IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) met at the Organization's London Headquarters for its 92nd session from 12 to 21 June 2013.
The MSC adopted amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) relating to passenger drills; discussed recommendations arising from the Costa Concordia incident; and considered matters related to piracy and armed robbery against ships and other items submitted by the IMO sub-committees.
Passenger drill amendments adopted
The MSC adopted amendments SOLAS regulation III/19 to require musters of newly embarked passengers prior to or immediately upon departure, instead of “within 24 hours”, as stated in the current regulations. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2015.
Interim measures for passenger ships updated in wake of Costa Concordia recommendations
Following discussion in an MSC working group on passenger ships safety, the Committee approved revised Recommended interim measures for passenger ship companies to enhance the safety of passenger ships (to be issued as MSC.1/Circ.1446/Rev.2), to include new recommendations relating to harmonization of bridge navigational procedures across a fleet or fleets; securing of heavy objects (procedures to ensure securing of heavy objects to be incorporated into the safety management system); stowage of life-jackets (including stowage of additional life jackets near muster stations); extending the use of video for passenger emergency instruction notices; and following voyage planning guidance in the case of any deviation.
On specific matters relating to the recommendations arising from the investigation into the Costa Concordia, the MSC invited Italy to provide more information regarding the recommendation for double-skin for protecting watertight compartments containing equipment; endorsed the view that the role of shoreside management is critical to the proper development and function of an effective Safety Management System; and invited Member States to consider the mandatory application of evacuation analysis to non ro-ro passenger ships.
Meanwhile, the MSC invited further consideration of the Costa Concordia accident investigation report by the Flag State Implementation Sub-Committee, and invited detailed comments and proposals to be submitted to the next MSC session.
The MSC also revised and updated the long term action plan on passenger ship safety.
Adoption of other amendments
The MSC also adopted:
• Amendments to SOLAS regulation III/19, on emergency training and drills, to mandate enclosed-space entry and rescue drills, which will require crew members with enclosed-space entry or rescue responsibilities to participate in an enclosed-space entry and rescue drill at least once every two months. Related amendments were adopted to the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft (HSC Code), the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU Code) and the Code of Safety for Dynamically Supported Craft (DSC Code) (the amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2015);
• Amendments to SOLAS regulation XI-1/1 to make mandatory the Code for recognized organizations (RO Code), with an expected entry into force date of 1 January 2015). The RO Code was also adopted;
• Amendments to the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (1988 Load Lines Protocol) to make the RO Code mandatory, with entry into force expected on 1 January 2015;
• Amendments to the International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC), 1972, to incorporate amendments to the CSC Convention adopted in 1993 by resolution A.737(18), which have not yet entered into force, including amendments relating to the safety approval plate and to the approval of existing and new containers (the amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2014);
• Amendments to the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (International Safety Management (ISM) Code), including a new requirement for the Company to ensure that the ship is appropriately manned; and
• Amendments to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) (amendment 02-13)), including a new nickel ore schedule. The MSC also approved related circulars on Early implementation of amendments (02-13) to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code; Guidelines for the submission of information and completion of the format for the properties of cargoes not listed in the IMSBC Code and their conditions of carriage; Guidelines for developing and approving procedures for sampling, testing and controlling the moisture content for solid bulk cargoes which may liquefy; and a revised List of solid bulk cargoes for which a fixed gas fire-extinguishing system may be exempted or for which a fixed gas fire-extinguishing system is ineffective.
Concern over piracy and armed robbery off west and central Africa expressed
The Committee expressed its clear concern over the level of piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of West and Central Africa and endorsed the actions of the Secretariat over the last few years to address this. A number of delegations from the Gulf of Guinea area were able to report on their progress as a result of these activities, some of which are currently funded under the International Maritime Security Trust
It was noted that the maritime safety, security and law enforcement challenges in the region, all have broadly similar solutions, including: comprehensive legal frameworks; maritime situational awareness; maritime law enforcement capability; and inter agency cooperation on both the national and regional levels, thus the MSC welcomed the development of the new Code of Conduct concerning the prevention of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in West and Central Africa, which was adopted recently, at a Ministerial meeting in Benin, and is expected to be opened for signature at the forthcoming meeting of Heads of State in Cameroon.
The Secretary-General announced the establishment of a new multi-donor trust fund to support an expanded programme of capacity-building activities in west and central Africa. This will better enable the Organization to work with Member States, United Nations agencies and other international and regional development partners for the benefit of safe, secure and sustainable development of the African maritime sector. The Secretary-General urged Member States, and the industry to contribute to this fund.
Restructuring of Sub-Committees
The MSC endorsed a comprehensive restructuring of the Sub-Committees, reducing them to seven from nine and renaming them to reflect their areas of work. (See Briefing 26/2013)
In connection with other issues arising from the reports of IMO sub-committees and other bodies, the MSC:
• Approved, for future adoption, draft amendments to SOLAS to require the installation of inert gas systems on board new oil and chemical tankers of 8,000 dwt and above, carrying low-flashpoint (below 60°C) cargoes;
• Approved, for future adoption, new draft SOLAS regulation II-2/20-1 Requirement for vehicle carriers carrying motor vehicles with compressed hydrogen or natural gas for their own propulsion;
• Approved, for future adoption, draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/29 concerning requirements for steering gear trials;
• Approved, for future adoption, draft amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, and the Seafarers' Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Code, to make the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code) and IMO Member State Audit Scheme mandatory;
• Approved, for adoption at MSC 93, 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, and also to approve, in principle, a draft MSC circular on Guidelines on safety during abandon ship drills using lifeboats, reflecting recommendatory provisions;
• Approved, for future adoption, draft amendments to: SOLAS regulation II-2/13.4 mandating additional means of escape from machinery spaces; to SOLAS regulations II-2/3 and II-2/9.7, relating to the requirements for the fire resistance of ventilation ducts; and to SOLAS regulation II-2/10, concerning fire protection requirements for on-deck cargo areas for new ships;
• Approved, for future adoption, the draft revised International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (the IGC Code);
• Approved guidance related to the to the establishment and testing of long-range identification and tracking (LRIT) Data Centres (DCs) and the operation of the LRIT system;
• Considered the Secretary-General’s report on two States whose independent evaluations had been completed since the previous MSC meeting and confirmed those Parties continued to give full and complete effect to the provisions of the STCW Convention;
• Considered the report of a correspondence group on goal-based standards, and approved Guidelines for the approval of alternatives and equivalents as provided for in various IMO instruments, encouraging Member Governments to provide feedback to the Organization on experience gained with their application;
• Approved the List of certificate and documents required to be carried on board ships, for issuing as a circular to update previous versions;
• Approved Guidelines for Use of Printed Versions of Electronic Certificates;
• Approved a CSC circular on Guidelines for development of an Approved Continuous Examination Programme (ACEP) and approved amendments to the Revised Recommendations on harmonized interpretation and implementation of the International Convention for Safe Containers, 1972, as amended (CSC.1/Circ.138);
• Approved a procedure for calculating the number of fishing vessels of each Contracting State to the 2012 Cape Town Agreement by the Depositary and approve the consolidated text of the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977, as modified by the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol relating thereto, as modified by the 2012 Cape Town Agreement.
Future of Ship Safety recommendations to be considered at future session
The MSC was preceded by the IMO Symposium on the Future of Ship Safety on 10 and 11 June (See Briefing 21/2013), which agreed a statement recommending a review of safety measures. The MSC agreed to consider the recommendations emanating from the Symposium at a future session.