IMO asks member states to accept delayed ships under old regulations

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing unexpected delays in the production as well as supply chain, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has said that member states can still accept ships under the regulations that applied for the original delivery date.

Trade organization Netherlands Maritime Technology (NMT) had previously pointed out that delayed ship deliveries could cause problems in terms of compliance.

The IMO has asked the administration of member states to treat such ships on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the particular circumstances.

As a result of deliveries being subject to delay due to unforeseen circumstances that were beyond the control of the builder and the owner, the member states can accept the ship as if it were delivered on the original date, the IMO said, adding that such ships should also be accepted as such by port state control.

The NMT had said that the delay in compliance would be experienced first as a result of regulations that will come into force on July 1st. These relate to goal-based ship construction standards for oil tankers and bulk carriers (SOLAS regulation II-1/3-10). NMT said that “this entry into force on July 1st of this year is most urgent, but hopefully it will also provide guidance for any other problems that may arise as a result of the delay”.

China and the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) had also drawn attention to the issue, with the latter submitting a proposal for the unified interpretation of SOLAS regulation II-1/3-10 concerning the term “unforeseen delay in the delivery of ships” to IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).

IMO said that, as a result of the postponement of the MSC 102, the Maritime Safety Committee would not be in a position to decide on the proposed unified interpretation in time.