Current International Maritime Organization (IMO) publication carriage requirements were approved by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC,) held from May 10 to 19, 2006 and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC,) held from July 18 to 22, 2005, (See MSC-MEPC.2/Circ.2) and are detailed in Required Publications below. The MSC and MEPC shall review and update the list of required publications, as required. Instruments, such as Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS,) International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships (MARPOL,) Load Lines (LL,) the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) are concerned with many operational aspects, including navigational responsibilities, safety, and training drills, safe handling of cargo, prevention of oil spills, watchkeeping standards and collision avoidance measures. While not expressly required, these instruments may be necessary in order to enhance crew member’s knowledge and the incorporation of required provisions.

  • Many countries have national instruments, which incorporate required instruments; when such instruments are carried on board it is not necessary to carry required publications.
  • Publications may be stored in electronic formats, such as on a CD or hard drive, instead of carrying physical paper copies. Electronic publications must be issued by the IMO or authorized administrations to prevent illegal copying and to ensure the completeness and accuracy of data. An electronic storage method may contain one publication or many: all data should be handled in accordance with Safety Management System (SMS) document control procedures regular updates.

Publications for emergency use, such as the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual and the International Code of Signals should always be readily available in physical, paper form so that they may be readily accessed in emergency situations, including during power outages and so that they are not restricted in the physical space in which they may be accessed.

Required Publications

Publication Name Most Recent Edition *IMO nr/ANS nr Mandatory By Applicable Vessels Comments
IBC Code 2016


E/ID100E IBC, paragraph 16.2.1 Chemical Tankers Constructed on or after July 1, 1986
BCH Code 2008 Edition E/IC772E BCH, paragraph 5.2.1 Chemical Tankers Constructed on or after July 1, 1986
IGC Code 1993 Edition E/I104E IGC, paragraph 18.1.3 Gas Carrier Constructed on or after July 1, 1986
IGC Code 2016 Edition E/IA104E IGC, paragraph 18.1.2 Gas Carrier Gas carriers constructed after July 1, 1986, and before July 1, 2016, should have a copy of the 1993 edition with all the supplements in addition to the 2016 edition, unless copies of national regulations incorporating the provisions of the IGC Code are provided onboard ship, in which case the IMO publication of the IGC Code need not be carried on board. All new builds constructed after July  1, 2016, will require a copy of the 2016 edition of the IGC Code on board ship. Administrations may also choose to have a copy of the 2016 edition of the IGC Code for reference.
International Code of Signals ¹ 2005 Edition IA994E SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 21.1 All
IAMSAR Manual Volume III ¹ 2019 Edition IJ962E SOLAS

Chapter V,

Regulation 21.2

Nautical Charts & Publications ² SOLAS

Chapter V, Regulation 19.2.1


Chapter V, Regulation 27

All See below for details.
Publications Required by International Safety Management (ISM) Code ISM Code, paragraphs 1.2.3 and 11.3 All Ship SMS manuals contain details of additional required publications.

Annex VI Reg.12

All Logbook for vessels with ODS

(Ozon depleting substances) containing systems or equipment.

All publications onboard vessels, in any of format, should be the most current edition or updated with the latest corrections. Unless stated otherwise, official digital publications are permitted. It is recommended however mariners consult with their respective flag state authority regularly on the use of digitized publications and their acceptance.

*E = Available in electronic format.

¹ Emergency use copies of these publications must always be readily available in physical, paper editions.

² Nautical Charts & Publications

  1. Adequate charts for the intended voyage – up to date
  2. Chart catalog – up to date
  3. Admiralty Sailing Directions / NGA Sailing Directions
  4. Admiralty List of Lights / NGA List of Lights
  5. Notices to Mariners
  6. Admiralty Tide Tables / NOAA Tide Tables
  7. Mariners Handbook
  8. Nautical Almanac
  9. Navigational Tables
  10. Admiralty List Of Radio Signals Volumes I to VI Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) / NGA Radio Aids
  11. Tidal stream atlases
  12. Ocean Passages for the World

The following table provides carriage guidance on international regulatory materials; easy access to which is useful for mariners onboard vessels. It also provides guidance on appropriate listed publications in the vessel’s SMS manual or relevant extracts from which that may be included in the SMS manual. The following are recommended publications in accordance with applicable international instruments for carriage onboard vessels.

