Guidance on the industrial personnel (IP) code


Version history

December 2022 – Initial publication



The International Code of Safety for Ships Carrying Industrial Personnel (IP Code) has been developed by IMO as a mandatory code that will enter into force on 1 July 2024. The Code is intended to provide for the safe carriage of Industrial Personnel on ships and their safety during personnel transfer operations between the ship and offshore installations. The IP Code is made mandatory through a new Chapter XV in the SOLAS Convention.

Industrial Personnel are defined as “persons who are transported or accommodated on board for the purpose of offshore industrial activities performed on board other ships and/or offshore facilities.”

Although it is recognised that industrial personnel are similar to Special Personnel (as regulated by the SPS Code), in that they are on board the ship to carry out what might broadly be described as “industrial activities”, rather than actually operating the ship they are on, or being carried as passengers for transport or pleasure. The key difference between Industrial Personnel and Special Personnel is that Special Personnel work on board the ship in connection with the “special purpose” of the ship or because of special work being carried out on board the ship, Industrial Personnel are merely transported by or accommodated on the ship and do not work on board the ship.

The IP Code applies to ships > 500 GT, operating internationally and carrying at least one Industrial Personnel as part of a total of > 12 Industrial Personnel, Special Personnel, and passengers.

Existing ships are only eligible for the grandfathering provisions in the IP Code if they have been authorised by their flag administration to carry Industrial Personnel before the entry into force of the IP Code on 1 July 2024. Ships without prior authorisation by the flag administration will have to comply with the entire IP Code before being able to carry > 12 Industrial Personnel after 1 July 2024.

The IP Code is largely based on the 2008 SPS Code, although there are some significant differences:

  • Training requirements applicable to Industrial Personnel in the IP Code are more specific than those which apply to SP in the SPS Code (minimum age, fitness, language, training, and familiarisation).
  • The IP Code contains requirements for the safe transfer of personnel and for transfer of equipment.
  • The IP Code contains additional requirements for lifesaving appliances on high-speed craft.
  • The IP Code contains additional requirements related to the carriage of dangerous goods.

Key Issues

  • Owners will need to take action to ensure that existing ships will be able to continue to carry Industrial Personnel once the IP Code enters into force.
  • Existing SPS Code ships are particularly impacted by the aggregation of Special Personnel and Industrial Personnel in the IP Code. Owners of such ships will need to take action to ensure that such ships will be able to continue to operate.
  • The IP Code limits the carriage of dangerous goods while carrying Industrial Personnel on board. This may impact offshore installation or decommissioning work.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Applicability of the IP Code
  • Existing Ships
  • Relationship Between IP Code and SPS Code
  • Personnel Transfer Appliances
  • High-Speed Craft (HSC)
  • References
  • Appendix 1 – Structure of the Code
Reference(s): IMCA REG005
Published:June 2024
Grade:IMCA Informative Guidance

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