Technical Circular No: 006/2022

Exemption of Unmanned Non-Self-Propelled (UNSP) Barges from Survey and Certification Requirements.

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1. IMO vide Resolution MEPC. 328 (76) & MEPC.330 (76) adopted amendments to MARPOL Annexes I, IV and VI to formalize the exemption of Unmanned Non-Self-Propelled (UNSP) barges from the certification requirements of these Annexes of the MARPOL Convention. Additionally, Circular- MEPC.1/Circ.892 was also approved to provide guidelines for granting UNSP exemptions, as well as guidance on the maintenance of onboard conditions after survey.

2. For the purposes of MARPOL Annex I, IV & VI, UNSP barges have been defined as follows:

A. MARPOL Annex I: Barges which;

a) are not propelled by mechanical means;

b) carry no oil;

c) have no machinery fitted that may use oil or generate oil residue (sludge);

d) have no fuel oil tank, lubricating oil tank, oily bilge water holding tank and oil residue (sludge) tank; and

e) have neither persons nor living animals on board.

B. MARPOL Annex IV: Barges which;

a) are not propelled by mechanical means;

b) have neither persons nor living animals on board;

c) are not used for holding sewage during transport; and

d) have no arrangements that could produce sewage.

C. MARPOL Annex VI: Barges which;

a) are not propelled by mechanical means;

b) have no system, equipment and/or machinery fitted that may generate emissions regulated by this Annex; and

c) have neither persons nor living animals on board. 

3. These amendments to MARPOL Annex I, IV and VI will enter into force on 1 November 2022.

4. Accordingly, starting from 01 November 2022, Owners/ managers of UNSP barges may apply for one or more exemptions from the survey and certification requirements under MARPOL Annex I, IV and VI.

5. Where authorized by a flag Administration to undertake survey and issue exemption certificate to UNSP barges as above, IRS Head Office will advise the owners/ managers of such barges on the required plans and documents to be submitted in this respect.

6. On receipt of the required plans/ documents, same will be reviewed at IRS Head Office to confirm that the relevant conditions referred to in regulation 3.7 of MARPOL Annex I, regulation 3.2 of MARPOL Annex IV, or regulation 3.4 of MARPOL Annex VI, as appropriate, are met.

7. After a satisfactory review of the submitted plans and information, a confirmatory survey of the UNSP barge will be undertaken to confirm if the actual arrangements on board comply with the exemption conditions, as appropriate.

8. Based on satisfactory results of the survey, these UNSP barges will be issued with exemption certificates with a validity of five (5) years.

9. Owners/ managers of UNSP barges are advised to be guided by above and accordingly approach IRS Head Office for issuance of exemption certificates as above for such barges.



This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority. 

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