Are you familiar with the new SOLAS directives regarding onboard communications?

Blog Published 2018-03-02

The amended Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) directives will be enforced from the first of July 2018 and contains new regulations regarding communications for fire fighter on all ships.

SOLAS Chapter II-2, Regulation 10.10.4

The new regulations state that;

” For ships constructed on or after 1 July 2014, a minimum of two two-way portable radiotelephone apparatus for each fire party for fire-fighter´s communication shall be carried on board. Those two two-way radiotelephone apparatus shall be of an explosion-proof type or intrinsically safe. Ships constructed before 1 July 2014 shall comply with the requirements of this paragraph not later than the first survey after 1 July 2018”

SOLAS does not state any specific certification for explosion-protected or intrinsically safe devices and globally there exist several types of approvals. These are all on different levels and stringencies but the common denominator is that the equipment should not trigger any sparks that risk igniting explosive substances.

Within the EU the certification required is ATEX which in practice means that all vessels flagged within the EU need to follow this standard for their fire-fighter communications. We have also written more about ATEX in our article  The beginners guide to ATEX..

See our SOLAS solutions here or have a look at our entire line of ATEX products here.

More about SOLAS

The purpose of the International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea is to specify minimum requirements regarding the construction, equipment and operation of ships to ensure the safety at sea. Each country is responsible for ensuring that ships operating under their flag follow the requirements.

The first edition of SOLAS was released 1914 as a result of the Titanic catastrophe. Since then it has been published a further five times with the latest from 1974 including a clause that future amendments shall be added “automatically” if no objections are raised in time. The current version that is published by the International Maritime Organisation has therefore been updated on numerous times since.


  • Technical provisions
  • Chapter I | General provisions
  • Chapter II-1 | Construction
  • Chapter II-2 | Fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction
  • Chapter III | Life-saving appliances and arrangements
  • Chapter IV | Radio communications
  • Chapter V | Safety of navigation
  • Chapter VI | Carriage of cargo
  • Chapter VII | Carriage of dangerous goods
  • Chapter VIII | Nuclear ships
  • Chapter IX | Management for the Safe Operation of Ships
  • Chapter X | Safety measures for high-speed craft
  • Chapter XI-1 | Special measures to enhance maritime safety
  • Chapter XI-2 | Special measures to enhance maritime security
  • Chapter XII | Additional safety measures for bulk carriers
  • Chapter XIII | Verification of compliance
  • Chapter XIV - Safety measures for ships operating in polar waters
  • Amendments

Continue reading about SOLAS on the International Maritime Organisations website.