Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 86th session: 27 May - 5 June 2009
on combating piracy agreed by IMO Maritime Safety Committee
guidance on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships was agreed by IMO's
Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) when it met at the Organization's London Headquarters
for its 86th session from 27 May to 5 June. Specific guidance relating to the
continued attacks on ships off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden
was also agreed.
The packed agenda also covered the adoption of amendments to the International
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), including a new regulation
to make the carriage of electronic charts mandatory, and the approval of goal-based
standards for new oil tankers and bulk carriers, for future adoption.
Piracy and armed
robbery against ships
The MSC reviewed the latest statistics on piracy and armed robbery against ships,
in particular off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, where ships
continue to be attacked and hijacked, despite the concerted efforts of the international
community, spearheaded by IMO, navies and the industry, to protect shipping.
The number of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to the
Organization to have occurred in 2008 was 306, against 282 during 2007, representing
an increase of 8.5 per cent. In the first four months of 2009, 157 incidents
were reported to IMO.
The MSC agreed updated Recommendations to Governments for preventing and
suppressing piracy and armed robbery against ships; and Guidance to shipowners
and ship operators, shipmasters and crews on preventing and suppressing acts
of piracy and armed robbery against ships. The guidance to shipmasters and
crew includes a new annex aimed at seafarers, fishermen and other mariners who
may be kidnapped or held hostage for ransom, based on the current United Nations
guidance on "surviving as a hostage".
An MSC circular on Piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the
coast of Somalia was agreed, to include Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy
in the Gulf of Aden and off the Coast of Somalia, which have been developed
by industry organizations, and additional guidance to vessels engaged in fishing,
identified as being particularly vulnerable to attack.
The MSC agreed that flag States should strongly discourage the carrying and
use of firearms by seafarers for personal protection or for the protection of
a ship. Seafarers, it was agreed, are civilians and the use of firearms requires
special training and aptitudes and the risk of accidents with firearms carried
on board ship is great. Carriage of arms on board ship may encourage attackers
to carry firearms or even more dangerous weapons, thereby escalating an already
dangerous situation. Any firearm on board may itself become an attractive target
for an attacker. Carriage of firearms may pose an even greater danger if the
ship is carrying flammable cargo or similar types of dangerous goods.
It was agreed that the use of unarmed security personnel is a matter for individual
shipowners, companies, and ship operators to decide. The carriage of armed security
personnel, or the use of military or law-enforcement officers (duly authorized
by the Government of the flag State to carry firearms for the security of the
ship) should be subject to flag State legislation and policies and is a matter
for the flag State to authorize, in consultation with ship owners, companies
and ship operators.
The MSC also agreed proposed amendments to the Code of practice for the investigation
of the crimes of piracy and armed robbery against ships (resolution A.922(22)),
for consideration by the IMO Assembly later this year.
ECDIS and BNWAS
to be made mandatory under SOLAS
Amendments to SOLAS regulation V/19, to make mandatory the carriage of Electronic
Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and Bridge Navigational Watch
Alarm Systems (BNWAS), under SOLAS chapter V, Safety of Navigation, were
adopted, with an expected entry into force date of 1 January 2011. The requirements
will be mandatory for new ships and phased-in for existing ships.
Other SOLAS amendments adopted, with an expected entry force date of 1 January
amendment to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-5.2, to prohibit all new installations
of asbestos on board ships, without exceptions; and
to the title of Chapter VI to read, Carriage of Cargoes "and Oil
Fuels" and to Regulation VI/5-1 on Material safety data sheets
(MSDS) to require MSDS to be provided for ships carrying oil or oil fuel,
prior to the loading of such oil as cargo in bulk or bunkering of oil fuel.
The MSC also adopted Recommendations for material safety data sheets
(MSDS) for MARPOL Annex I type cargoes and oil fuels.
ship construction standards
The MSC approved international goal-based ship construction standards for bulk
carriers and oil tankers, together with proposed amendments to SOLAS Chapter
II-1 making their application mandatory, for consideration at MSC 87 with a
view to adoption.
The proposed SOLAS regulation II-1/3-10 on Goal-based ship construction standards
for bulk carriers and oil tankers would apply to oil tankers and bulk carriers
of 150 m in length and above. It would require new ships to be designed and
constructed for a specified design life and to be safe and environmentally friendly,
in intact and specified damage conditions, throughout their life. The ship should
have adequate strength, integrity and stability to minimize the risk of loss
of the ship or pollution to the marine environment due to structural failure,
including collapse, resulting in flooding or loss of watertight integrity.
