The SOLAS Amendments

Declaration of Verified Container Weights Prior to Carriage by Sea

In July 2016 the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) issued amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), to regulate the declaration of weight in relation to packed containers.

The need for change

Overweight containers can lead to damage to handling equipment and other containers; to stacks collapsing, ships capsizing or sinking; and ultimately to loss of life. Even the under-declaration of weights that are still within permitted limits can cause problems in relation to the stowage plan of a container ship.

To combat these risks, shippers are required to provide a verified container weight; otherwise the container must not be loaded to the vessel for carriage unless the port terminal operator first verifies the weight.

Weights do already have to be declared under the Hague-Visby Rules and the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations; but the main differences in the SOLAS amendments are:

  • the need for those weights to be verified,
  • the prohibition of loading if they are not, and
  • the penalties for failure to comply with the SOLAS requirements (a fine and/or up to two years’ imprisonment).

For more information on how policyholders may be implicated in the SOLAS Amendments, contact your local cargo specialist or download our SOLAS amendments flyer.

Some of the above and in our SOLAS Amendments flyer, is based on information published by law firm Waltons and Morse LLP, and is reproduced with their kind permission.

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