On 19 February 2021, in response to a draft of this investigation report, Lloyd’s Register noted the investigation’s conclusions and agreed that the arrangements of conveying machinery spaces of self-unloading bulk carriers merited improvement to address the risk.
Lloyd's Register proposed to support an approach to the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) to seek a Unified Interpretation for the requirements for conveying spaces, to mitigate the fire risk in these spaces.
On 8 April 2021, Lloyd’s Register advised that a submission had been made to the General Policy Group of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) and was awaiting a decision as to when this would be assigned to the IACS Safety Panel.
Lloyd’s Register advised that the support received from other IACS members would dictate proceedings and that an interim approach via an IACS Unified Requirement (UR) may be desirable as it was a quicker route to action given the long gestation time for a Regulation change at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This approach would at least get IACS members to a position of implementing a preventative requirement for new ships, although retrospective application may be problematic.
Lloyd’s Register provided the following estimated timeline to develop a UR should the approach to the IACS safety panel progress:
- End of May 2021 – agreement by IACS Members at Safety Panel to develop a UR
- June 2021-June 2022 – IACS internal governance and development activity
- 1 July 2023 – UR enters into force in members’ Rules
Lloyd’s Register advised that, while an IACS-based action would provide a more expedient interim solution, in the longer term, changes to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974, as amended, and associated IMO instruments would also be required to ensure safety across the board.
The ATSB welcomes the course of safety action proposed by Lloyd’s Register with regard to addressing this safety issue and seeking improved standards and regulations, and the action it has taken to initiate that process. It is also acknowledged that safety action may take some time. Consequently, the ATSB will continue to monitor the safety issue.