Merchant ships should use the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden, in order to lessen the risk of piracy attacks, the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV) agreed at its 55th session.
A Safety of Navigation circular (SN.1/Circ.281) gives details of the scheme, which has been established by navies operating in the region.
Ships in transit are recommended to conduct their passage through the IRTC in groups, based on planned transit speeds. The group transits are designed to ensure that ships benefit from avoiding high profile piracy areas at the most dangerous times, whilst allowing maximum coordination of military assets in the region and making ships benefit from enhanced mutual protection.
The NAV Sub-Committee also agreed a draft Assembly resolution, recommending the use of the IRTC, for submission through the Council’s extraordinary session in November, to the IMO Assembly (26th session) in November-December for adoption.
E-navigation strategy implementation plan progressed
The Sub-Committee further developed the e-navigation strategy implementation plan, aiming at implementing the strategic vision for e-navigation adopted by MSC 85 last year, namely to integrate existing and new navigational tools, in particular electronic tools, in an all-embracing system that will contribute to enhanced navigational safety (with all the positive repercussions this will have on maritime safety overall and environmental protection) while simultaneously reducing the burden on the navigator.
Preliminary shipboard user needs were identified, and a correspondence group on e-navigation was established and instructed to further the work intersessionally, to include development of detailed shore-based user needs and the identification of functions and services to support the shipboard and shore-based user needs in a harmonized and holistic manner.
The correspondence group was also tasked with developing an outline of system architecture; undertaking an initial gap analysis relating to all aspects of e-navigation; developing/recommending an appropriate methodology for carrying out cost-benefit and risk analyses; and preparing a comprehensive report for submission to NAV 56 (26 to 30 July 2010).
IBS guidelines and bridge alert management standards agreed
Guidelines for bridge equipment and systems, their arrangement and integration were agreed, for submission to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for approval. The guidelines aim to support the design and configuration of bridge equipment and systems, their arrangement and integration for safe and effective operation of the vessel under the control of the bridge team and pilot. They are recommended for use by manufacturers, installers, yards, suppliers and ship surveyors with regard to bridge equipment and systems, their arrangement and integration.
The guidelines supersede the existing performance standards for IBS (resolution MSC.64(67), annex 1).
Performance standards for bridge alert management approved
The Sub-Committee also finalized a draft MSC resolution on performance standards for Bridge Alert Management, for adoption by the Committee.
HSC – new technology may be used, Sub-Committee agrees
High Speed Craft (HSC) may be equipped with navigation equipment and systems that take advantage of the latest technological developments permitted by regulations relating to SOLAS chapter V, e.g. standards for integrated navigation systems and alert management, according to a draft MSC circular on HSC compliance with the provisions of SOLAS regulations V/18 to V/20, which was finalized for approval by the MSC.
Such equipment should be of an equivalent or higher standard to the requirements of chapter 13 of the 2000 HSC Code, to the satisfaction of the Administration.
The circular recognizes that, due to the timing of the review and updating of IMO documentation, regulation requirements under the safe navigation provisions of the 2000 HSC Code are not keeping pace with technology. An unintended consequence of this situation is that the building of new HSC must continue to involve the duplication of equipment and the installation of large analogue individual indicators into small cockpit style bridge arrangements when the technology, including redundancy arrangements, would allow for integrated digital information to be displayed in a more user friendly, space efficient and ergonomic manner.
Ships’ routeing and ship reporting measures approved
The Sub-Committee approved the following new and amended ships’ routeing and ship reporting measures for submission to the MSC for adoption:
Traffic separation schemes (TSSs)
• New traffic separation scheme at “Adlergrund” and “Słupska Bank” in the southern part of the Baltic Sea;
• three new traffic separation schemes surrounding Gotland Island, “West Klintehamn”, “South Midsjöbankarna” and “South Hoburgs bank”; and amending the name of the existing TSS “Off Gotland Island” to “North Hoburgsbank”;
• new Traffic Separation Scheme in the Black Sea in the area of the south-western coast of the Crimea as a non-mandatory TSS;
• amendments to the existing Traffic Separation Schemes “Off Cape Roca” and “Off Cape S. Vicente”; and
• amendments to the existing Traffic Separation Schemes “Off Kalbådagrund Lighthouse”, “Off Porkkala Lighthouse” and “Off Hankoniemi Peninsula” in the Gulf of Finland.
