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IMO High Speed Craft (HSC) Code

With the development of many new types of HSC in the 1980s and 1990s, IMO decided to adopt new international regulations dealing with the special needs of this type of vessel. In 1994, IMO adopted the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft (HSC Code) (resolution MSC.36 (63), which was developed following a revision of the Code of Safety of Dynamically Supported Craft (resolution A.373(X)).

Also in 1994, IMO adopted a new SOLAS chapter X – Safety measures for high-speed craft, which makes the HSC Code mandatory high-speed craft built on or after 1 January 1996. The Chapter was adopted in May 1994 and entered into force on 1 January 1996.

The HSC Code applies to high-speed craft engaged on international voyages, including passenger craft which do not proceed for more than four hours at operational speed from a place of refuge when fully laden and cargo craft of 500 gross tonnage and above which do not go more than eight hours from a port of refuge. The Code requires that all passengers are provided with a seat and that no enclosed sleeping berths are provided for passengers.

The Code is intended to be a complete set of comprehensive requirements for high-speed craft, including equipment and conditions for operation and maintenance. A basic aim is to provide levels of safety which are equivalent to those contained in SOLAS and the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966. The HSC Code includes very detailed requirements such that a high-speed craft deemed to be in compliance with the Code is therefore deemed to be in complaince with SOLAS chapters I to IV and regulation V(12) (Shipborne navigational equipment). Of course, HSC must comply with any other applicable requirements in SOLAS – such as the ISM Code – and other international conventions.