Policy Update - December 2020

The Second half of 2020 has seen some notable developments on the Policy & Legislation front. Here’s a brief summary:


November saw us complete a project to update our legislation which applies MARPOL Annex I, III, VI, V and VI and Protocol I. The existing regulations were 4-5 years old and so we needed to bring our regulations up to date with the latest versions of the convention following updates by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). Going forwards we aim to complete regular updates to our MARPOL regulations every one-to-two years to ensure we are always able to apply the latest version of the Convention. Checking whether our legislation is up to date will likely be a key focus of our forthcoming III Code audit and therefore this will remain a priority for the team.

Accompanying the legislation updates is a suite of new shipping notices (MSNs 066-072). These are designed to provide guidance on how the Isle of Man applies and interprets the Convention. We summarise the key points of the convention and answer any recurrent questions we receive from clients. We also aim to provide guidance where the convention leaves something open to Flag State to determine – usually expressed in language such as ‘to the satisfaction of the administration’ or the ‘administration may determine’.

Of the updates to the convention, Electronic Record Books has been of most interest to our clients. This has been a long awaited change which were finally permitted by IMO from 1st October 2020. Further guidance on our requirements for MARPOL Electronic Record Books can be found in TAN 008-20.

Load lines

We are also in the process of updating our Regulations that apply the Load Lines Convention. The new Regulations (the Merchant Shipping (Load Lines) Regulations 2020) will enter into force on 18th December 2020. These Regulations revoke and replace the Merchant Shipping (Load Line) Regulations 2000 and the Merchant Shipping (Load Line)(Amendment) Regulations 2001.

We have also published MSN 073 to provide guidance on how we apply and interpret the convention.

Cyber Security – ISM Code

1 January 2021 sees the entry into force of a new requirement for ships subject to the ISM Code. From this date, they will need to ensure that their Safety Management System takes account of cyber risk threats and vulnerabilities to onboard systems. In order to assist with compliance, the IMO has published MSC-FAL.1/Circ.3 containing Guidelines on Maritime Cyber Risk Management.

Compliance with this new requirement will be verified at the first annual DOC audit following 1st January 2021 and each SMC audit thereafter.

More information is available in TAN 007-20.

MLC – 2018 Amendments

Also entering into force soon are the 2018 Amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention. The amendments provide additional employment rights to seafarers who are subject to a piracy or armed robbery event. For instance, an SEA must remain in force whilst a seafarer is held captive and their wages must be granted as normal, irrespective of the date of termination of the SEA.

More information is available in TAN 004-20.