Dry docking interval for passenger ships
I come across this question from so many people, Once in how many years should a vessel be Dry-docked? Vessel here, means only passenger ships – Because cargo ship interval is totally different which we will see in a different post.
What is the dry docking interval for passenger ships? The answer is; Passenger ships of 15 years and below – Once every 5 years Passenger ships of 20 Years and below – Once every 2.5 years Is that all???? Well, Indirect answer will be ” It depends”…..Depends on what? let us see below.
What does SOLAS 1974 Say?
> SOLAS Chapter Chapter I (General provisions) , Part B (Surveys and certificates), Regulation 7 (Surveys of passenger ships) Sub division “B” of this regulation (7) ,requires an inspection of the outside of a passenger ship’s bottom at every Passenger Ship Safety Certificate renewal survey.
Interesting! If you simply search in SOLAS for the word “Dry-dock” you can see it is used very less! Than you would think! Because , technically dry-docking for us as ship operators and others is a Major process but for the codes & convention it is a survey process….. Survey of bottom of the ships!
Then what is the frequency of Passenger Ship Safety Certificate renewal survey?
>> A renewal survey once every 12 months, except where regulation 14(b), (e), (f) and (g) is applicable.
What are these exceptions?
Well its too long to read and understand however, in short, these exception talk about;
|S. No||Situation||Grace period for survey||Validity of certificate|
|1||when the renewal survey is completed within three months before the expiry date of the existing certificate||NA||Date not exceeding 12 months from the date of expiry of the existing certificate.|
|2||when the renewal survey is completed after the expiry date of the existing certificate||NA||Not exceeding 12 months from the date of expiry of the existing certificate|
|3||when the renewal survey is completed more than three months before the expiry date of the existing certificate.||NA||A date not exceeding 12 months from the date of completion of the renewal survey|
|4||If a ship at the time when a certificate expires is not in a port in which it is to be surveyed||Maximum 3 months||A date not exceeding 12 months from the date of expiry of the existing certificate before the extension was granted|
|5||If a ship engaged on short voyages which has not been given any other extensions as above||Maximum 1 month||A date not exceeding 12 months from the date of expiry of the existing certificate before the extension was granted|
If you look closely, what ever exemption you get for your ship, the extension is not more than 12 months from the original date of expiry of the existing certificate!
Yes, so does that mean it is not useful for owners who had genuine reason for availing such extensions????
In special circumstances, as determined by the Administration a date not exceeding 12 months from the date of completion of the renewal survey.
So, that being said! can we say Dry docking interval for passenger ships is every year?
>> International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Assembly Resolution A.1120(30) Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC), 2017, specifies that that inspection of a passenger ship’s bottom, as required by SOLAS Regulation I/7, should be carried out annually, with two inspections in dry-dock in any five‑year period.
>> Which means! Every passenger ship should undergo dry docking twice in every 5 years!
Question : If it says “twice in 5 years” can we split these 5 years randomly into any combination such as (1,4 – 2,3 – 2.5,2.5 etc etc.)
>> Resolution A.1120(30) Adopted on 6 December 2017, Recommends – A minimum of two of the inspections of the outside of the ship’s bottom during any five-year period should be conducted in dry dock. In all cases, the maximum interval between any two dry-dock bottom inspections should not exceed 36 months.
Finally! Can we say every passenger ship should undergo dry docking twice every 5 years?
NOT NECESSARILY! THERE IS SOME RELAXATION
>> To ensure the ships are available for longer periods continuously and to reduce the burden of the owners, IMO technical committee has come up with some relaxation! Yes! Thanks to technological advancements! With technology incorporation many of the underwater elements and their performances can be assessed while underwater! With condition monitoring repots and the status of sister ships within fleet! Administration can ascertain the actual condition of such underwater elements.
Well, what is the relaxation??? >> Where acceptable to the Administration, the minimum number of inspections in dry dock of the outside of the bottom of a passenger ship which is not a ro-ro passenger ship in any five-year period may be reduced from two to one. In such cases the interval between consecutive inspections in dry dock should not exceed 60 months. >> That being said, The dry-docking can be done once every 5 years!!! Is this rule application to a passenger ship for lifetime??? That would be great to have! But, wait! who does these inspections and certifications? Classification society! Do you think they will just be blindly accepting this???? FOREVER of a ships life span????
NO!!! THEY CAN NOT
>> Again, Resolution A.1120(30) Adopted on 6 December 2017, recommends to pay Special attention given to ships 15 years of age or over before being permitted to credit inspections afloat.
>> Therefore, classification societies extend 5 years rule only up to ships age of 15 years!
Alright! Then – So all passenger ships of 15 years and older can do dry docking once every 5 years and then after that TWICE every 5 years???
NOT REALLY!!! WHY???
>> I here assume you all know what is a Flag state, Classification society.
>> Well, Different flags have different rule! They keep the IMO rules as “Minimum required” and may seek some additional requirements based on their learning!
Bahamas Flag state
>> Based on their experiences, they have given Once in 5 years dry docking up to the ship age of 20 years! Yes, if the ship and the company satisfy their conditions! Their ship can dry dock once every 5 years for up to 20 years of their life span.
End of the story! passenger ships dry docking frequency is Passenger ships of 15 years and below – Once every 5 years Passenger ships of 20 Years and below – Once every 2.5 years