Maritime Safety Committee, 75th session: 15-24 May 2002
The MSC continued the detailed preparatory work for the diplomatic conference on maritime security. Among a raft of items designed to address maritime security issues, the most far-reaching is a proposed International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), which would be implemented through SOLAS chapter XI. For more details, please see IMO Briefing 19/ 2002.
The Committee considered the work of a number of Sub-Committees that had been tasked with considering various topics relating to bulk carrier safety, as well as submissions by Governments and international organizations on matters arising from the reports concerning the sinking of the bulk carrier Derbyshire and on the various formal safety assessment (FSA) studies on bulk carrier safety which are now completed or nearing completion.
New proposed draft SOLAS regulations on bulk carriers agreed
The Committee approved the text of draft proposed new SOLAS regulations XII/12 and 13, for adoption at MSC 76 in December 2002.
The proposed new regulation 12 requires the fitting of high level alarms and level monitoring systems on all bulk carriers, in order to detect abnormal water ingress in holds, ballast and dry spaces. The recommendation for the fitting of such alarms was highlighted during the meeting of the Working Group on Bulk Carrier Safety held during the MSC’s 74th session in December 2001.
The proposed new regulation 13 on 'Availability of pumping systems' would require the means for draining and pumping dry space bilges and tanks located forward of a collision bulkhead to be capable of being brought into operation from a readily accessible enclosed space.
The date of application of these regulations needed to be further addressed at MSC 76 when adopting the new regulations into SOLAS chapter XII on Additional safety measures for bulk carriers. The two proposed draft new regulations stem from the review of reports into the sinking of the bulk carrier Derbyshire.
Hatch cover design environmental load criteria
The MSC endorsed a proposal from the United Kingdom, reporting on results to date of the model tests initiated following the Re-opened Formal Investigation into the loss of the Derbyshire, to update the hatch cover design environmental load criteria in the current revision of the 1988 Load Line Protocol. The MSC referred the matter to the Sub-Committee on Stability and Load Lines and on Fishing Vessels' Safety for appropriate action, taking into account in particular the findings of the report concerning horizontal loads.
Bulk carrier casualties
The Committee noted figures on bulk carrier casualties provided by the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO)  , which indicate that four bulk carriers over 10,000 dwt and 64 lives were lost during 2001 making the new totals for the previous ten years, 116 ships and 618 lives lost. The Committee observed that more needed to be done to halt the accidents involving bulk carriers and the loss of seafarers who work on them.
on bulk carrier safety:
The recommendations for decision‑making include those issues which merit further consideration and the results of a cost-effectiveness assessment emanating from an international collaborative FSA study. The items for consideration have been grouped under a number of headings:
The list is the first attempt of the working group at analyzing the results of all the FSA studies on bulk carrier safety. The 25 preliminary recommendations identified will be considered again at MSC 76 in December 2002 with a view to drawing up a definitive list of recommendations for decision-making which will then be referred to the appropriate sub-committees for preparing the necessary regulatory action.
The Working Group on Large Passenger Ship Safety reviewed ongoing work by various Sub-Committees and agreed a revised and updated work plan which includes strategic goals and objectives and specific areas for consideration.
The Group and the Committee reaffirmed the guiding philosophy for dealing with large passenger ship safety issues, in particular, among other principles, that:
The safety of large passenger ships was first raised in IMO during the 72nd meeting of the MSC in May 2000, as a result of a personal initiative by Secretary-General William O’Neil. The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) then agreed to undertake a global consideration of safety issues pertaining to these ships and a Working Group on Large Passenger Ship Safety began work at the next session of the Committee (MSC 73, in November-December 2000), to review the current safety regime as it relates to large passenger ships.
The Working Group discussed the need to develop working criteria for the term “large passenger ships” but agreed that the parameters would vary according to the measures and regulations being discussed. The Committee agreed that the expert Sub-Committees should develop relevant parameters, if necessary, for application purposes for any proposed recommendations. Such parameters may include, but are not limited to, the ship length, tonnage, number of persons, design parameters, etc.
List of Confirmed Parties updated
The MSC agreed to add four new Parties to the list of Parties deemed to be giving full and complete effect to the provisions of the revised Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) 1978, as amended.
The revised list was agreed following the submission of the report by IMO Secretary-General William O’Neil on those countries whose evaluations have been completed since the previous MSC meeting, which was an extraordinary session held in November 2001 alongside the IMO Assembly’s 22nd session.
