Maritime Safety

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The SOLAS Convention, to which Antigua and Barbuda is a party, requires flag states to ensure that ships flagged by them comply with the minimum safety standards in the construction, equipment, and operation.  SOLAS Chapter V: Safety of Navigation requirements apply to all vessels and their crew, including yachts and private craft, on all voyages. 

All vessels are to be sufficiently and efficiently manned from a safety point of view. Every mariner must conduct a careful assessment in undertaking proposed voyages, with sound passage planning that considers all potential dangers to navigation, weather forecasts, tidal predictions, the competence of the crew, and all other relevant factors. 

Magnetic Compass – Installation

As part of the shipborne navigational equipment, any magnetic compass installation will be approved by the vessel’s classification society. The RO will approve the installation with respect to compliance to above mentioned regulations, as part of the [Cargo] Ship Safety Equipment Certificate (CSSEC).

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EPIRBS – Registry and Maintenance

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBS) are required to be carried in:

  • All commercial vessels over 300 GT.
  • All vessels certified under the Caribbean Small Vessel Code and engaged on voyages in exposed waters or on international voyages with more than 12 passengers,
  • All vessels certificated under the Caribbean Cargo Ship Safety Code,
  • All commercial yachts certified as in compliance with the Large Yacht Code,
  • Commercial yachts under 24 m complying with the M280 Code if operating at extended ranges.

Many pleasure yachts voluntarily carry EPIRBS and many are required to do so as a condition of their entry into races and other events. There are therefore a large number of EPIRBS in service on Antigua and Barbuda registered vessels.

For EPIRBs to function correctly it is important that the details of the vessel to which they are fitted are available to rescue services in order that the proper level of response can be arranged in the case of an emergency and so that false alerts can be quickly identified and cleared. 

The Administration has made arrangements with the International Cospas-Sarsat programme for the recording of beacon information directly on their database from where it can be accessed by all MRCCs world-wide.

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