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Nations around the world have participated in international conventions, treaties, and agreements that apply to boats and ships.
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an international maritime safety treaty. It ensures that ships flagged by signatory States comply with minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation. The Radio watchkeeping requirements are promulgated by it. The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.
MARPOL is short for marine pollution. MARPOL 73/78 (short for the years 1973 and 1978) is one of the most important international marine environmental conventions. It was designed to minimize pollution of the seas, including dumping, oil and exhaust pollution. Its stated object is to preserve the marine environment through the complete elimination of pollution by oil and other harmful substances and the minimization of accidental discharge of such substances. All ships flagged under countries that are signatories to MARPOL are subject to its requirements, regardless of where they sail and member nations are responsible for vessels registered under their respective nationalities.
LOAD LINES CONVENTION
The International Convention on Load Lines (CLL) was signed in London on 5 April 1966, amended by the 1988 Protocol and further revised in 2003. The 1988 Protocol was adopted to harmonise the survey and certification requirement of the 1966 Convention with those contained in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and MARPOL 73/78.
According to the CLL 66/88, all assigned load lines must be marked amidships on each side of the ships engaged in international voyages. The determinations of the freeboard of ships are calculated and/or verified by classification societies which issue International Load Line Certificates in accordance with the legislation of participating States. This Convention provides for the terms of ship’s surveys, issuance, duration, validity and acceptance of International Load Line Certificates, as well as relevant State control measures, agreed exemptions and exceptions.
Annexes to the Convention contain various regulations for determining load lines, including details of marking and verification of marks, conditions of assignment of freeboard, freeboard tables and corrections, special provisions for ships intended for the carriage of timber and the prescribed form of International Load Line Certificates. Also taken into account are the potential hazards present in different zones and different seasons and additional safety measures concerning doors, hatchways etc.
IMCO COLLISION REGULATIONS CONVENTION
Sometimes referred to as the Rules of the Road, the International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea, 1972 (72COLREGS) are the Navigation Rules (COLREGS when in International Waters or waters outside the COLREGS Demarcation Line or Inland Navigation Rules inside the Demarcation Lines) are regulations which aid mariners in safe navigation, just as driving laws aid vehicles in safe driving. Professional Mariners must be proficient in the Rules of the Road but all mariners should know and understand the Rules. The Rules are legally binding and application of them makes the waterways safer for everyone.
The International Rules were formalized in the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, and became effective on July 15, 1977. The 72 COLREGS were developed by the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), which has since been renamed the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO has adopted 86 amendments to the COLREGS, the most recent of which was in 2007.
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