Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to make mandatory the International Code for the Application of Fire Test Procedures (2010 FTP Code) came into force on July 1, 2012, according to an IMO briefing statement.

The 2010 FTP Code provides the international requirements for laboratory testing, type-approval and fire test procedures for products referenced under SOLAS chapter II-2 (which includes regulations on fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction).

The 2010 FTP Code includes the following: test for non-combustibility; test for smoke and toxicity; test for “A”, “B” and “F” class divisions; test for fire door control systems; test for surface flammability (surface materials and primary deck coverings); test for vertically supported textiles and films; test for upholstered furniture; test for bedding components; test for fire-restricting materials for high-speed craft; and test for fire-resisting divisions of high-speed craft.

It also includes annexes on products which may be installed without testing and/or approval and on fire protection materials and required approval test methods.

Other amendments entering into force on July 1, 2012, include: amendments to SOLAS regulation V/18 to require annual testing of automatic identification systems (AIS); amendments to SOLAS regulation V/23 on pilot transfer arrangements, to update and to improve safety aspects of pilot transfer; amendments to safety certificates in the SOLAS appendix and SOLAS Protocol of 1988, relating to references to alternative design and arrangements;  amendments to the International Convention for Safe Containers, 1972, to include addition of new paragraphs in Regulation 1 Safety Approval Plate, specifying the validity of and elements to be included in approved examination programs; the addition of a new test for containers being approved for operation with one door removed; and the addition of a new Annex III Control and Verification, which provides specific control measures to enable authorized officers to assess the integrity of structurally sensitive components of containers and to help them decide whether a container is safe to continue in transportation or whether transport should be stopped until remedial action has been taken; and a new chapter 9 of the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code), related to fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems.