DG Shipping issues new MS Notice on SOLAS VGM with clarifications


The Directorate-General of Shipping has put out a new MS Notice, No. 7, on the SOLAS VGM requirement, mandatory from July 1, 2016, listing supplementary additions and clarifications to the initial Notice issued on May 11, 2016.


The new Notice has provided relief pertaining to:

* Special specifications for weighbridges (till Aug. 31)

* Electronic submission of VGM (till Sept. 30); manual submission ok

* Dedicated secure websites (till Sept. 30)

* Aspects of weighment Method 2 for factory stuffed containers


The entire notice is reproduced here:


F. N. 75-NT(4)2015   Dated: 24.06.2016


MS Notice No. 07 of 2016


Sub.: Supplementary/clarificatory additionalities to the guidelines issued vide this office MS Notice No. 4 of 2016 dated 11.05.16 concerning verified gross mass of containers - reg.


1. This office had issued the MS Notice No. 4 of 2016 [F. No. 75-NT(4)/2015] dated 11.05.16 setting out Guidelines for implementing the amendments to the Regulation 2 of Chapter - VI of the SOLAS Convention concerning the verified gross mass [VGM] of containers. The said MS Notice comes into force with effect from 1st July, 2016.


2. The Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization [IMO), at its ninety-sixth session held at London from 11th to 20th May, 2016, has agreed that the Maritime Administrations and Port State Control Authorities of its Member-States should adopt a practical and pragmatic approach when verifying compliance of the requirements of the said amendments for a period of three months from 1st July, 2016. The IMO has, accordingly, issued its Circular MSC.1/Circ.1548 dated 23rd May, 2016, in this regard [Annexure - I: 1 page]. In view of the same, all stakeholders are required to ensure that a practical and pragmatic approach is taken while implementing the said guidelines for a period of three months from 01.07.16. [i.e. for period up to 30.09.2016].


3. In relation to the process of implementing the said guidelines, concerns have been raised during subsequent extensive stakeholder consultations and engagements about compliance of certain aspects of the said MS Notice, in view of the limited time available before the entry into force of the said amendments. Reckoning the same, it is hereby/underscored that while adhering to the fundamental principles of weighing containers with certified weighing appliances and production appurtenant of document as per the said amendments to the SOLAS Convention, it has been decided that a practical and pragmatic approach is essential.


4. Therefore, the said MS Notice No. 4 of 2016 is hereby partly modified, as under mutatis-mutandis:




4.1.1 Paras 29-36 of Section - (E) of Part IV of the said MS Notice deals with weighbridge/weighing appliances.


4.1.2 Concerns have been expressed regarding the availability of an adequate number of weighbridge/weighing appliances for due compliance of the said specified requirements before 1st July, 2016.


4.1.3 Factoring the said concerns expressed, the ‘Verified Gross Mass’ [VGM] obtained from all weighbridges/weighing appliances having valid certification from the jurisdictional Department of Legal Meteorology of the State/Union Territory Government concerned will be accepted, until 31.08.16.


4.1.4 All stakeholders are, however, urged to comply with the requirements specified for weighbridges/weighing appliances as specified in the said MS Notice, at the earliest.




4.2.1 Para 13 of the said MS Notice has specified that a shipper may submit the requisite information in an electronic format [EDI] electronic data interchange, using class III digital/electronic signature for verification of the authenticity of the document concerned.


4.2.2 Noting the fact that there has been an inadequate number of organisations complying with the requirement of a ‘dedicated secure website’ for this purpose, and till such time an adequate number of dedicated secure websites are accepted, to facilitate the trade, the physical format [hard copy] of the information pertaining to VGMs would be accepted till 30.09.16.


4.2.3 All concerned are, however, urged to ensure that they must progress to the electronic mode of transmission of such information, at the earliest, so as to facilitate an ease of doing business coupled with transparency, accuracy and expedition.




4.3.1 Paras 19 - 28 of Section - (D) of Part IV of the said MS Notice deal with ‘dedicated secure websites’.


4.3.2 Para 21 of the said MS Notice requires certification with regard to information security management systems.


4.3.3 Considering the lengthy process and time period required for obtaining such certification, it has been decided that applicants desiring to participate as ‘dedicated secure website’ provider shall obtain such certification before the 30th of September, 2016.


4.3.4 All concerned are, however, urged to invariably progress to the electronic mode of transmission of such information, at the earliest, so as to facilitate the process of adoption of digital/electronic methods on top priority.


5. METHOD-2 :


5.1 Paras 16 - 18 of section (C) of the said MS Notice deal with procedures for adopting Method-2 for the purpose.


5.2 Para 18 of the said MS Notice has specified procedures for obtaining approval.


5.3 Noting the concerns of the industry & trade due to paucity of time and to facilitate the associated processes, the revised procedures in lieu of para 18 of the said MS Notice 4 of 2016, are as under:


5.3.1 The shipper of the factory stuffed packages [not for bulk cargo] shall submit duly completed Annexure-2 as specified in the said MS Notice 4 of 20l6 directly to the Directorate-General of Shipping, Govt. of India along with its specified enclosures.


5.3.2 The shipper is also required to enclose a copy of the extract from the Quality Management System (QMS) manual, which details the procedures adopted for stuffing packages in containers for complying with the said Method-2 requirements.


5.3.3 Mandatory inspection, for approval shall not be required to be carried out. However, the Directorate-General of Shipping, Govt. of India or its authorised representatives may verify compliance, whenever required.


5.3.4 Since no inspections are being carried at the initial stage; no fee is required to be paid while submitting such applications. Fee will become payable only when verification is carried out.


5.3.5 A list of shippers whose certified modes are approved for adopting the specified Method - 2 for verifying the gross mass of a container shall be displayed on the website of the Directorate-General of Shipping, Govt. of India, Mumbai.


6. This MS Notice shall come into force with an immediate effect and shall be read concurrent with the said MS Notice No. 4 of 2016 of this office.


7. This is issued with the approval of the Director-General of Shipping & Additional Secretary to the Govt. of India.

(Capt. K. P. Jayakumar)

Deputy Nautical Adviser to the Govt. of India

Source: DG Shipping

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