Draft mandatory requirements for periodic servicing and maintenance of lifeboats agreed by DE Sub-Committee
Draft mandatory requirements for periodic servicing and maintenance of lifeboats and rescue boats were agreed by the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) when it met for its 57th session, together with associated draft amendments to SOLAS chapter III and guidelines on safety during abandon ship drills using lifeboats. The aim is to prevent accidents involving lifeboats, which may be caused by equipment failure due to poor maintenance, and to establish additional procedures for safe drills.
A draft MSC resolution on Requirements for periodic servicing and maintenance of lifeboats and rescue boats, as well as associated draft SOLAS amendments to make these requirements mandatory, were agreed for submission to the Maritime Safety Committee in June (MSC 92) for approval, with a view to adoption at MSC 93 (to be held in 2014).
The draft amendments to SOLAS regulation III/20 on Operational readiness, maintenance and inspections provide for the periodic servicing of lifeboats, rescue boats and fast rescue boats, as well as launching appliances and release gear.
Administrations are required to ensure that the thorough examination, operational testing, repair, and overhaul of equipment is carried out in accordance with SOLAS regulation III/20 by authorized service providers that are qualified in these operations for each make and type of equipment for which they provide the service.
Lists of the items to be examined for satisfactory condition and operation are given in the requirements.
The Sub-Committee noted the view that the entry-into-force date for the requirements should be carefully considered in view of the time needed to train and authorize personnel for periodic servicing.
The Sub-Committee also agreed a draft MSC circular on Guidelines on safety during abandon ship drills using lifeboats, reflecting recommendatory provisions, for submission to MSC 92 for approval in principle and final approval at MSC 93. The draft circular notes that drills must be safe, and that abandon ship drills should be planned, organized and performed so that the recognized risks are minimized and in accordance with relevant shipboard requirements of occupational safety and health.
The package of mandatory and recommendatory measures follows work by the Sub-Committee to review MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev.1 on Measures to prevent accidents with lifeboats and MSC.1/Circ.1277 on Interim Recommendation on conditions for authorization of service providers for lifeboats, launching appliances and on-load release gear, which were themselves developed as part of long-standing work on measures to prevent accidents with lifeboats.
Mandatory code for ships operating in polar waters further developed
The Sub-Committee made significant progress in further developing the draft mandatory International Code of safety for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code), in particular with the finalization of a draft chapter on environmental protection for consideration by MEPC 65, and requested the MSC to authorize the holding of an intersessional meeting of the Polar Code Working Group in late 2013, to further progress the work.
A working group during the session further developed the technical parts of the draft Code.
The aim is to finalize the draft Code in 2014 for adoption by the MSC and Marine environment Protection Committee (MEPC). The Polar Code is intended to cover the full range of shipping-related matters relevant to navigation in waters surrounding the two poles – ship design, construction and equipment; operational and training concerns; search and rescue; and, equally important, the protection of the unique environment and eco-systems of the polar regions.
Agreement in principle was reached on definitions for the different categories of ship to be covered by the Code, as follows:
• Category A ship means a ship capable to operate at least in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions in accordance with an ice class at least equivalent to those acceptable to the Organization.
• Category B ship means a ship capable to operate in sea ice conditions other than those included in Category A with an ice class at least equivalent to those acceptable to the Organization.
• Category C ship means any ship which is not a Category A or Category B ship.
It was agreed that that all ships operating in polar waters should have a Polar Ship Certificate and a Polar Water Operation Manual.
As instructed by the main committees, it was agreed that the Polar Code would be adopted by separate MSC and MEPC resolutions, with amendments to mandatory instruments to be developed to make the Code mandatory. This would also impact on the structuring of the Code.
The Polar Code correspondence group was re-established to further develop the draft Code and also draft amendments to mandatory IMO instruments (SOLAS and MARPOL), to make the Code mandatory.
Guidelines to reduce underwater noise to protect marine life agreed
The Sub-Committee agree to a draft MEPC circular on Guidelines for the Reduction of Underwater Noise from Commercial Shipping, for submission to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 66 in 2014) for approval.
The non-mandatory Guidelines are intended to provide general advice about reduction of underwater noise to designers, shipbuilders and ship operators and consider common technologies and measures that may be relevant for most sectors of the commercial shipping industry. Designers, shipbuilders, and ship operators are encouraged to also consider technologies and operational measures not included in these Guidelines, which may be more appropriate for specific applications.