Click here for updated List of Confirmed Parties (MSC/Circ.1031).
End of STCW “grace period”
The Committee urged all concerned to make every effort to ensure that serving seafarers hold certificates and documentary evidence meeting the revised Convention requirements in order to avoid major problems during port State control inspections after 31 July 2002.
The end of the transition period for implementation of the 1995 STCW amendments came into effect on 1 February 2002. However, as not all seafarers on board ships had been able to obtain STCW 95 certificates and endorsements before the deadline, the Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping, which met in January 2002, had issued a circular which recommended that, until 31 July 2002, port State control officers issue only a warning in cases where a seafarer’s documentation complied with the requirements immediately before 1 February 2002 but was not in accordance with the requirements of STCW 95. Port State control officers were recommended to issue the warnings to the shipping companies concerned only and to notify the seafarers and inform the flag State accordingly.
References to STCW - circular agreed
The MSC agreed an MSC Circular on Guidance for port State control officers on references to STCW 95 in certificates, endorsements and documentary evidence, which is intended to clarify how the revised STCW Convention should be referred to. While some people have been using the acronym “STCW 95” to refer to the major revision of the Convention adopted in 1995, there have been other amendments since.
Therefore, the appropriate way to refer to the Convention is “STCW, 1978, as amended”.
The Circular recommends that port State control officers accept valid and authentic certificates and endorsements which include in their title that the certificate or endorsement has been issued either:
The MSC noted that the number of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships which had occurred in 2001, as reported to the Organization, was 370, a decrease of 101 by number and 21 per cent over the figure for 2000. The total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships, reported to have occurred from 1984 to the end of April 2002, was 2,650. The MSC observed that, although this latest reduction was a welcome development, more needed to be done to reduce this menace.
The areas most affected in 2001 (i.e. five or more incidents reported) were the Far East, in particular the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait, the Indian Ocean, West Africa, South America and the Caribbean and East Africa.
Comparing the figures for 2000 with 2001, the number of incidents reported to have occurred or to have been attempted increased from 33 to 58 in West Africa, remained at two in the Mediterranean Sea and decreased from 112 to 58 in the Malacca Strait, from 140 to 120 in the South China Sea, from 109 to 86 in the Indian Ocean, from 29 to 22 in East Africa and from 41 to 23 in South America and the Caribbean.
Most of the attacks worldwide were reported to have occurred in the territorial waters of the coastal States concerned while the ships were at anchor or berthed. The MSC was particularly concerned that, during 2001, 17 crew members had been killed, 42 wounded and five more reported missing. Sixteen ships were hijacked, two ships went missing and one ship had been lost, while on four occasions, the attackers had used explosive devices.
The MSC once again urged all Governments (of flag, port and coastal States) and the industry to intensify their efforts to eradicate these unlawful acts, noting the maritime community could no longer tolerate the situation and the serious repercussions it had on the safety of passengers and crews.
Implementation of anti-piracy project
The MSC reviewed the report of the second assessment mission and regional meeting on piracy and armed robbery against ships for Latin American and Caribbean countries (held in Guayaquil, Ecuador - 25 and 26 September 2001) and an oral report on the third and last assessment mission and regional meeting for selected West African countries (Accra, Ghana, 25 and 26 March 2002).
The MSC noted and
concurred with the recommendations and conclusions of both meetings, including:
Regional agreements on co-operation against piracy and armed robbery against ships
The MSC was also updated on meetings in South-East Asia, following the March 2001 regional meeting in Singapore after which countries had been invited by the IMO Secretary-General to participate in a regional meeting to consider concluding a regional agreement on co-operation against piracy and armed robbery against ships.
Although so far only two countries (out of the ten which had participated at that Meeting) had responded positively to the Secretary-General’s invitation, there had been three relevant meetings.
An EU-ASEAN Experts meeting on maritime security (held Manila, 25 and 26 February 2002), was hosted by the Government of the Philippines.
A meeting in Jakarta (5 to 7 March 2002) was held to facilitate and strengthen further co-operation in the field of anti‑piracy activities, including follow-up activities to the Regional Conference and Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships held in Tokyo in April 2000 and some progress was made towards concluding a regional agreement.
