Bulletin No.: 03/2008

PDF Version

RDIMS No.: 3763340
Date (Y-M-D): 2008-03-17

Subject: Accommodation Ladders - Record of Examinations

The purpose of this bulletin is to remind mariners, shipowners, operators and their agents of an upcoming regulatory deadline concerning the provisions for maintenance and requirement to have records of examinations of accommodation ladders by July 1, 2008. As well, to inform on future similar developments under proposed International Maritime Organization ( IMO ) Safety of Life at Sea Convention ( SOLAS ) requirements.

These provisions as contained in regulations that came into force July 1, 2007, were found necessary following several incidents in Canadian ports resulting in personal injuries as a result of accidents with accommodation ladders and reports of lack of maintenance of such equipment.

Subsection 364(1) of the Cargo, Fumigation and Tackle Regulations ( CFTR ) states that the authorized representative of a vessel shall ensure that every accommodation ladder fitted on the vessel and the vessel’s support and suspension points for the ladder shall meet the requirements of ISO Standard 5488 – Shipbuilding – Accommodation Ladders or of a classification society; or if the ladder is part of pilot transfer equipment referred to in regulation 23 of Chapter V of SOLAS, the requirements of the annex to IMO Resolution A.889 (21), Pilot Transfer Arrangements.

Subsections 364(2), (3), (4), (5) & (6) of the CFTR (http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/acts-regulations/acts-2001c26.htm) state the following requirements for every accommodation ladder and the vessel’s support and suspension points for the ladder:

  • Thorough examination by a competent person at least once a year;
  • Requirements for passing the examination;
  • A record of examination to be provided by the competent person to the authorized representative, including measurements taken at intervals not exceeding five years of any corrosion, deformation or significant wear in structural or moving parts; and
  • The record shall be kept on board the vessel.

Also note:

At IMO in May of 2008, the Maritime Safety Committee at MSC 84 is expected to adopt a new SOLAS provision: Chapter II-1 Regulation 3-9 “Means of embarkation on and disembarkation from ships”. This provision is expected to come into force sometime in 2010. The new draft SOLAS regulation requires the means of embarkation and disembarkation to be constructed, installed, inspected and maintained based on the new Guidelines for construction, maintenance and inspection of accommodation ladders and gangways (the draft Guidelines have also been approved in principle by MSC 83 and are going to be finally adopted by MSC 84). The text of the proposed new regulation is as follows:

“Regulation 3-9

  1. Ships constructed on or after [date of entry into force] shall be provided with means of embarkation on and disembarkation from ships for use in port and in port-related operations, such as gangways and accommodation ladders, in accordance with paragraph 2, unless the Administration deems that compliance with a particular provision is unreasonable or impractical*.
  2. The means of embarkation and disembarkation required in paragraph 1 shall be constructed and installed based on the guidelines developed by the Organization**.
  3. For all ships the means of embarkation and disembarkation shall be inspected and maintained ** in suitable condition for their intended purpose, taking into account any restrictions related to safe loading. All wires used to support the means of embarkation and disembarkation shall be maintained as specified in regulation III/20.4.”



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Accommodation Ladders - Record of Examinations (37 KB) 

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* Circumstances where compliance may be deemed unreasonable or impractical may
include where the ship:

.1 has small freeboards and is provided with boarding ramps; or
.2 is engaged in voyages between designated ports where appropriate shore
accommodation/embarkation ladders (platforms) are provided.



** Refer to the Guidelines for construction, maintenance and inspection of accommodation ladders and gangways ( MSC .1/Circ. …).”

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Accommodation Ladders
2. Cargo, Fumigation and Tackle Regulations
3. ISO Standard 5488
Vadym Pyetkov
613-990 9850
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

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