The guidelines give recommendations on predicting underwater noise levels, such as using underwater noise computational models; standards and references that may be used, including (ISO/PAS) 17208-1 "Acoustics – Quantities and procedures for description and measurement of underwater sound from ships – Part 1: General requirements for measurements in deep water"; design considerations; onboard machinery selection and location; additional technologies for existing ships; and operational and maintenance considerations.
Plan of action to develop requirements for lifting appliances agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed a plan of action for developing mandatory requirements for onboard lifting appliances and winches and established a correspondence group to work on the issue, taking into account a preliminary list of international standards, internationally recognized standards, classification society rules and standards, and national standards developed during the session as a well as a draft framework for guidelines.
It is envisaged that a working group at the next session would start developing draft Guidelines for onboard lifting appliances and winches and further consider and also draft amendments to existing IMO instruments, as appropriate. Other Sub-committees and the International Labour Organization (ILO) will be invited to collaborate in developing the guidelines. It was noted that ILO Convention 152 concerning Occupational Safety and Health in Dock Work only applied to the carrying out of dock work while SOLAS contained no specific requirements relating to ships' lifting appliances.
The Sub-Committee noted information from the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA) regarding information received from the International Group of P&I Clubs, indicating that 126 incidents had occurred from a representation of 13,000 ships.
These incidents comprise such items as failures to hoist wires, slewing rings, crane jib structures, pedestal holding down bolts, brakes and other structural failures and many resulted in serious injuries or fatalities.
Goal-based guidelines for LSA agreed in principle
The Sub-Committee agreed, in principle, to draft Goal-based guidelines on framework of requirements for ships' life-saving appliances, for later submission to the MSC for approval, following completion of work on the development of safety objectives and functional requirements of guidelines on alternative design and arrangements for SOLAS chapters II-1 and III. The work forms part of the road map for the development of a new framework of requirements for life-saving appliances and arrangements, with a view to completing a comprehensive revision of SOLAS chapter III and the International Code for Life-Saving Appliances (LSA Code) in due course.
Amendments to LSA Code and testing of LSA agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to the LSA Code in relation to lifejacket reference test devices (RTDs) with a view to improve the uniformity and repeatability of lifejacket tests using RTDs, for submission to MSC 92 for approval, with a view to adoption by MSC 93.
Corresponding draft amendments to the Revised Recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances (resolution MSC.81(70)), as amended by resolution MSC.200(80) were also agreed, including amendments to adjust the weight and height requirements for female test subjects and for tests of lifejacket buoyancy material.
A related draft MSC circular on Guidelines for validating the construction of a completed Adult reference test device was also agreed.
Unified interpretations agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed the following unified interpretations for submission to MSC 92 and MEPC 65, as appropriate, for approval:
• Unified interpretation to SOLAS chapters II-1 and XII and to the Technical provisions for means of access for inspections (resolution MSC.158(78)) and the Performance standards for water level detectors on bulk carriers (resolution MSC.145(77)),
• revision of MSC.1/Circ.1378 on Unified interpretations of the performance standard for protective coatings for dedicated seawater ballast tanks in all types of ships and double-side skin spaces of bulk carriers
• Unified interpretations of SOLAS regulation II-2/3-2 (concerning coating of dedicated seawater ballast tanks)
• Amendments to the Unified Interpretation to regulation 12.2 of MARPOL Annex I (MEPC.1/Circ.753)
• Unified Interpretations on fall preventer devices (MSC.1/Circ.1392 and MSC.1/Circ.1327)
• Unified Interpretations of SOLAS regulation II-1/26.3 concerning redundancy of fuel oil pumps for the normal operation of propulsion systems
• Unified Interpretations of paragraph 1.1.4 of the LSA Code concerning the greatest launching height for a free-fall lifeboat
Correspondence group established to develop Guidance on OWFCV and OWFSC
The Sub-Committee agreed terms of reference for a correspondence group on Guidelines for offshore wind farm vessels vessels (including offshore wind farm construction vessels (OWFCV) and offshore wind farm service craft (OWFSC)).
The Sub-Committee also requested the MSC to consider adding a new output on its work programme to address the carriage of more than twelve industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages, in order to harmonize the current industry practice and differing national domestic requirements with the international regulatory framework.
IMO mandatory instruments do not define industrial personnel, although the non mandatory Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Offshore Supply Vessels, 2006, and the 2008 Special Purpose Ship Code, restrict the carriage of industrial personnel on an international voyage to not more than twelve.
More than twelve industrial personnel on board a vessel would, if considered in the context of the SOLAS Convention, require a passenger ship standard. The lack of a clear definition for industrial personnel and appropriate categorizations leads to different national interpretations.