Lloyd’s Register has issues a statutory alert on the revised IMO guidelines for maintenance, testing and inspection of fire protection systems and appliances will become effective on 31 May, 2013, and are contained in the circular MSC.1/Circ. 1432. These guidelines should be followed in accordance with SOLAS regulation II-2/14, which requires that all fire protection systems and appliances are kept in good order and that a maintenance plan is developed.

According to LR, the guidelines state that certain maintenance procedures and inspections may be performed by competent crew members who have completed an advanced fire-fighting training course, while others should be performed by people specially trained in the maintenance of such systems. The onboard maintenance plan should indicate which parts of the recommended inspections and maintenance are to be completed by trained personnel.

Records of inspections and servicing performed for specific equipment should be carried on board the ship or can be computer-based. In cases where inspections and maintenance are carried out by trained service technicians, inspection reports should be provided.

LR noted that MSC.1/Circ. 1432 provides the minimum recommended level of maintenance, testing and inspections for fire protection systems and appliances but it does not address the maintenance and inspection of fixed carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing systems or portable fire extinguishers. For these items, please refer to the “Guidelines for the maintenance and inspections of fixed carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing systems” (MSC.1/Circ.1318), and the “Improved Guidelines for marine portable fire extinguishers” (Resolution A.951 (23)).

According to LR, owners and operators of new and existing ships should create a new onboard maintenance plan or revise their existing plan to incorporate the requirements of MSC.1/Circular 1432. If the vessel’s flag administration has issued related instructions these are to be taken into account.

LR surveyors have been instructed to confirm that ships' maintenance plans comply with MSC.1/Circular 1432 or flag administration instructions during appropriate surveys that take place on or after 31 May 2013.