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MCA publishes MGN 627 with important clarifications on the grandfathering legislation

Published on: 09 November 2023

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Following the recent short consultation on MGN 627, MGN 627 amendment 1 has now been published and can be found on the website here

This alongside the annual DPPSG meeting held on the 01/11/2023, the MCA has released further information on the grandfathering legislation.

MGN 627 amendment 1 contains clarifications for the passenger vessels currently trying to meet the new grandfathering legislation brought in almost a year ago, this includes further information for vessels trying to gain an exemption to the damage stability requirements but also the following important clarifications that will affect nearly all vessels going through grandfathering:

Fixed Fire Fighting 

To avoid any uncertainty around the classification of machinery spaces it is noted that only spaces containing internal combustion machinery greater than 375kW in aggregate or containing oil-fired boilers or other oil-fired units are Category A machinery spaces, irrespective of whether such machinery is used for main propulsion machinery or not.” 

This means that any vessel with less than 375KW installed in the engine space (roughly 500hp) are not being treated as CAT A machinery spaces and will be allowed to fit fixed firefighting systems such as FM (fireboy xintex systems) and Stat X.

Bilge alarms

“For clarification, such a system does not require a mute button, and does not require the alarm to “latch on”, i.e., when the water level drops back down it is acceptable for the alarm to stop sounding.”

Cat B vessels 100 per cent lifejacket carriage requirements exemption

“For this exemption to be granted, the evacuation arrangements must be to the satisfaction of the MCA – this approval may require a practical demonstration at a location on the vessel’s normal route specified by the surveyor. For example, this may be where the vessel is at highest risk, or a dry-shod evacuation is most challenging.”

Following the DPPSG meeting held on the 01/11/2023 lifejacket light approval has been queried on if they need to be UKCA marked (equivalent to the old ship wheeled MED equipment) which is currently being investigated further by the MCA. 

The issue of availability of these lights and the number needed to fulfil all the applicable grandfathered vessels has also been highlighted to the MCA, which is also being investigated further. If you are currently experiencing issues in purchasing these lights, please contact the technical team at British Marine and it can give feedback to the MCA.

With the above clarifications now included in MGN 627 amendment 1 local survey offices should now have the information they need in order to approve the applicable systems, however we are now nearly 1 year into the 2 year transition period so if you are still having any problems sourcing or having systems approved that meet the correct criteria you must contact the British Marine technical team via [email protected] so it can feed back to MCA HQ.