A meeting in Tokyo
(12 and 13 March 2002) considered regional co‑operation issues among maritime
policy authorities and private maritime-related concerns, and the meeting agreed
that it was necessary to:
The MSC urged Member Governments to give more urgent consideration towards promoting and concluding viable regional agreements to combat piracy and armed robbery against ships, given that the issue was progressing rather slowly. The MSC also instructed the IMO Secretariat to follow-up the proposals, involving ROCRAM and MOWCA, towards convening regional meetings to promote the case of regional co-operation in appropriate areas.
The MSC noted that the second phase of the anti-piracy project was now complete and it was the intention of the Secretariat to make every effort to provide technical assistance and co-ordinate missions to countries which were expected to request assistance.
The MSC also invited the Secretariat to follow closely the developments at United Nations level, in particular the “open-ended” Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and Law of the Sea (UNICPOLOS) which is considering, inter alia, the issue of maritime piracy with the prospect of drafting appropriate text for submission to the General Assembly for consideration and action.
The Committee noted that the Secretary-General had brought the issue of persons rescued at sea to the attention of a number of competent United Nations specialized agencies and programmes pointing out the need for a co-ordinated approach to all attendant aspects at the United Nations inter-agency level. The Secretary-General had also proposed the establishment of a co-ordinating mechanism (possibly in the form of an inter-agency co-ordinating panel to be activated when the circumstances so dictate) to ensure that the response of the United Nations in any future emergency could be co‑ordinated in a consistent manner. As a result, a meeting was being organized between representatives of the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the IMO Secretariat, to take place at the UNHCR Headquarters on 2 and 3 July 2002 to consider and agree on how to take their task forward.
MSC discussed the issue extensively and agreed on further work as follows:
The MSC considered issues relating to the human element, including the report of the Working Group on the Human Element which met during the session.
The MSC identified a need for updating the instructions to Sub-Committees relating to the human element taking into account the experience gained since the original instructions were issued at MSC 69 in 1998. The MSC instructed all Sub-Committees to continue to take into consideration appropriate human element related matters in the course of their work, particularly when:
The MSC noted the Working Group’s development of a draft proposed Assembly resolution on Promoting a Maritime Safety Culture, to be discussed further by the Marine Environment Protection Committee and to be finalized at MSC 77 in spring 2003, for submission to the next Assembly in November 2003. The proposed draft resolution would update and replace resolution A.792(19) on Safety culture in and around passenger ships and would include all types of ships.
Fatigue – need for education and training agreed
The MSC agreed on the need to develop education and training that provides seafarers, shipowners and operators, ship designers, maritime pilots and other relevant parties with proven methods to implement ways of addressing fatigue. The MSC also agreed that training is an indispensable step in order to create awareness and a change in safety culture.
The MSC therefore instructed the Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW) to consider mandatory education and training requirements in this respect for all relevant parties and all types of ships, as appropriate, taking into account MSC/Circ.1014 which includes IMO Guidelines on Fatigue.
The MSC approved, in principle, the proposed general framework concerning future work on places of refuge developed by the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation. Future work places high priority on the safety of all involved in any operation concerning the provision of places of refuge, with due attention to all environmental aspects associated with these operations. This will include the preparation of guidelines for:
The Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation will co-ordinate the work, while input should also come from the Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications, Search and Rescue (COMSAR) and the Marine Environment protection Committee (MEPC).
The Committee heard reports on a number of follow-up actions that had been taken following the IMO/Industry Meeting on multiple inspections held at IMO Headquarters on 9 February 2000. The Meeting had made a number of recommendations concerning flag State Administrations, port State control (PSC) authorities and industry partners as well as class and IACS.
Implementation and effectiveness of the ISM code
The Committee noted that studies had shown that the implementation of the ISM Code has already had a positive effect on safety. In fact, companies which have safety management systems in place have reported a reduction in casualties and spills, as well as a downward trend in detention rates while companies which have fully embraced the ISM Code have a better approach to safety management.
In this context, the Committee recalled MSC/Circ.1020 - MEPC/Circ. 387, dated 3 January 2002, reminding of the impending “phase 2” implementation date (1 July 2002) of the ISM Code and the action Governments and the industry should take in this regard.
