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Risks of using non SOLAS or non-pyrotechnic distress flares highlighted in new MCA MIN

The UK MCA has released a marine notice, MIN 542, which highlights the specific risks of using non SOLAS or non-pyrotechnic distress flares, for example Electronic Visual Distress Signals (EVDS).

To be effective, distress signals need to be internationally recognised. Not all EVDS provide a distress signal listed in COLREGS Annex IV (such as SOS), and the MCA knows of no EVDS device which is compliant with the SOLAS technical performance standards for distress flares. Consequently, the international carriage requirements do not recognise EVDS and the UK national carriage requirements have not been amended to formally recognise them either.

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MCA releases a bulletin about a quality issue with fire doors

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has released a bulletin to notify vessel operators and surveyors that a quality issue has been discovered relating to fire doors manufactured by COSMO Co Ltd.

The MCA makes reference to an advice letter issued by the manufacturer, which urges particular attention of doors rated A-60, A-0 and B-15. Following an internal investigation, it was found that some delivered and installed doors have some insulation missing from part of the door fitment. As a result of the missing missing insulation, the doors do not comply with their type approval certification.

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Effectiveness of lifejackets called into question by MAIB report on the foundering of fishing vessel Louisa

Photograph of Louisa recovery
Photograph of Louisa recovery

Early on 9 April 2016, the fishing vessel Louisa foundered, with the loss of three lives, while anchored close to the shore in Mingulay Bay in the Outer Hebrides.

The skipper and crew, who had been working long hours before anchoring late the previous evening, had woken suddenly as the vessel was sinking rapidly by the bow. They were able to escape to the aft deck, activate the emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), and to don lifejackets. However, they were unable to inflate the liferaft as they abandoned the vessel.

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Lack of surveyors at UK MCA highlighted as a programme of modernisation gets underway

The UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) is modernising the way the UK Ship Register operates with a number of new initiatives being rolled out as the Agency is also addressing the issue of a shortfall in surveyors on its books.

At the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Maritime and Ports, attendees were informed that the MCA is considering increasing the fee structure for the UK Ship Register to above 2016 levels.

The registry is working to improve the response time for enquiries to one working day, while for complex issues it will take three working days. Increasing ship registry fees would match the higher levels of service being offered, the MCA said. The register also plans to roll out a Continue reading “Lack of surveyors at UK MCA highlighted as a programme of modernisation gets underway”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has launched a consultation on its fees

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is required to comply with the guidance set out in HM Treasury’s publication Managing Public Money when recovering the full cost of the fee-funded services it provides in its role as a regulator which covers direct and indirect costs associated with delivering services to the public. The full cost recovery norm to fees ensures Government neither profits at the expense of consumers nor makes a loss for taxpayers to subsidise.

Since September 2006, the MCA has not changed its fee level and has consequently absorbed increases in ship registrations, ship surveys and merchant navy training costs. As a result, the industry has paid below-cost fees so the services which the industry has received have been publicly subsidised. There has been a shortfall between income and costs for the services provided in each year since 2010-11 (and likely since 2006). The shortfall for 2010-11 (the base year) is estimated at £3.7m (in 2010 prices). MCA efficiency improvements have helped maintain standards while keeping costs down.

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