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Unit V. Safety at sea

Read the following text about one of the most important treaties concerning safety at sea.

The International Convention for the Safety of Life

at Sea (SOLAS) is an international maritime safety
treaty. The main objective of the SOLAS Convention is
to specify minimum standards for the construction,
equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their
The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is
generally regarded as the most important of all
international treaties concerning the safety of merchant
ships. It includes articles setting out general obligations
followed by an annex divided into twelve chapters. Of
these, chapter five (often called 'SOLAS V') is the only
one that applies to all vessels on the sea, including
private yachts and small craft on local trips as well as to
commercial vessels on international passages. Many
countries have turned these international requirements
into national laws so that anybody on the sea who is in
breach of SOLAS V requirements may find themselves
subject to legal proceedings.

SOLAS Chapter V refers to the Safety of Navigation for all vessels at sea

This chapter requires governments to ensure that

all vessels are sufficiently and efficiently manned
from a safety point of view. It places requirements on
all vessels regarding voyage and passage planning,
expecting a careful assessment of any proposed
voyages by all who put to sea. Every mariner must
take account of all potential dangers to navigation,
weather forecasts, tidal predictions, the competence
of the crew, and all other relevant factors. It also adds
an obligation for all vessels' masters to offer
assistance to those in distress and controls the use of
lifesaving signals with specific requirements
regarding danger and distress messages.

Answer these questions.
1. What is SOLAS?
2. What is the purpose of this treaty?
3. What does SOLAS Chapter V deal with?
4. What does SOLAS Chapter V state?
5. In your opinion, why is it important to have these international regulations?
Read and match the two columns.
Column A

Column B

1. Breach

____ Exposure to harm or injury.

2. Safety

____ Something demanded or imposed as an obligation.

3. Distress

____ An infraction or violation, as of a law.

4. Manned

____ Freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss

5. Requirement

____ Operated by one or more persons.

6. Danger

____ The state of a ship or airplane requiring immediate

assistance, as when on fire in transit.

The requirements for life-saving equipment
on board vessels and how to ensure that
people survive if they have to abandon a
ship are to be found in SOLAS Chapter III.

Regulation 19
Emergency training and drills

Each member of the crew shall participate in at

least one abandon ship drill and one fire drill every
month. The drills of the crew shall take place before
departure of the ship if more than 25% of the crew
have not participated in abandon ship and fire drills on
board that particular ship in the previous month. When
a ship enters into service for the first time, after
modification of a major character or when a new crew
is engaged, the above mentioned drills shall be held
before sailing On-board training and instructions shall
be given to crew members in accordance with the
provisions of SOLAS regulation III/19.4.

Match the pictures with the correct name of the device above.
____ Distress flares

____ Immersion suit

____ Embarkation ladder

____ Life jackets

____ Fire pump

____ Life raft, life boat or survival craft

____ Life buoys

____ Extinguishers

Read and circle the correct option.

1.- It is provided at survival craft embarkation stations to permit safe access to survival
craft after landing.
a. life jacket

b. extinguisher

c. embarkation ladder

2.- It is a craft capable of sustaining the lives of persons in distress from the time of
abandoning the ship.
a. survival craft

b. life buoy

c. immersion suit

3.- It is a means of transferring a survival craft or rescue boat from its stowed position
safely to the water.
a. embarkation ladder

b. life jacket

c. launching appliance

Now, read and match the two columns.

1. Abandon vessel

____ It is the safe recovery of survivors.

2. Drill

____ Concise explanatory information to crew and/or passengers.

3. Retrieval

____ To impart or communicate by repetition. A routine.

4. Life boat station

____ To evacuate crew and passengers from a vessel following a

____ Place assigned to crew and passengers where they must
gather before being ordered into the lifeboats.

5. Briefing

Read this text about one of the most terrible accidents at sea The sinking of the Titanic.

Answer these questions.


When did the Titanic sink?

Was it her first voyage?
What type of vessel was it?
What did the crew use to attract help?
What were the main causes of having many casualties in this accident?
Concerning safety at sea, what was the result after this sinking?

Read the text again and make a timeline representing the sequence of events.

Word search

Complete these excerpts from SOLAS with the words in the box.
requirements - messroom - training manual

_______________________________ of SOLAS regulation III/35 shall be provided in
each crew __________________________ and recreation room or in each crew cabin.

maintenance - life-saving appliances - instructions

___________________________ for on-board maintenance of life-saving

appliances or a shipboard planned maintenance programme which includes the
maintenance of _______________________________, shall be provided on board
and ___________________________ shall be carried out accordingly. The
instructions shall be in compliance with the requirements of SOLAS regulation
embarkation - musters - passengers

On a ship engaged on a voyage where __________________________ are

scheduled to be on board for more than 24 h, __________________________ of the
passengers shall take place within 24 h after their ___________________________.
survival craft - certificated person - requirements

________________________________ is a person who holds a certificate of proficiency in

________________________________ under the authority of, or recognized as valid by,
the Administration in accordance with the _______________________________ of the
International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for
Seafarers, in force.

Relative clauses
A relative clause is a subordinate clause that modifies a noun or a noun phrase.
Relative clauses give essential information to define or identify the person or thing we are
talking about. For example,
A rescue boat is a boat which is designed to rescue persons in distress and to marshal
survival craft.

The passengers who are onboard that cruise shall participate in at least an abandon
ship drill and a fire drill.
The destination where that ship is sailing is very far from here.

Relative clauses
Relative pronoun

Relative adverb



subject or object pronoun for people

A seaman is a person who works

on a ship
subject or object pronoun for animals and The container ship which is
arriving will return next Monday.
subject or object pronoun for people, The crew that is working on the
animals and things in defining relative deck


refers to a time expression


refers to a place


refers to a reason

The day when the ship started

sailing was sunny.
The port where the passengers
will embark is really nice.
Nobody knew why the captain
had left the navigating bridge

Complete these sentences with the correct relative pronoun or adverb.

1. Do you know _____________________ that accident occurred?
2. The officer __________________ is responsible for the watch is known as the officer of
3. The direction _____________________ the vessel is intended to be steered is the course.
4. The sinking of the Titanic was the disaster _________________ led to the establishment
of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
Now, write your own sentences using either relative pronouns or adverbs.
1. _______________________________________________________________________
2. _______________________________________________________________________
3. _______________________________________________________________________
4. _______________________________________________________________________
5. _______________________________________________________________________