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Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), 1st session, 10 to 14 March 2014 (opening address)

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March 10, 2014

ADDRESS OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL AT THE OPENING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE SUB-COMMITTEE ON SHIP SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT  
(10 to 14 March 2014)
 
Good morning distinguished delegates,
 
Welcome to the new Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment. This meeting is the fourth sub-committee meeting, the first one in January was the Sub-Committee on SDC, Ship Design and Construction and I took that opportunity to deliver my New Year’s message.
 
That Sub-Committee was followed by PPR, Pollution Prevention and Response and also last month, in February, we hosted the new Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW).
 
Now we are already at the beginning of March this year and we are holding a new Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment. The last three sub-committees have been well taken care of and, in my view, each session was very successful. Therefore, our experience with the three sub-committees has left us with the expectation to continue the smooth introduction of the revised structure of the sub-committees. Nevertheless, we still need your cooperation and support to ensure the success of this Sub-Committee.
 
Before I come to any issue relating to the activities of this Sub-Committee, I just want to mention the tragic incident over the weekend. It was not a maritime incident but one of the aviation industry. We were all alerted to the news of missing Malaysia airlines flight MH370 with 239 passengers as reported at the maritime border of Malaysia and Vietnam. We understand international search and rescue activities were activated and I understand they are still searching for any survivors or trace of the incident. At this moment, I would like to express my sympathy and condolences for the potential casualties, who might have lost their lives. I would like to express my sympathies through the delegation of Malaysia.
 
With that, I would like to provide my comment on a number of important issues which will be handled by this Sub-Committee.
 
First of all, on concerns specifically raised by the Industry Lifeboat Group (ILG) on practical implementation of the Guidelines for evaluation and replacement of lifeboat release and retrieval systems (MSC.1/Circ.1392), referring to the extensive work carried out by the Organization on measures to prevent accidents with lifeboats, in particular, matters related to evaluation of lifeboat release and retrieval systems,
 
I would like to recall that the Maritime Safety Committee, at its eighty-ninth session, adopted amendments to SOLAS chapter III, the LSA Code and the approved associated guidance. These new requirements have been in force since 1 January 2013 and we now need to ensure that the new measures are properly implemented in our effort to eliminate accidents with lifeboats due to failure of lifeboat release hooks; and I would like therefore to urge you to consider the concerns raised on the practical implementation of MSC.1/Circ.1392 as a high priority so that the Committee can approve any recommended solutions at MSC 93.
 
Moving to the development of requirements for onboard lifting appliances and winches, I would like to refer to the high number of accidents resulting from mechanical failure of lifting appliances onboard ships causing serious injuries and fatalities that have been brought to our attention and I want to emphasize that this issue is essential for the safety of personnel on board.
 
I appreciate the progress made by the correspondence group established at DE 57 to analyse the statistics associated with incidents involving such equipment and for proposing a course of further action; and, taking into account the importance of this issue from the point of view of safety of life at sea, I am confident that you will proceed with developing SOLAS requirements for construction and installation of onboard lifting appliances to set a uniform level of safety.
 
Moving to another subject,  smoke control and ventilation and related issues, there are a number of issues related to smoke control and ventilation that the Sub-Committee will discuss at this session. In particular amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/20 and associated guidance on air quality management for ventilation of closed vehicle spaces, closed ro-ro and special category spaces; and amendments to the provisions of SOLAS chapter II-2 relating to secondary means of venting cargo tanks.
 
These outputs are very important for the safety of passengers and crew members and I appreciate the Sub-Committee’s effort in developing the performance standard and functional requirements for smoke management systems; and I would further urge the Sub-Committee to finalize the proposed draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 within the time frame approved by the Maritime Safety Committee.
 
On the development of a new framework of requirements for safety objectives and functional requirements for the approval of alternative design and arrangements for SOLAS chapters II 1 (parts C, D and E) and chapter III, I would remind the Sub-Committee that DE 57 agreed, in principle, to the draft goal-based guidelines on a framework of requirements for ships’ life-saving appliances. The draft guidelines should be submitted to the Maritime Safety Committee once the work on the development of safety objectives and functional requirements has been finalized.
 
I appreciate the progress made by the LSA Working Group established at DE 57 in preparing work plans for life-saving requirements and for SOLAS chapter II-1 and the efforts made by Member Governments in investigating the requirements currently contained in SOLAS chapter III, the LSA Code and the MSC circulars referred therein; and I recognize the complexity of this matter and appreciate the Sub-Committee’s proactive work on the new framework for the approval of alternative design and arrangements for SOLAS chapters II-1 and III.
 
Moving onto the development of amendments to the 2009 MODU Code concerning lifeboat drills, having recognized that mobile units for drilling, production and service in offshore oil and gas fields have very distinctive operational characteristics that considerably differ from those of conventional ships, I share the understanding highlighted at MSC 89 that risks and difficulties pertaining to the testing of lifeboats in the offshore areas exist and need to be properly addressed by the Organization. I would encourage the Sub-Committee to proceed with moving this issue forward with a view to developing an alternative procedure for lifeboat tests to be applied exclusively to mobile offshore units and corresponding amendments to the 2009 MODU Code.
 
Finally, on the development of requirements for ships carrying hydrogen and compressed natural gas vehicles, I do appreciate the efforts made regarding the development of the draft amendments to SOLAS regulations II-2/1 and II-2/3 and new SOLAS regulation II-2/20-1 concerning requirements for vehicle carriers carrying motor vehicles with compressed hydrogen or natural gas in their tanks for their own propulsion. You now need to finalize your work on the recommendation on safety measures for existing pure car carriers transporting motor vehicles with compressed hydrogen or natural gas in their tanks for their own propulsion, to support the aforementioned draft amendments to SOLAS; and I would remind the Sub-Committee that the draft amendments to SOLAS regulations II-2/1 and II-2/3 and new SOLAS regulation II-2/20-1, which were all approved at MSC 92, are expected to be adopted at MSC 93. I would therefore urge the Sub-Committee to finalize the draft MSC circular supporting an application of the amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 to be adopted at the coming Maritime Safety Committee at its 93rd session.
 
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, those are my comments for your consideration and I am sure that you will continue to cooperate to ensure the successful operation of this Sub-Committee.
 
Thank you.
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