The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities

SOLAS – International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea Description

International maritime safety treaty specifying the minimum standards for the construction, equipage, and operation of ships.

The first version of the treaty was passed in 1914 in response to the sinking of the RMS Titanic . It prescribed numbers of lifeboats and other emergency equipment along with safety procedures, including continuous radio watches. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, requires flag States to ensure that their ships comply with minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation. It includes articles setting out general obligations, followed by an annex divided into twelve chapters. Of these, chapter five (often called ‹SOLAS V›) is the only one that applies to all vessels on the sea, including private yachts and small craft on local trips as well as to commercial vessels on international passages. Many countries have turned these international requirements into national laws so that anybody on the sea who is in breach of SOLAS V requirements may find themselves subject to legal proceedings. The twelve chapters: 1. General Provisions 2. Construction - Subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations Fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction 3. Life-saving appliances and arrangements 4. Radio communications



5. Safety of navigation 6. Carriage of Cargoes 7. Carriage of dangerous goods 8. Nuclear ships 9. Management for the Safe Operation of Ships 10. Safety measures for high-speed craft 11. Special measures to enhance maritime safety Special measures to enhance maritime security 12. Additional safety measures for bulk carriers



Policy Implications


yy The primary safety risks in the Arctic are from sea ice, icebergs and ice islands yy Search and Rescue is important in case of disaster or emergency



Economic Development


Indigenous and Social Development


yy Safety of navigation - (particularly Chapter V) every mariner must take account of all potential dangers to navigation, weather forecasts, tidal predictions, the competence of the crew, and all other relevant factors. It also adds an obligation for all vessels’ masters to offer assistance to those in distress and controls the use of lifesaving signals with specific requirements regarding danger and distress messages. yy Weather - marine safety is greatly affected by the ability to predict and understand weather patterns. yy EO - critical information on sea ice and iceberg location and characteristics derived from satellite imagery is used routinely for helping to protect vessels in the Arctic from collisions with ice.

Capability Requirements

yy Communications - broadband satellite communication systems for crew welfare yy Danger messages for safe navigation

Information Requirements

yy Radio communication in emergencies - The Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) requires passenger and cargo ships on international voyages to carry radio equipment, including satellite Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and Search and Rescue Transponders (SARTs).

B.2.10 The MARPOL Convention The MARPOL Convention Facts in Brief

Jurisdiction: International Maritime Organization and its member states. Responsible Organizations: Each IMO member of the Convention is responsible for complying with the Convention’s regulations. Out of total 170 countries, there are 150 countries who are parties to the Convention as of December 31, 2010 Status: The Convention is in force today and has been updated by amendments through the years Type: Convention with six technical Annexes Coverage: All ships flagged under countries that are signatories to MARPOL are subject to its requirements, regardless of where they sail, and member nations are responsible for vessels registered under their respective nationalities Web link: pollution-from-ships-%28marpol%29.aspx Additional considerations: The MARPOL Convention is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. It is a combination of two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and also includes the Protocol of 1997 (Annex VI). It has been updated by amendments through the years.



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