Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC)- Explained

What is a Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC)?

HSSC or Harmonized System of Survey and Certification is a process for harmonizing survey procedures and survey dates for all major ship certificates, instead of having different survey procedures and dates for certificates under different Conventions. The global and uniform implementation of HSSC is covered under IMO Resolution A.883(21), which was adopted on Nov 25, 1999. Though it is a mandatory system it is implemented on individual ships on different dates. It may be implemented by the FSA (Formal Safety Assessment) on or after Feb 4, 2000.

Purpose of HSSC:

  • The purpose of HSSC is simplifying and better organizing the process of survey and certifications of ships.
  • The Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC) was introduced as a way to standardize the periods and validity and time intervals between surveys for the major convention certificates. Under HSSC, the maximum period of validity for all ship’s statutory certificates EXCEPT Passenger Ship Certificate was extended to five years.
  • This has benefited the industry by making it easier for the ship owners to submit their fleets for the survey.
  • The new system was also more efficient for traveling surveyors and crew preparing vessels for the survey. It allowed the ships to plan the survey in a more relaxed and professional manner.
  • The flexibility of the modified survey schedule reduced the number of surveyors required.
  • It also cur down survey and administration time, reducing costs.

The harmonized system of survey and certification, applies to all types of ships and in respect of all relevant instruments.

IMO Conventions which were primarily affected by the introduction of HSSC

  • SOLAS, 1974 as modified by the Protocol of 1988 relating thereto, as amended (SOLAS 74/88);
  • International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 as modified by the Protocol of 1988 relating thereto, as amended (LLC 66/88);
  • MARPOL 73, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto, and as further amended by the Protocol of 1997
  • International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk, as amended (IBC Code);
  • International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk, as amended (IGC Code); and
  • Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk, as amended (BCH Code).

IMO Resolutions A.1104 (29) and A.1120(30) (Annex 1) gives the Survey Guidelines of various types of surveys under the HSSC system for the list of certificates given below:

List of Statutory Certificates comes under Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC)

  • Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate
  • Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate
  • Inspection of The Outside Of The Ship’s Bottom Of Cargo Ships
  • Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate
  • Passenger Ship Safety Certificate
  • International Load Line Certificate Or International Load Line Exemption Certificate
  • International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate
  • International Pollution Prevention Certificate For The Carriage Of Noxious Liquid Substances In Bulk
  • International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate
  • International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate And The NOx Technical Code
  • International Ballast Water Management Certificate
  • International Certificate Of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals In Bulk And The Certificate Of Fitness For The Carriage Of Dangerous Chemicals In Bulk
  • International Certificate Of Fitness For The Carriage Of Liquefied Gases In Bulk
  • Polar Ship Certificate Additional to SOLAS Certificates

Types of Surveys under HSSC:

The types of survey used in the harmonized system are as follows:

  • An Initial Survey (I) is a complete inspection before a ship is put into service of all the items relating to a particular certificate, to ensure that the relevant requirements are complied with and that these items are satisfactory for the service for which the ship is intended.
  • A Periodical Survey (P) is an inspection of the items relating to the particular certificate to ensure that they are in a satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which the ship is intended.
  • A Renewal Survey (R) is the same as a periodical survey but also leads to the issue of a new certificate.
  • An Intermediate Survey (In) is an inspection of specified items relevant to the particular certificate to ensure that they are in a satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which the ship is intended.
  • An Annual Survey (A) is a general inspection of the items relating to the particular certificate to ensure that they have been maintained and remain satisfactory for the service for which the ship is intended.

Frequencies and Processes of various types of Surveys under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC):

Initial Surveys (I):

  • Under the guidelines of Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC), an initial Survey should consist of a complete inspection, with tests when necessary, of the structure, machinery, and equipment to ensure that the requirements relevant to the particular certificate are complied with and that the structure, machinery, and equipment are fit for the service for which the ship is intended.
  • The initial survey should be held before the ship is put in service, or when a new instrument applies to an existing ship, and the appropriate certificate is issued for the first time.
  • The Initial Survey is required to be carried out as per:
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/7(a)(i) and 7(b)(I)
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/8(a)(i) and 8(b)(i)
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/9(a)(i) and 9(b)(I)
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/10(a)(i) and 10(b)(i)
  • The initial survey should consist of:
    • a complete inspection, with tests when necessary, of the structure, machinery, and equipment to ensure that the requirements relevant to the particular certificate are complied with and that the structure, machinery, and equipment are fit for the service for which the ship is intended.
    • an examination of the plans, diagrams, specifications, calculations and other technical documentation to verify that the structure, machinery, and equipment comply with the requirements relevant to the particular certificate;
    • an inspection of the structure, machinery and equipment to ensure that the materials, scantlings, construction, and arrangements, as appropriate, are in accordance with the approved plans, diagrams, specifications, calculations, and other technical documentation and that the workmanship and installation are in all respects satisfactory; and
    • a check that all the certificates, record books, operating manuals and other instructions and documentation specified in the requirements relevant to the particular certificate have been placed on board the ship.
    • an examination of the particulars of the ship, any exemptions sought, and any special conditions

