5 Sailing with open top conditions (13-22)
It is recognised that MSC.1/Circ.608 cannot easily be applied to general cargo and heavy cargo ships. In particular the required survival condition with a completely flooded hold is problematic as the permeability of the cargo is unknown. From ship operators with ‘open top’ ships, we learned that the current practice –calculating with 0.5 metres of water on the tank top and tween deck- reflects the actual situations encountered during voyages.
The records of shipowners demonstrate that open top ships do not take over significant amounts of water over the coamings. In the first and second meeting good progress was made, resulting in good confidence for a formalisation of the existing practice. However, after exchange of some e-mails and accompanying experiences, the scientific motivation appears problematic. This may eventually hinder the motivation of the proposed equivalent arrangement. To solve this matter external expertise is sought in order to determine which solution may be the best.
6 Class suspension and 'Stip-notation' (10-47)
1. Class suspension:
'Class suspension' is a situation that the ship temporary does not meet the class requirements. The Classification Society (RO) shall inform the Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate (NSI), when the class of a ship under Netherlands flag is suspended, according the standing agreement between the RO's and NSI.
According the IACS procedures:
Class may be suspended following a decision made by the Society when one or more of the following occurs:
- when a ship is not operated in compliance with the Rule requirements
- when a ship proceeds to sea with less freeboard than that assigned
- when the owner fails to request a survey after having detected defects or damages affecting the class
- when repairs, alterations or conventions affecting the class are carried out without requesting the attendance of a surveyor
In addition, class is automatically suspended:
- when the class renewal/special survey has not been completed by its due date or within the time granted in special circumstances for the completion of the survey, unless the ship is under attendance by the Society's surveyor(s) with a view to completion prior to resuming trading.
- when the annual or intermediate surveys have not been completed by the end of the corresponding survey time windows.
Suspension of class with respect to the above cases will remain in effect until such time as the due surveys and any other survey deemed appropriate by the Society have been completed.
In addition to the circumstances for which automatic suspension may apply, the class of a ship will be subject to suspension procedures following a decision of the Society:
- when a recommendation/condition of class is not dealt with within the time limit specified, unless it is postponed before the due date by agreement with the Society
- when one or more other surveys are not held by their due dates - or the dates stipulated by the Society also taking into account any extensions granted
- when, due to the nature of reported defects, the Society considers that a ship is not entitled to retain its class even on a temporary basis (pending necessary repairs or renewals, etc.)
- in other circumstances where the owner fails to submit the ship to a survey in accordance with a special requirement.
In all cases suspension will remain in effect until such time as matters are rectified and the class is reinstated or class is withdrawn.
Depending on the Society’s procedures, the suspensions of class which are not automatic may take effect either when they are decided by the Society or from the date when the conditions for suspension occurred. However once the conditions for class suspension/withdrawal are met and before any decision by the Society can be taken, either because the Society is not aware of the circumstances (surveys dates, etc. are recorded but not systematically monitored) or because the decision is not yet taken, maintenance of class cannot generally be confirmed by the Society during this period.
Notification of suspension or withdrawal when class is suspended or withdrawn, the Society will at the same time:
- inform the owner, flag Administration and underwriters (the latter at their request)
- publish the information on its website and convey the information to appropriate databases (Equasis, etc.)
Validity of the certificate of classification. A certificate of classification, properly endorsed, is valid until the expiry date unless advised otherwise by the Society or provided there are no grounds for suspension or withdrawal of class.
Formally, the ship is not classed anymore and doesn't meet the Ships Decree 2004, article 37, paragraph 2 requirement. It is our view, in close consult with our legal department (HDJZ), that this article gives NSI the legal ground to suspend the Statutory certificates.
When decided, the suspension of the statutory certificates will be carried out based on the Ships act, article 7, paragraph 3.
Automatic suspension of the Statutory certificates, in case of class suspension is not the issue and will be decided on a case by case situation and in close consult with the shipowner.
In the agreement and the IACS procedures, information to the flag Administration is arranged.
Information should also be provided by the shipowner and is a legal omission when forgotten. In case the NSI has been informed by the RO of the class suspension and not by the shipowner, the shipowner may be contacted by the enforcement department of NSI.
The shipowner should contact the RO to agree upon the corrective actions to be taken.
2. Stip-notation or equivalent class notations
In general the IACS document gives the following information:
Classification notations are indicative of the specific Rule requirements which have been met. Additional voluntary notations are offered by individual Societies and may be selected by an owner wishing to demonstrate that the vessel conforms to a particular standard that may be in excess of that required for classification. Depending on the Classification Society, the classification notations are assigned to the ship according to ship type, service, navigation and/or other criteria which have been provided by the owner and/or builder, when requesting classification.
Classification notations assigned to a ship are indicated on the certificate of classification as well as in the Register of Ships published by the Society. These notations can be generalized by the following types which may be used in combination:
- main class symbol
- construction marks
- service notations with additional service features, as applicable
- navigation notations
- geographic notations
- additional class notations
According the Ships Decree 2004, article 37, paragraph 2, the ship is built and maintained according the Rules of a Classification Society, where such rules do not conflict with the requirements of this Ships Decree 2004. (See the legislation for the formal wording).
As long there are no conflicting requirements, NSI will accept the class notation.
An other important subject is that these notations are in line with the procedures within IACS.