IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has agreed to a restructuring of IMO’s Sub-Committees, in order to deal more effectively with the technical and operational issues covered by IMO regulations, as part of a review and reform process initiated by Secretary-General Mr. Koji Sekimizu.
The restructuring proposals were previously considered and approved by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at its sixty-fifth session.
The restructuring will see the number of Sub-Committees reduced from nine to seven, with their terms of reference covering the following issues:
Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW): to address issues relating to human element training and watchkeeping, including minimum international standards for training and certification of seafarers and fishing vessel personnel; and technical and operational issues related to maritime safety, security, and environmental protection, to encourage a safety culture in all ship operations; safe manning; the review, updating and revision of IMO model courses; and promotion and implementation of the Organization's human element strategy.
Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III): to address the effective and consistent global implementation and enforcement of IMO instruments concerning maritime safety and security and the protection of the marine environment, including: comprehensive review of the rights and obligations of States emanating from the IMO treaty instruments; assessment, monitoring and review of the current level of implementation of IMO instruments by States in their capacity as flag, port and coastal States and countries training and certifying officers and crews; identification of the reasons for the difficulties in implementing provisions of relevant IMO instruments; consideration of proposals to assist States in implementing and complying with IMO instruments; analyses of investigations reports into marine casualties and incidents; review of IMO standards on maritime safety and security and the protection of the marine environment, to maintain an updated and harmonized guidance on survey and certification related requirements; and promotion of global harmonization of port State control activities.
Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR): to consider technical and operational matters related to the obligations of Governments and operational measures related to safety of navigation, including hydrographic and meteorological services, ships' routeing, ship reporting systems, aids to navigation, radio-navigation systems, vessel traffic services, and pilotage; operational requirements and guidelines relating to navigational safety and associated issues, such as regulations for the prevention of collisions and groundings, bridge procedures, voyage planning, avoidance of dangerous situations, places of refuge including maritime assistance services and relevant aspects of maritime security; carriage requirements, performance standards and operational guidelines for the use of shipborne navigational equipment and other navigational requirements; obligations of Governments and operational measures related to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), development and maintenance of the global search and rescue (SAR) Plan and the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system; operational requirements and guidelines relating to radiocommunications and search and rescue, and, in co-operation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the harmonization of aeronautical and maritime search and rescue procedures; carriage requirements, performance standards and operational guidelines for the use of shipborne radiocommunications and search and rescue equipment; and liaison with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on maritime mobile radiocommunication matters.
Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR): to consider technical and operational matters related to: prevention and control of pollution of the marine environment from ships and other related maritime operations; safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships; evaluation of safety and pollution hazards of liquid substances in bulk transported by ships; control and management of harmful aquatic organisms in ships' ballast water and sediments, and biofouling; and pollution preparedness, response and cooperation for oil and hazardous and noxious substances.
Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC): to consider technical and operational matters related to: design, construction, subdivision and stability, buoyancy, sea-keeping and arrangements, including evacuation matters, of all types of ships, vessels, craft and mobile units covered by IMO instruments; testing and approval of construction and materials; load line matters; tonnage measurement matters; safety of fishing vessels and fishermen; and survey and certification.
Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE): to consider technical and operational matters related to: systems and equipment, including machinery and electrical installations, of all types of ships, vessels, craft and mobile units covered by IMO instruments; testing and approval of systems and equipment; life-saving equipment, appliances and arrangements; fire protection systems; and analyses of casualty and incident records relating to ship systems and equipment.
Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC): to consider technical and operational matters related to: effective implementation of the relevant conventions, codes and other instruments, mandatory or recommendatory, as appropriate, dealing with cargo operations, which include packaged dangerous goods, solid bulk cargoes, bulk gas cargoes, and containers; evaluation of safety and pollution hazards of packaged dangerous goods, solid bulk cargoes and gas cargoes; survey and certification of ships carrying hazardous cargoes; further enhancement of the safety and security culture, and environmental consciousness in all cargo and container operations; and co-operation with other relevant UN bodies, IGOs and NGOs on international standards related to containers and to cargo operations.
The last review of the sub-committee structure was in the 1996-1997 biennium when the number of Sub-Committees was reduced from 11 to 9: the Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG); Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC); Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications, Search and Rescue (COMSAR); Sub-Committee on Navigation (NAV); Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE), Sub-Committee on Fire Protection (FP), Sub-Committee on Stability, Load Lines and Fishing Vessels Safety (SLF); Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI); and Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping.