testing instrument and suitable means shall be provided for the calibration of such instrument.

Ship Owners / Managers / Operators  |  Flag Administrations  |  Surveyors

IMO MSC 93, having confirmed that SOLAS regulation III/ does not introduce carriage requirements for atmosphere testing instruments for enclosed spaces, recognized the need to implement the draft new SOLAS regulation XI-1/7 early, in order to expedite the carriage of portable atmosphere testing instruments for enclosed spaces.

Consequently the MSC 94, in adopting resolution MSC.380(94) invited SOLAS Contracting Governments to voluntarily implement SOLAS regulation XI-1/7, as set out below, to ships entitled to fly their flags, as soon as practicable, taking into account that the entry into force date of the corresponding amendments to SOLAS is July 1, 2016.


SOLAS Regulation XI-1/7 requirements

The new regulation requires that every ship, to which SOLAS Chapter I applies, shall carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument or instruments.  IMO has implemented guidelines to facilitate the selection of portable atmosphere testing instruments for enclosed spaces as required by SOLAS Regulation XI-1/7 through MSC.1/Circ.1477.

As a minimum, these instruments shall be capable of measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapours, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide prior to entry into enclosed spaces.  On the recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships refer to the IMO Resolution A.1050(27).

Instruments carried under other requirements may satisfy this regulation.  Suitable means shall be provided for the calibration of all such instruments.


how to select a portable atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces as required by SOLAS Regulation XI-1/7

The MSC 93 approved the guidelines to facilitate the selection of portable atmosphere testing instruments for enclosed spaces as required by SOLAS regulation XI-1/7 and outlined above.  The guidelines refer to the instrument that is used to test the atmosphere in an enclosed space before entry and at appropriate intervals thereafter until all work is completed.  They do not refer to a personal gas detector that is intended to be carried by an individual whilst inside the enclosed space.

The instrument should be capable of remote sampling and detection for all gases that it is designed for, without interference from the atmosphere or other characteristics of the intervening space.  Upon activation, the instrument should perform a “self-test” which indicates that the instrument is functioning correctly.

Training requirements should be considered when selecting the instrument.  Any atmosphere testing should be performed by trained personnel.

The instrument should be capable of measuring and displaying concentrations of oxygen; flammable gases or vapours (% of LFL); carbon monoxide; and hydrogen sulphide,  The instrument should clearly and unambiguously show which gas or vapour it is measuring (noting that the display may be switchable or menu accessible).  If the instrument is fitted with an alarm function, it should activate at the appropriate level as determined by the flag State Administration.


requirements for enclosed space entry

For the requirements on the safe entry into an enclosed space, Managers / Owners / Operators shall refer to Dromon FAQ concerning this subject here.


act now

Ship Owners / Managers are encouraged not to await the entry into force (i.e. July 1, 2016) of this new regulation and provide ships with the appropriate instrument.  This equipment is supplementary to the personal gas detectors carried by individuals whilst in the enclosed space.  In addition, ship Managers must conduct necessary amendments in the Safety Management System (SMS) for the training of personnel on the use of the instrument as well as its calibration.

Dromon Surveyors shall start checking this new requirement.  Already SOLAS Regulation III/19 amended by MSC is in force from January 01, 2015 requires that crew members with enclosed space entry or rescue responsibilities to participate in an enclosed space entry and rescue drill on board the ship at least once every two months.  One of the requirements of such a drill is to check the use of instruments for measuring the atmosphere in enclosed spaces.  Although the regulation does not specifically refer to the carriage for atmosphere testing instruments for enclosed spaces it is this Bureau interpretation that such an instrument shall be carried on board ships.

In case a ship does not comply with the forthcoming requirement, Surveyors shall impose a recommendation (refer to QSP 3.2-1/Form 02) with a rectification date maximum three (3) months from date of imposing.  The recommendation will appear in the survey status report of the ship and our ERETES platform for ship Owners / Managers to follow up.

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