New IMO Requirements for Authorized Rescue Service Providers

27 November, 2019

IMO's new requirements for maintenance, examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats will enter into force on January 1, 2020. 


In accordance with IMO resolution MSC.402 (96), from January 1, 2020, authorized service providers must carry out maintenance, overhaul, overhaul and operational tests of the following elements *:

  • Lifeboats (including free fall lifeboats), lifeboats and high-speed lifeboats

  • Launching devices, as well as release devices under load and without load for lifeboats (including primary and secondary means of launching devices for free fall lifeboats), lifeboats, speedboats and liferafts launched from the davit.

Qualification levels

The following test intervals are described:

  • Weekly and monthly inspections must be carried out by authorized suppliers in accordance with the maintenance manual (s).

  • Thorough annual inspections and performance tests must be carried out by certified personnel of either the manufacturer or an authorized service provider *. A service provider may be a ship operator if authorized.

  • A five-year thorough inspection, any overhauls, operational tests, and overload repairs must be carried out by certified personnel of either the manufacturer or an authorized service provider. This should be done in the presence of Inspector DNV GL.

The scope is further described in IMO Resolution MSC.402 (96), sections 6.1 (general), 6.2 (annual thorough inspections and operational tests) and 6.3 (five-year thorough inspections, repair and overload operational tests).

Authorized Service Provider *

An authorized service provider * is an object authorized by the flag administration (or its recognized organizations, RO) in accordance with the requirements specified in IMO Resolution MSC.402 (96), section 8. Permission should be limited to each brand and type ** of equipment for service. The flag of administrations (or their ROs) will issue an authorization document and ensure the availability of information about authorized service providers.

Unless otherwise specified by the flag administration, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are not required to be authorized when they act as service providers for their own equipment, but their personnel must be certified. IACS UR Z17 Rev.14 complies with IMO Resolution MSC.402 (96), therefore the AoSS (Service Provider Approval) certificate related to IACS UR Z17 Rev.14 will be considered equivalent to the certificate related to IMO Resolution MSC.402 (96).

Flag administrations may also accept or recognize service providers authorized by other administrations or their ROs. In cases where the manufacturer is no longer doing business or providing technical support, administrations may authorize equipment service providers based on prior equipment authorization and / or years of experience and proven knowledge as an authorized service provider.

Certification of staff

Maintenance personnel must be certified by the manufacturer or an authorized service provider for each brand and type ** of equipment that you need to work with. An authorized service provider can only certify its own personnel (i.e., hired by the same service provider).

Certification of service personnel must be carried out in accordance with a recognized national, international or industry standard, as appropriate, or established by the manufacturer's certification program. In any case, the certification process and program must comply with the requirements of IMO Resolution MSC.402 (96), clause 8, for each brand and type ** of equipment for which the service is to be provided.

Upon completion of personnel certification, a certificate is issued (by the manufacturer or service provider), which determines the level of qualification (annual or five-year) and the scope of certification (i.e. brands and models of equipment). The validity period must be clearly indicated in the certificate and must not exceed three years from the date of issue.

Recommendations for the target group

  • Contact your regular service providers to make sure they are approved for servicing your life-saving appliances and receive certificates confirming this. Do not wait until the annual inspections.

  • Ensure compliance with new requirements for maintenance, overhaul, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and lifeboats, launching devices and triggers.

  • Whenever the work required by an authorized service provider is performed, be sure to obtain the following:
    • Service Report
    • Personnel certificate
    • AoSS certificate confirming compliance with Resolution IMO MSC.402 (96) or IACS UR Z17 Rev.14 for the brand and type of airborne equipment

Some flag administrations have specific instructions regarding ships flying their flags. Therefore, owners, managers, and service providers must confirm with their flag administrations whether any additional or special requirements apply.

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