Recommended Publications

Publication Name Most Recent Edition *IMO nr

/ANS nr

Mandatory By Applicable Vessels Comments
All Vessels
SOLAS 2020 Consolidated Edition E/IG110E N/A All
MARPOL 2017 Consolidated E/IE520E N/A All
Load Lines 2005 Edition E/IB701E N/A All
STCW 2017 Edition E/ID938E N/A All vessels with

an exception to fishing vessels

STCW – F 95 1996 Edition E/I915E N/A Fishing Vessels
COLREGS 2003 Edition E/IB904E N/A All
Tonnage Measurements of Ships 1969 1969 Edition E/I713E N/A All
LSA Code 2017 Edition E/IE982E N/A All
FSS Code 2015 Edition E/IB155E N/A All
ISPS Code 2012 Edition E/IA116E N/A All
Bridge Procedures Guide 5th Edition E/BPG-2016 N/A All
IMO Standard Marine Communication Phrases (SMCP) 2004 Edition E/IA987E N/A Applicable to all vessels to which the SOLAS chapter I apply.
Class Related
High Speed Craft (2000 HSC) 2000 Edition E/IA185E N/A High-Speed Craft Constructed on and after July 1, 2002
High Speed Craft (1994 HSC) 1994 Edition E187E N/A High-Speed Craft Constructed on and after January 1, 1996, and before July 1, 2002. Available as an e-book only.
MODU Code 2009 2009 Edition E/I810E N/A The mobile offshore drilling unit Constructed on and after Jan 1, 2012
MODU Code 2001 2001 Edition E/I811E N/A A mobile offshore drilling unit Constructed on before Jan 1, 2012
OSV Code 2001 Edition E/I288E N/A Offshore supply vessels
Cargo Related
Tanker Safety Guide (Liquified Gas) 2nd 1995 edition 0906270030 N/A LNG Tankers
ICS Tanker Safety Guide (Chemicals) 4th 2014 Edition TSG2014 N/A Chemical Tankers
ISGOTT (International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals) 6th Edition 6th Edition E/9781856099189 N/A Oil Tankers
International Grain Code 1991 Edition E/I240E N/A Vessels transporting grain cargo
Gas Carrier Code 1983 Edition E/I782E N/A Gas Carrier Constructed before July 1, 1986
International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code 2018 Edition E/IL200E N/A Vessels transporting dangerous goods. Dangerous goods in bulk or package form. 2014 Edition valid until December 31st, 2017
Maritime Carriage of Nuclear Substances 1972 Edition E429B N/A Vessels transporting INF cargo Available as an e-book only.
International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code 2018 Edition E/II260E N/A All Solid bulk cargoes.
BLU Code 2011 Edition E/IA266E N/A Bulk Carriers
Cargo Stowage & Securing (CSS) Code 2011 Edition E/IB292E N/A Cargo Securing
Code of safe practice for ships carrying timber deck cargoes 2011 Edition E/IA275E N/A Vessels transporting timber on the deck
Convention for Safe Containers (CSC) 2014 Edition E/IC282E N/A Vessels transporting containers
Operations Related
Polar water guidelines 2010 Edition E/I190E N/A Vessels sailing in Polar areas
Best Management Practices (BIMCO) 5th Edition WS1569W N/A Vessels sailing through areas with piracy activity reported Available as an e-book only.
ICS Guide to helicopter/ship operations 4th 2009 Edition E/GTHS N/A Vessels involved in helicopter operations

*E = Available in electronic format.

Note: No actions should be filed by control authorities from surveyors, port states, and/or ISM code auditors for vessels, which do not carry these publications. Carriage of these publications is optional unless such publications are required by the ship’s Administration and/or SMS manual. All publications onboard ships must be the latest editions or updated with current information.

Disclaimer: American Nautical Services, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the accuracy and contents of this article. The information in this article has been provided for informational purposes only. Mariners should consult with their respective flag state authority, company administration, and safety management system (SMS) to ensure compliance with all current chart and publication carriage requirements on the domestic and international level.