Annual Surveys (A):

  • Under the guidelines of Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC), an annual survey should enable the Administration to verify that the condition of the ship, its machinery, and equipment is being maintained in accordance with the relevant requirements.
  • The annual survey should be held within three months before or after each anniversary date of the certificate. Where an annual survey has not been carried out within the due dates, then the validity of the certificate should be restored by carrying out the appropriate survey which, in such circumstances, should consist of the requirements of the survey that was not carried out, but its thoroughness and stringency should have regard to the time this survey was allowed to lapse. The Administration concerned should then ascertain why the survey was allowed to lapse and consider further action.
  • It should be carried out in accordance with:
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/8(a)(iv), 8(b)(iii), and10(a)(iv) and 10(b)(iv)
    • LLC 66/88 article 14(1)(c)
    • MARPOL Annex I Regulation 6.1.4
    • MARPOL Annex II Regulation 8.1.4
    • MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 5.1.4
    • BWM Convention Regulation E-1.1.4
    • IBC Code Regulation 1.5.2.1.4
    • IGC Code Regulation 1.4.2.4
    • BCH Code Regulation 1.6.2.1.4
  • An annual survey should consist of:
    • a certificate examination, a visual examination of a sufficient extent of the ship and its equipment, and certain tests to confirm that their condition is being properly maintained;
    • a visual examination to confirm that no unapproved modifications have been made to the ship and its equipment;
  • The content of each annual survey is given in the respective guidelines; the thoroughness and stringency of the survey should depend upon the condition of the ship and its equipment; and
  • Should any doubt arise as to the maintenance of the condition of the ship or its equipment, further examination and testing should be conducted as considered necessary.

Intermediate Surveys (In):

  • As mentioned in the guidelines of Harmonized System of Survey and Certification(HSSC), an intermediate survey should be an inspection of items relevant to the particular certificate to ensure that they are in a satisfactory condition and are fit for the service for which the ship is intended.
  • The intermediate survey should be held within three months before or after the second-anniversary date or within three months before or after the third anniversary date of the appropriate certificate and should take the place of one of the annual surveys.
  • It should be carried out in accordance with:
    • SOLAS 74/88 regulations I/10(a)(iii) and 10(b)(iii)
    • MARPOL Annex I regulation 6.1.3
    • MARPOL Annex II regulation 8.1.3
    • MARPOL Annex VI regulation 5.1.3
    • BWM Convention regulation E-1.1.3
    • IBC Code regulation 1.5.2.1.3
    • IGC Code regulation 1.4.2.3
    • BCH Code regulation 1.6.2.1.3
  • When specifying items of hull and machinery for detailed examination, due account should be taken of any continuous survey schemes that may be applied by classification societies.
  • Where an intermediate survey has not been carried out within the due dates, then the validity of the certificate should be restored by carrying out the appropriate survey which, in such circumstances, should consist of the requirements of the survey that was not carried out, but its thoroughness and stringency should have regard to the time this survey was allowed to lapse.
  • The Administration concerned should then ascertain why the survey was allowed to lapse and consider further action.

Periodical Surveys (P):

  • As per the guidelines of Harmonized System of Survey and Certification(HSSC), a periodical survey should consist of an inspection, with tests when necessary, of the equipment to ensure that requirements relevant to the particular certificate are complied with and that they are in a satisfactory condition and are fit for the service for which the ship is intended.
  • The periodical survey should be held:
    • in the case of the Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate, within three months before or after the second-anniversary date or within three months before or after the third-anniversary date and should take the place of one of the annual surveys;
    • in the case of the Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate, it should be held within three months before or after each anniversary date.
  • The periodical surveys should be carried out in accordance with:
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/8(a)(iii) and 8(b)(ii), Regulations I/9(a)(iii) and 9(b)(iii)
  • Where a periodical survey has not been carried out within the due dates, then the validity of the certificate should be restored by carrying out the appropriate survey which, in such circumstances, should consist of the requirements of the survey that was not carried out, but its thoroughness and stringency should have regard to the time this survey was allowed to lapse. The Administration concerned should then ascertain why the survey was allowed to lapse and consider further action.

