Press release

Regulation updates will support enforcement in UK waters

Shipping regulations are being strengthened by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to defend against fraud and enhance safety at sea.

The measures will support enforcement in UK waters by adopting into national legislation certain special safety measures contained in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 (SOLAS), which was agreed in the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Coming into force today (2 April 2024), the new rules will apply to passenger and cargo ships on international voyages and are extended to some ships engaged solely on domestic voyages.

Requirements include identification numbers for vessels as well as owners and operators, and for ships to have on board a complete history of its operation – known as a “continuous synopsis record”.

Oil tankers must also be surveyed in accordance with the latest relevant international code on oil tanker inspections agreed in the IMO.

Ensuring IMO requirements are implemented into UK law makes them enforceable against ships operating in UK waters, strengthening fraud prevention and enhancing the safety and security of shipping.

MCA Chief Executive Virginia McVea said:

As an influential member of the International Maritime Organization, the UK is at the forefront of making shipping safer and targeting fraud at sea.

Adopting these international requirements ensures our ability to act robustly in our national waters.

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Published 2 April 2024