Published on: 21 July 2022
The MCA has released a new public consultation on the Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection) Regulations 2023, which would replace the Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2950) and the Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection: Large Ships) Regulations (SI 1998/1012).
This will update the regulations related to the prevention of fire and explosion, suppression of fire, escape from fire, operational requirements, alternative design and arrangements and other requirements which are specific to particular situations for new and existing vessels as implemented by amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-2 and supplementary documents the Fire Safety Systems (FSS) Code and the Fire Testing Procedures (FTP) Code.
There are several amendments which have been agreed in the IMO and which have come into force internationally since UK law was last updated in 2003 by the Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2950), the new regulations will implement these amendments.
The proposed regulations apply to all passenger vessels on international and non-international voyages (except for passenger ships operating solely in internal waters) and all cargo vessels of 500GT and over on international and non-international voyages, with some limited exceptions. Vessels impacted by the new regulations should already follow the requirements of SOLAS Chapter II-2 and as such the cost impact of these new regulations is expected to be very low.
The proposed regulations include an ambulatory reference provision. This is a reference in domestic legislation to an international instrument (or part of it) which is interpreted as a reference to the international instrument as modified from time to time (and not simply the version of the instrument that exists at the time the domestic legislation is made). From a legal perspective, this will mean that any new amendments to provisions in SOLAS Chapter II-2, and other Chapters of SOLAS that are referenced in the domestic implementing legislation will automatically become UK law when they enter into force internationally.
The consultation will run from 18 July 2022 until 12 September 2022.
Consultees are invited to comment on any aspect of this consultation; however, you are specifically invited to respond to the consultation questions in section 5.1. A more in-depth explanation of the areas for consideration can be found in section 2 and A full list of consultation questions is contained in section 5 of the consultation document.
The full consultation and all its associated documents can be found here. Responses to the consultation should be emailed to MarineTechnology@mcga.gov.uk. Any questions should also be sent to this email address.