Renewal Surveys (R):

  • According to the guidelines of Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC), renewal survey should consist of an inspection, with tests when necessary, of the structure, machinery, and equipment to ensure that the requirements relevant to the particular certificate are complied with and that they are in a satisfactory condition and are fit for the service for which the ship is intended.
  • The Renewal Surveys need to be carried out in accordance with:
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/7(a)(ii) and 7(b)(ii)
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/8(a)(ii) and 8(b)(ii)
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/9(a)(ii) and 9(b)(ii)
    • SOLAS 74/88 Regulations I/10(a)(ii) and 10(b)(ii)
    • LLC 66/88 article 14(1)(b)
    • MARPOL Annex I regulation 6.1.2
    • MARPOL Annex II regulation 8.1.2
    • MARPOL Annex IV regulation 4.1.2
    • MARPOL Annex VI regulation 5.1.2
    • BWM Convention regulation E-1.1.2
    • IBC Code regulation 1.5.2.1.2
    • IGC Code regulation 1.4.2.2
    • BCH Code regulation 1.6.2.1.2
  • The renewal survey should be held before the respective certificate is renewed. The cargo ship safety construction renewal survey may be commenced at the fourth annual survey and maybe progressed during the succeeding year with a view to completion by the fifth-anniversary date. The survey items of the fourth annual survey should not be credited to the completion of the renewal survey.
  • The renewal survey should also consist of a check that all the certificates, record books, operating manuals and other instructions and documentation specified in the requirements relevant to the particular certificate are on board the ship.
  • Concurrent crediting to both intermediate and renewal safety construction survey for surveys of spaces should not be acceptable.

Additional Surveys (Ad):

  • Whenever an accident occurs to a ship or a defect is discovered which affects the safety or integrity of the ship or the efficiency or completeness of its equipment, the master or owner should make a report at the earliest opportunity to the Administration, the nominated surveyor or recognized organization responsible for issuing the relevant certificate.
  • The Administration, the nominated surveyor or recognized organization responsible for issuing the relevant certificate should then initiate an investigation to determine whether a survey, as required by the regulations applicable to the particular certificate, is necessary.
  • This additional survey, which may be general or partial according to the circumstances, should be such as to ensure that the repairs and any renewals have been effectively made and that the ship and its equipment continue to be fit for the service for which the ship is intended.

Inspections of the Outside of the Ship’s Bottom (B):

for Cargo Ships:

  • There should be a minimum of two inspections of the outside of the ship’s bottom during any five-year period** (SOLAS 74/88 regulation I/10(a)(v).), except where SOLAS 74/88 regulation I/14(e) or (f) is applicable.
  • One such inspection should be carried out on or after the fourth annual survey in conjunction with the renewal of the Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate or the Cargo Ship Safety Certificate.
  • Where the Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate or the Cargo Ship Safety Certificate has been extended under SOLAS 74/88 regulation I/14(e) or (f), this five-year period may be extended to coincide with the validity of the certificate.
  • In all cases, the interval between any two such inspections should not exceed 36 months.
  • Inspections of the outside of the ship’s bottom are normally carried out with the ship in a dry dock. However, consideration may be given to alternate inspections being carried out with the ship afloat.
  • Special consideration should be given before ships of 15 years of age and over other than bulk carriers and oil tankers are permitted to have such surveys afloat.
  • Inspection of the outside of the ship’s bottom of bulk carriers and oil tankers of 15 years of age and over should be carried out with the ship in dry dock.
  • Inspections with the ship afloat should only be carried out when the conditions are satisfactory and the proper equipment and suitably trained staff are available. For ships subject to enhanced survey, an applicable part of annex A or B, of the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (ESP Code) should apply

for Passanger Ships:

As per the the guidelines of Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC)

  • A minimum of two of the inspections of the outside of the ship’s bottom during any five-year period should be conducted in dry dock. In all cases, the maximum interval between any two dry-dock bottom inspections should not exceed 36 months.
  • Where acceptable to the Administration, the minimum number of inspections in dry dock of the outside of the bottom of a passenger ship which is not a ro-ro passenger ship in any five-year period may be reduced from two to one.
  • In such cases, the interval between consecutive inspections in the dry dock should not exceed 60 months.
  • If a survey in dry dock is not completed within the maximum intervals referred to above, the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate should cease to be valid until the survey in dry dock is completed.

Harmonized System of Survey and Certification Diagramatic Arrangement

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IMO Resolution A 1120.30/ Appendix-2 HSSC Diagramatic-Arrangement
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References:

IMO Resolution A.1120(30)- Survey Guidelines Under the Harmonized System of Survey And Certification (HSSC), 2017 Download