Routeing measures other than TSSs
• A new two-way route, “Salvorev”, in the waters north of Gotland island;
• an Area to Be Avoided (ATBA) and two Mandatory No Anchoring Areas in the western North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of the United States;
• amendments to the Routeing measures leading to the new Jazan Economic City Port (JEC Port); and
• amendments to the existing Deep-water route leading to IJmuiden.
Mandatory ship reporting systems
• Amendments to the existing mandatory ship reporting system “In the Strait of Gibraltar” (GIBREP); and
• amendments to the existing mandatory ship reporting system (WETREP) in the Western European Particularly Sensitive Sea Area.
AIS equipment – mandatory annual testing agreed
The Sub-Committee finalized draft amendments to SOLAS regulation V/18 (Approval, surveys and performance standards of navigational systems and equipment and voyage data recorder), to add a new paragraph to require the annual test of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) to be conducted by an approved surveyor or an approved testing or servicing facility, to verify the correct programming of the ship static information, correct data exchange with connected sensors as well as verifying the radio performance by radio frequency measurement and on-air test using e.g. a vessel traffic service (VTS).
The proposed text will be submitted to the MSC for approval and subsequent adoption.
Revision of Guidance on the application of AIS binary messages
The Sub-Committee finalized draft SN circulars on Guidance on the use of AIS Application Specific Messages and Guidance for the presentation and display of AIS Application-Specific Messages information, for approval by MSC 87. The Sub-Committee also developed a draft format of an AIS Binary International Application (IA) Catalogue to allow future amendments and introduction of new messages on a regular basis, for endorsement by MSC 87.
Safety during demonstrations – MSC resolution agreed
The Sub-Committee finalized a draft MSC resolution on Assuring safety during demonstrations, protests, or confrontations on the high seas, for adoption by MSC 87.
Pilot transfer arrangements- amendments agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to SOLAS regulation V/23 and resolution A.889(21) on pilot transfer arrangements, for submission to the MSC. The aim of the amendments is to update and to improve safety aspects for pilot transfer.
Amendments to performance standards for voyage data recorders progressed
The Sub-Committee made progress in developing draft revised performance standards for voyage data recorders (VDRs), and developed a draft revision of the Annex of resolution A.861(20) Performance standards for shipborne voyage data recorders (VDRs), as amended, for further review at the next session. The proposed amendments to the performance standards intend to address issues raised by delegations, including proposals to extend the time for which data are retained; to amend the standards relating to post-incident retrieval (fixed versus float free arrangements); and to amend the text on the final recording medium.
Development of Guidance on procedures for updating shipborne navigation and communication equipment
The Sub-Committee prepared a draft MSC circular on Guidance on procedures for updating shipborne navigation and communication equipment, for review by the Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR 14) and a final review by NAV 56 prior to approval by MSC 88. The guidance aims to provide procedures for updating shipborne navigation and communication equipment, in order to promote updates to application software to meet changes in IMO and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) regulatory requirements.
Morse Code – knowledge still important
The Sub-Committee agreed to retain without change SOLAS regulation V/188.8.131.52, which requires all ships of 150 gross tonnage and upwards and passenger ships irrespective of size to carry a daylight signalling lamp. The Sub-Committee was of the view that it was important for mariners to acquire and retain a working knowledge in recognition of Morse Code characters, including single-letter signals of the International Code of Signals; however, there was no need to demonstrate proficiency in the transmission/reception of Morse Code.
Safety zones around artificial structure – correspondence group established
A correspondence group was established to develop relevant guidelines for recommending Safety Zones larger than 500 metres around artificial islands, installations and structures in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) including multiple structure installations.
The move to develop the guidelines follows requests by several States to recommend safety zones larger in size than 500 metres. There are currently no international standards to assess such requests. Safety zones around artificial islands, installations and structures in the Exclusive Economic Zone are — in accordance with international law as reflected in Article 60(5) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – limited to 500 metres in breadth from the outer edge of such artificial islands, installations and structures, unless recommended by IMO or as authorized by generally accepted international standards.