TT Talk - Progress with ships' lifting appliances

The regime governing maintenance and inspection of ships' lifting appliances (SLA) has been found less than adequate, resulting in incidents that should have been avoidable. Legislative change will take time; in the meantime, operators and supervisors need to take care. See

TT Talk 184

for background information and advice.

TT Club has previously highlighted the risks involved in the use of unsuitable or unsafe SLA, which may be deployed for loading ships' stores, as well as cargo operations where port shoreside cranes are unavailable. The lack of certainty in relation to global standards and regulation had resulted in lobbying of IMO to incorporate the safety regulations within the mandatory SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) convention, following a disturbing number of injuries to crew and shore personnel as well as damage to cargo and property.

SLA: falling between stools

ICHCA has been one of the NGOs pressing the IMO to bring about change, the rationale being that up to now SLA have not been included as one of the items on a ship that had to be covered by classification society oversight. Of course, such appliances are covered by other regulations, for example LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) in Europe and equivalents elsewhere, but there is no international legislation covering the whole globe.

Many delegations at IMO were opposed to change, citing ILO 152 (International Labour Organization Convention 152 on Health & Safety in Dockwork) as covering SLA inspection and testing adequately. However, TT Club has supported the ICHCA position, arguing that ILO 152 provides a good basis, but has only been ratified by some 27 of the 170 maritime nations. More technically, the frequency of failures, especially with respect to holding down bolts and slewing rings on pedestal cranes, revealed that ILO 152 was not comprehensive.

Change driven by incidents

The first statistical data was gathered following a survey by New Zealand some years ago and incidences were all too common. A number of parties, including the International Group of P&I Clubs, assisted ICHCA in collating incident data that demonstrated the scale of the problem, resulting in crane loss, cargo damage and many serious injuries to personnel ashore and afloat, of which at least nine were fatal.

"incident data demonstrated the scale of the problem, resulting in crane loss, cargo damage and many serious injuries"

As a result of the stiff opposition in the debate at IMO, despite strong backing from the competent authorities of New Zealand and Japan, amongst other delegations, the matter was passed back to the 'parent' committee MSC (Maritime Safety Committee) for a decision. The agenda item, proposing a

SOLAS amendment and accompanying guidelines

, found favour with the majority at the MSC meeting in June and a Correspondence Group has been established to deal with the detailed wording.

Invitation to participate

The Japanese competent authority acting as coordinator, has formulated a draft amendment to SOLAS and related


. On behalf of Japan, ICHCA is coordinating comments on this work. Through TT Club, readers are invited to respond to Captain Richard Brough, ICHCA's Technical Adviser on

no later than 14 August, to allow comments to be collated and sent to the coordinator in a timely fashion.

Comments can either be made as text or using the

answer sheet


Anyone who provides comments will be automatically included in the next round as part of ICHCA's internal correspondence group on this subject. If you have no current comments but would like to be included in the group for the next round then please let Richard Brough know accordingly.

The Correspondence Group will report back to the IMO Sub-Committee on Ship Systems & Equipment (SSE) in March 2016. ICHCA is grateful to all those who contributed to this work so far, especially those who worked extremely hard to supply incident data, without which this campaign would not have been successful.

We hope that you have found the above interesting. If you would like further information, or have any comments, please email us, or take this opportunity to forward to any colleagues who you may feel would be interested.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Peregrine Storrs-Fox

Risk Management Director, TT Club

Staff Author

TT Club