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Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) - 54th Session, 25 - 29 October 2010

Mandatory Polar Code further developed

October 29, 2010

Mandatory Polar Code further developed
The Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) continued its development of a mandatory Code for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code), when it met for its 54th session.  It is intended that the Polar code will supplement relevant instruments, including SOLAS and MARPOL, for ships operating in polar waters in order to address the risks that are specific to operations in polar waters, taking into account the extreme environmental conditions and the remoteness of operation.  The Code will also address the possible impact of shipping operations on the environment in a comprehensive manner.  Regarding the structure of the new Code, the Sub-Committee agreed to utilize a risk-based/goal-based approach, including the development of goals and functional requirements which would be accompanied by prescriptive provisions.
 
The move to develop a mandatory Code follows the adoption by the IMO Assembly, in 2009, of Guidelines for ships operating in polar waters (Resolution A.1024(26)).
 
Member Governments and interested stakeholders were invited to submit documents to the next session (DE 55) to further the work on the Polar Code, including views on the inclusion of an Ice Certificate in the new Code. A correspondence group was re-established to review a hazard matrix which has been developed to identify the hazards which need to be addressed by the Polar Code.    
 
Guidance for watertight doors on passenger ships agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed a draft MSC circular on Guidance for watertight doors on passenger ships which may be opened during navigation, for submission to MSC 88 for approval.
 
Interpretations for tanker conversions agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed a draft MSC MEPC circular on Unified interpretations on the application of SOLAS, MARPOL and Load Line requirements to conversions of single hull tankers to double-hull tankers or bulk carriers, for submission to MSC 89 for approval, subject to concurrent approval by MEPC 62.
 
Revised ESP guidelines agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed to the draft revised Guidelines on the enhanced programme of inspections during surveys of bulk carriers and oil tankers (ESP Guidelines) which are intended to update and replace the guidelines contained in resolution A.744(18), adopted in 1993 and subsequently amended by the MSC (resolutions MSC.49(66), MSC.105(73), MSC.125(75), MSC.144(77), MSC.261(84)).
 
The final draft text and associated draft resolution, , will be submitted to MSC 89 for approval and to the Assembly in late 2011 for adoption, while draft amendments to SOLAS regulation XI-1/2 to refer to the new guidelines are expected to be adopted at MSC 90.
 
Amendments to testing recommendation for LSA agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances, to update a number of tests, for submission to MSC 89 in May 2011 for adoption. 
 
The Sub-cCommittee also agreed to review testing requirements for lifejacket reference test devices (RTDs) at its next session.

Type approval for add-on pollution prevention equipment agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft Guidelines and specifications for add-on equipment for upgrading MEPC.60(33)-compliant oil filtering equipment, for submission to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 62) for adoption.
 
Guidelines for ship board oily waste pollution prevention plan agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft Guidelines for a ship board oily waste pollution prevention plan, for submission to MEPC 62 for approval.
 
Revised specifications for oil discharge monitoring and control systems agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft Amendments to the Revised guidelines and specifications for oil discharge monitoring and control systems for oil tankers, for submission to MEPC 62 for adoption.
 
Standards for recovery systems further developed
The Sub-Committee continued its work on developing performance standards for recovery systems for all ships and agreed functional requirements should be prepared, which would not require the carriage of dedicated recovery equipment, but would allow sufficient flexibility with regard to the actual equipment used for recovery operations, bearing in mind that the recovery system must be tested to demonstrate its effectiveness.

The aim is to ensure that all ship types will eventually have the necessary capability to serve effectively as rescue assets and to have means to rescue people from the water or from survival craft, particularly when a professional rescue service is not available, either at all or not in due time.
 
Correspondence group on noise established
The Sub-Committee established a Correspondence Group on Protection Against Noise on Board Ships, to continue the work on developing draft amendments to update the Code on noise levels on board ships (resolution A.468(XII), adopted in 1981) and to consider how the Code could be made mandatory.
 
Counterfeit LSA products discussed
The Sub-Committee agreed on the need to raise awareness, among Administrations and ship operators, of the growing problem of counterfeit LSA products, including counterfeited hydrostatic release units,
pyrotechnics, position indicating lights and water rations. The Secretariat, in consultation with interested parties, was instructed to develop a draft circular or resolution, for consideration at DE 55.