Recent MGN Explained

MGN 432 amendments Safety during Transfers of Persons to and from Ships

Transfers of persons at anchor or underway as regards: taking the necessary precautions, use of trained persons and carriage of requisite equipment to aid a safe transfer and rapid recovery of a casualty from the water. It is amended only to update references to regulations and Codes.


SOLAS certificated inflatable LSA including liferafts, lifejackets, and marine evacuation systems should be serviced every 12 months.  In exceptional cases, when it is clearly impracticable to comply with this annual servicing requirement, the MCA may consider whether the servicing could be deferred for a period not exceeding 5 months.

MGN 539 Carriage of the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers

Even where all seafarers have ready access to an electronic copy of the Code, an appropriate number of hard copies are retained on board as back-up in case of system failure.

MGN 538 Pleasure Vessels – Guidance and Applicable UK Regulations

Defines a Private Vessel

Lists all Health and Safety regulations for over 13.7m

Lists all MCA certificates for pleasure vessel over 24m

MGN 533 Means of Access

This deals with gangways and ladders including nets. Further information about gangways, accommodation ladders, portable and rope ladders, can be found in Annex 18.1 and Annex 18.2 to Chapter 18, Boarding Arrangements in COSWOP

MGN 532 Safe Movement on Board Ship

All deck surfaces, and accommodation access used for transit about the ship, and all passageways, walkways and stairs should be properly maintained and kept free from material or substances liable to cause a person to slip or fall.

Reference is ten made to COSWOP Ch13.

MGN 529 Immersion Suits

Packing and inspection; each suit be subjected to an air pressure test at intervals not exceeding 3 years, or every 2 years for suits over ten years of age

Where immersion suits are stored using conventional methods (not in airtight packaging), the suits themselves are expected to be physically inspected monthly.

MGN 507 Oil Pollution : Liability and Compulsory Insurance for Bunker Oil

Notice to all shipowners, operators, managers and masters of merchant vessels over 1,000 GT

MGN 505 Fatigue and Fitness For Duty

Provides practical information and guidance for consideration about;  i. Factors leading to fatigue and impaired fitness for duty,  ii. Policies and practices which can reduce the cause and impact of fatigue and other performance impairing factors  iii. Development and use of fatigue management plans to improve the identification, management and reduction of fatigue and other performance impairing factors,  iv. Useful checklists to help identify fatigue and stress and take preventative actions

MGN 497 Dangerous goods – including chemicals and other materials – storage and use onboard ship

This notice highlights the importance of the correct storage and stowage of packaged quantities of dangerous goods including chemicals, and other materials that are not cargo by virtue of their being in use and/or stored ready for use on board and includes the requirement to carry out a risk assessment in accordance with the ship’s Safety Management System.

See also  2002 Revised Emergency Response Procedures for Ships Carrying Dangerous Goods (EmS Guide) pg3.

MGN 492 Health and safety at work: protecting those not employed by the ship owner

HSE General Duties Regulations.

Each employer has a duty of care both to workers and to others on board

The Company has a duty to coordinate health and safety for all workers and others on board, by working with and sharing information with other employers, including contractors temporarily on board ship.

Workers should take care for, and report any concerns about, the safety of contractors operations in the same way as they would for ship’s crew.

MGN 566 STCW Manilla amendments

STCW amendments: revised conditions for exceptions

Authorised exceptions shall, as far as possible, follow the standard minimum hours of rest, but may take account of more frequent or longer leave periods, or the granting of compensatory leave for watch keeping seafarers or seafarers working on board ships with short voyages.

Weekly rest, Where an exception is approved: Seafarers must receive a minimum of 70 hours rest in any 7-day period; Exceptions from the normal weekly rest period (77 hours) shall not be allowed for more than two consecutive weeks;

intervals between two periods of exceptions on board shall not be less than twice the duration of the exception.

Daily rest, Where an exception is approved: the 10 hours of rest required in any 24 hours period may be divided into no more than three periods, one of which shall be at least 6 hours in length and neither of the other two periods shall be less than one hour in length; the intervals between consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hours;

Exceptions shall not extend beyond two 24-hour periods in any 7-day period.

MGN556.The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 2001

This MGN reinforces the purpose and use of safety signs

MGN 537 Surveys – Alternative Compliance Scheme

This scheme delegates most survey work to the United Kingdom’s (UK) authorised classification societies – ABS, BV, DNV-GL, LR, ClassNK and RINA

This allows the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to maintain an oversight of the structure of the ship and its management systems through ACS inspections (for issuance of Certificates of Inspection), International Safety Management (ISM) audits, International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) audits and Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 inspections.

MCA retain responsibility for issuance of

  1. ISM Document of Compliance (DOC)
  2. Safety Management Certificate (SMC)
  3. International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC)
  4. MLC Certificate

Conditions apply – see MGN link.

MGN 577  Maintenance of Lists of Crew Ashore

The master of any UK registered ship should ensure that an up- to-date copy of the List of Crew is passed to the shipowner at the commencement of each voyage. Masters must notify, as soon as practicable and in any case within 3 days, the changes to the shipowner for entering in the List of Crew maintained ashore.

MGN 578  Use of Equipment to Undertake Work Over the Side on Commercial Yachts

This Marine Guidance Note provides guidance on the use of “rail and trolley” and similar systems for undertaking “overside” work on yachts and other vessels. The main points are:

to ensure that new systems comply with the current BS/EN Standards;

to ensure that existing systems have been checked to an equivalent standard;

to ensure maintenance is carried out to the manufacturer’s advice

MGN 590  Manila Amendments: Alcohol Limits

This guidance note explains the current alcohol limits for seafarers set by the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Convention, 1978 as amended (STCW).

0.05% for blood and 0.25 mg/l for breath

MGN 592  Mooring, Towing or Hauling Equipment on all Vessels: Safe Installation and Safe Operation

This note provides updated advice on the safe installation, inspection, maintenance and use of mooring, towing and hauling equipment.

It emphasises the importance of seeking expert advice on the repair and maintenance of equipment.

It also advises that risk assessments which cover the use of mooring equipment and operations should take full account of the potential dangers of unusual or non-standard mooring arrangements, bights in mooring warps and snap back zones.

Dangerously weighted heaving lines must not be used.

MGN 610 Navigation: SOLAS Chapter V

This MGN provides updated guidance on the Merchant Shipping (Safety of Navigation) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/0673). It also refers to ambulatory reference as a means of updating requirements of SOLAS chapter V, for example where technical data provision changes.

MGN 659 Enclosed Spaces

CoSWP 2015 Amendment 2021

The merchant shipping entry into enclosed spaces regulations 2022 come into force for ships to which the safety of life at sea (SOLAS) convention 1974 applies, on the 14 May 2022 and for other ships, including fishing vessels, on the 14 May 2023 and revoke the merchant shipping entry into dangerous spaces regulations 1988.