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Emergency Towing Procedures required for all ships

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We would like to advise Members that as of 1st January 2012, SOLAS Regulation 11-1/3-4 of 2008 and the requirements for emergency towing were amended to apply to all vessels and require all vessels, including tankers, to be provided with an emergency towing procedure.

The amendment details that all vessels must be provided with a ship-specific emergency towing procedure, which must be carried on board the ship for use in emergency situations. It must be based on existing arrangements and equipment available on board the ship. The procedure must be prepared by the shipowner or operator, not the ship builder, and it must include:

 A quick-reference decision matrix that summarises options under various emergency scenarios, such as weather conditions, availability of shipboard power (propulsion, on-deck), imminent danger of grounding, etc.

 Organisation of deck crew (distribution of personnel, equipment, etc.)

 Organisation of tasks (what needs to be done, how it should be done, what is needed for each task, etc.)

 Drawings of the fore and aft deck showing possible emergency towing arrangements  Inventory of equipment on board that can be used for emergency towing

 Means and methods of communication.

A copy of the procedure should be kept to hand by the owner or operator in order to facilitate the passing on of information to the towage company as early as possible in the emergency. A copy should also be kept in a common electronic file format, which will allow faster distribution to the concerned parties. A minimum of three copies should be kept on board and located in the bridge, a forecastle space and the ship’s office or cargo control room.

Members should be aware that the procedure does not need the approval of the classification society or the vessel’s flag state administration, but attending surveyors will check for compliance and ISM auditors may examine the procedures. Source information: IMO MSC, 1/Circular 1255 Guidelines for owners/operators on preparing emergency towing procedures.

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