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TIN news:    The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has published a shipping circular  on the implementation of SOLAS Regulation VI/2 on verified gross mass of containers with the purpose to to establish a common approach for the implementation and enforcement of the SOLAS requirements regarding the verification of the gross mass of packed containers.
To ensure the safety of the ship, the safety of workers both aboard ships and ashore, the safety of cargo and overall safety at sea, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), as amended, requires in chapter VI, part A, regulation 2 that packed containers’ gross mass are verified prior to stowage aboard ship.
1. This circular brings to attention of the shipping community the amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended, adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its ninety-fourth session held from 17 to 21 November 2014, through resolution MSC.380(94). The amendments were accepted by member States on 1 January 2016 and will enter into force on 1 July 2016.
2. As Singapore is a Contracting Party to the SOLAS Convention, it is necessary to give effect to the amendments adopted. The amendments will be given effect through the Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Regulations and will be enforced by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. The amendments will come into operation on 1 July 2016 at the same time with the international community.
3. One of the key amendments relates to the requirement for the gross mass of a packed container to be verified by the shipper prior to loading on a ship. The verification of the gross mass of a packed container shall be obtained by either of the following two methods.
 Method 1 – Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or
Method 2 – Weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.
4. The shipper of a container shall ensure the verified gross mass is stated in the shipping document. The shipping document shall be signed by a person duly authorized by the shipper and submitted to the master or his representative and to the terminal representative sufficiently in advance, as required by the master or his representative, to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan.
5. Under the new SOLAS regulation VI/2, if the shipping document, with regard to a packed container does not provide the verified gross mass and the master or his representative and the terminal representative have not obtained the verified gross mass of the packed container, it shall not be loaded on to the ship.
6. The obligations of the various entities of the logistic chain under the new SOLAS regulation VI/2 are as follows:
Carrier/ Ship master or his representative – The carrier, ship master or his representative are obligated to ensure that containerised cargo without information on its verified gross mass are not accepted to be loaded on board the ship.
Terminal Operator – Terminal operator is obligated not to load on board the ship, local export containerised cargo without information on its verified gross mass. Terminal operators are also obligated to use the verified gross mass in the preparation of the ship stowage plan.
Shipper – The shipper is obligated to obtain the verified gross mass (VGM) of a packed container using either Method 1 or 2. The shipper is also obligated to record the VGM on the shipping document and submit to the terminal operator and the vessel master or his representative sufficiently in advance.
7. All stakeholders with responsibilities with the maritime containerised logistic chain are to take into account MSC.1/Circ.1475 on Guidelines Regarding the Verified Gross Mass of a Container Carrying Cargo, as set out in the Annex, to ensure compliance to SOLAS regulation VI/2. F
Further information may be found by reading the circular below
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