The MSC also
approved, in principle, Guidelines for verification of conformity with goal-based
ship construction standards for bulk carriers and oil tankers, for adoption
at MSC 87. Draft Guidelines for the information to be included in a Ship
Construction File were considered and will be further developed at the next
standards have been developed on the basis of a five-tier system, consisting
of goals (Tier I), functional requirements (Tier II), verification of conformity
(Tier III), rules and regulations for ship design and construction (Tier IV)
and industry practices and standards (Tier V). The proposed goal-based standards
reflect tiers I to III.
and Tracking (LRIT)
The MSC was updated on the implementation status of the LRIT system and considered
the outcome of the seventh session of the Ad Hoc LRIT Group, which met
in March. The LRIT system, as from 1 January 2009, is in production and is being
implemented by all SOLAS Parties. Some LRIT Data Centres are still undergoing
testing and they are expected to complete the full integration into the LRIT
system before 30 September 2009. In the meantime, contractual arrangements between
LRIT Data Centres are under consideration for receiving and providing LRIT information.
The MSC agreed
Guidance on the survey and certification of compliance of ships with the requirement
to transmit LRIT information; Guidance to search and rescue services in relation
to requesting and receiving LRIT information; and an MSC circular on information
communicated to the Organization in relation to the establishment of LRIT Data
Centres and their position in relation to developmental testing in the production
of the LRIT system. The latter instructs the IMO Secretariat to make available
a list showing the SOLAS Contracting Governments, which have established LRIT
Data Centres that have been integrated into, and are operating in, the LRIT
system and the status of LRIT arrangements within other Contracting Governments.
review of the STCW Convention and Code
The MSC approved, in principle, the preliminary draft revised text of the International
Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers
(STCW) 1978, as amended, and the STCW Code, prepared by the Sub-Committee on
Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW).
The Committee authorized the holding of an ad hoc intersessional meeting
of an STW working group, from 7 to 11 September 2009, to progress the work,
with a view to finalization at STW 41 in January 2010. STW 41 would then finalize
the draft text of amendments to the STCW Convention and Code, with a view to
their circulation for consideration by a Diplomatic Conference, scheduled for
of the revised STCW Convention
The list of Parties deemed to be giving full and complete effect to the provisions
of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and
Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) 1978, as amended, was updated in the light
of the report on those countries of which independent evaluations have been
completed since the previous MSC meeting.
MODU Code 2009
approved for adoption by the Assembly
The draft Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling
Units, 2009, which revises and updates the MODU Code adopted in 1989 (resolution
A.649(16)), was approved, prior to submission to the IMO Assembly for adoption.
The MODU Code provides an international standard for mobile offshore drilling
units of new construction, to facilitate the international movement and operation
of these units and ensure a level of safety equivalent to that required by the
SOLAS Convention and the 1988 Protocol to the Load Lines Convention for conventional
ships engaged on international voyages.
Code on Alerts
and Indicators to be approved for adoption by the Assembly
The draft Code on Alerts and Indicators, 2009 was approved by the MSC.
It is also being submitted to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC),
in July, for concurrent approval and submission to the IMO Assembly for adoption.
The Code is intended to provide general design guidance and to promote uniformity
of type, location and priority for alerts and indicators required by the SOLAS
Convention, including relevant performance standards, and by the MARPOL Convention,
as well as by other associated instruments and codes. The Code, when adopted,
will update, revise and replace the Code on Alarms and Indicators, 1995
Group established to review studies
A Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) Experts Group was established to review FSA
studies on cruise ships, ro-ro passenger ferries, liquefied natural gas carriers
and containerships, which had been carried out within the 'SAFEDOR' research
project and previously submitted to the MSC.
The MSC agreed to hold an intersessional meeting of the FSA Experts Group to
finalize the review and report to MSC 87, to include any recommendations from
each FSA study that may require action by the Committee or Sub-Committees.
- voluntary self-assessment scheme reviewed
The MSC reviewed Member States' experience with implementing MSC.1/Circ.1192
Guidance on voluntary self-assessment by SOLAS Contracting Governments and
by port facilities and MSC.1/Circ.1194, which includes Guidance on basic
elements of national oversight programmes for SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS
Code. Governments, non-governmental organizations and inter-governmental
organizations were invited to submit the results of their experiences to the
The MSC agreed Revised guidance to masters, companies and duly authorized
officers on the requirements relating to the submission of security-related
information prior to the entry of a ship into port (updating MSC/Circ.1130).
The MSC considered other issues arising from the reports of Sub-Committees and
other bodies, adopted a number of resolutions and approved other circulars and
draft amendments, including:
revised Joint IMO/IHO/WMO Manual on Maritime Safety Information (MSI);
for the drainage of fire-fighting water from closed vehicle and ro-ro spaces
and special category spaces for passenger and cargo ships;
Interim Guidelines on safety for gas-fuelled engine installations in
to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR)
Guidelines for ships operating in polar waters, for concurrent approval
by MEPC 59 and subsequent adoption by the Assembly;
amendments to the Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey
and Certification, for concurrent approval by MEPC 59 and subsequent
adoption by the Assembly; and
amendments to the Code for the Implementation of Mandatory IMO Instruments,
2007, for concurrent approval by MEPC 59 and subsequent adoption by