In the fall of 2013 and Spring of 2014 we sent representatives of the BCCTS to Ottawa to attend the fall meeting of the Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC) – Transport Canada’s national consultative body for marine matters. Participants include representatives of individuals and parties that have a recognized interest in boating and shipping concerning safety, recreational matters, navigation, marine pollution and response and marine security. Our focus was on the safe and efficient evacuation of special needs passengers from domestic passenger vessels. We felt there were potentially unacceptable risks in planning and equipment on at least some BC Ferry vessels.
We will return again this spring (meetings are normally held twice a year) as we feel it necessary to again bring attention to our concerns. While the material is often technical, the examples can be visceral
The subject at hand is the long-pending implementation of SOLAS Regulation 27 concerning information on passengers, as outlined in Ship Safety bulletin 06/2007 – Information On Persons On Board – Counting, Recording, and Special Needs.
The purpose of this bulletin is to advise passenger vessel owners and masters of upcoming requirements and to recommend voluntary early implementation. The intent of this initiative is for owners and masters to have readily available information on all persons on board that will be of great assistance during emergency situations and search and rescue missions. Transport Canada intends to adopt the International Maritime Organisation Regulation 27 of Chapter III of the SOLAS Convention in regard to information on passengers with the following additional details (shown in red).
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974 , as amended
Chapter III – Life-saving appliances and arrangements
Information on passengers
- All persons on board all passenger ships shall be counted prior to departure.
- Details of persons who have declared a need for special care or assistance in emergency situations shall be recorded and communicated to the master prior to departure.
- In addition, not later than 1 January 1999, the names and gender of all persons on board, distinguishing between adults, children and infants, shall be recorded for search and rescue purposes.
- The information required by paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 shall be kept ashore and made readily available to search and rescue services when needed.
- Administrations may exempt passenger ships from the requirements of paragraph 3, if the scheduled voyages of such ships render it impracticable for them to prepare such records.
- All persons on board all passenger ships shall be counted prior to departure. The number shall be recorded and shall be readily available to the master.
- Details of persons who have declared a need for special care or assistance in emergency situations shall be recorded and communicated to the master prior to departure. Means should be taken by owners to facilitate self-identification of such persons. Such means may include instructions to passengers during pre-departure safety briefings to approach crewmembers to self-identify and obtain further information.
- In addition, the names and gender of all persons on board, distinguishing between adults, children and infants, shall be recorded for search and rescue purposes:
- on Unlimited Voyages (formerly Foreign Voyages) or Near Coastal Voyages Class 1 (formerly Home Trade Voyages Class 1 or 2);
- on voyages longer than 12 hours;
iii. on overnight voyages or voyages on which there is at least one assigned berth.