The Committee took the view that it should be expected that the implementation of the second phase of the ISM Code, which covers the balance of the world merchant fleet, and a subsequent analysis to assess the impact of the Code on the safety of ships should provide a clear indication of the size of the Code’s contribution to the enhancement of safety and quality of shipping. To this end, the Secretariat was instructed to collect information from regional PSC MoUs/Agreements, IACS and industry organizations on the impact of the ISM Code on the ISM Code-certificated ships vis-à-vis detentions, serious deficiencies, casualties, etc. as well as their assessment of the impact of the Code and its effectiveness on ships to which it applies and to report the summary of such information and assessment to MSC 80.
Implementation by industry of the Meeting’s recommendations
Responses to the Meeting’s recommendation that greater co-operation should be established between charterers/shippers in the mutual recognition of inspection records had indicated that it was commercial inspections that could most readily be reduced in number. It was generally acknowledged that the main reason for commercial inspections had been the lack of confidence in the inspections carried out by other industry partners which drives interested parties, such as insurers, shippers and charterers, to take steps to assure themselves as to the actual standards of ships they insure and use.
Following the Meeting, industry partners had recognized that steps could be taken to reduce the number of inspections. In this respect, INTERTANKO had indicated that the total number of inspections could be reduced to an average of nine per annum. Moreover, the possibility of introducing a single common annual inspection has been recognized by charterers involved in the exercise.
The Committee encouraged industry organizations to co-operate closely, possibly through the establishment of an inter-industry group on this matter to identify possible areas of acceptance of the results of statutory and other inspections (thus eliminating duplication of work and the need for similar inspections by other industry partners) and to develop recommendations for the industry partners to implement so that the number of inspections might be reduced.
Port State control systems
The Committee noted that the information provided by the regional PSC MoUs/Agreements, in response to the recommendations of the Meeting, had indicated that some MoUs/Agreements had already undertaken certain initiatives to address the problems associated with multiple inspections, such as:
In this regard, the Committee invited the second Workshop of regional PSC MoU/Agreement Secretaries and Directors of Information Centres to exchange experiences and work on ways to address further the industry’s concerns over the number of inspections.
In noting information provided by OCIMF regarding the apparently limited use of SIRE by port State control inspectorates, the Committee recommended that the accessibility and potential benefits for port State control activities of the safety data on ships from the SIRE website should be brought to the attention of the second workshop for regional port State control MoU and Agreement Secretaries and Directors of Information Centres, to be held in July 2002.
The Committee agreed that the amendments to SOLAS, the 1988 SOLAS Protocol and the mandatory guidelines proposed for adoption at the current session should be deemed to have been accepted on 1 July 2003 with the expected entry into force set for 1 January 2004:
Amendments to SOLAS
The expanded Committee adopted the following amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended.
Making the IMDG Code mandatory - the amendments to SOLAS VII (Carriage of Dangerous Goods) make the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code) mandatory. The MSC also adopted the IMDG Code in a mandatory form.
However, as the MSC has agreed, the provisions of the following parts of the Code will remain recommendatory:
In practice, this means that from the legal point of view, the whole of the IMDG Code is made mandatory, but provisions of recommendatory nature are editorially expressed in the Code (e.g. using the word “should” instead of “shall”) to clarify their status.
The mandatory IMDG Code incorporates certain changes relating to specific products, as well as relevant elements of the amendments to the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations adopted by the UN Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods at its twenty-first session in Geneva from 4 to 13 December 2000.
The mandatory IMDG Code will take effect on 1 January 2004, but the MSC agreed that Contracting Governments to SOLAS may apply the IMDG Code in whole or in part on a voluntary basis as from 1 January 2003.
Updates to Chapter IV - Radiocommunications – The amendments to this chapter relate to changes following the full implementation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) on 1 February 1999, which renders some of the provisions relating to implementation dates in the current chapter IV superfluous.
The amendments also state that a listening watch on VHF Channel 16 for distress and safety purposes should continue until 2005.
Carriage requirement for IAMSAR Manual – The amendment to Chapter V – Safety of Navigation, requires ships to carry an up-to-date copy of Volume III of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual.
The MSC also adopted amendments to the 1988 Protocol to SOLAS, 1974, relating to updates to the Record of Equipment for the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate (Form P); Record of Equipment for the Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate (Form R); Record of Equipment for the Cargo Ship Safety Certificate (Form C).
Adoption of amendments to enhanced survey programme
The MSC adopted amendments to resolution A.744(18) – Guidelines on the enhanced programme of inspections during surveys of bulk carriers and oil tankers. The entry into force of the amendments is set for 1 January 2004.
The first set of
amendments relates to surveys of bulk carriers and is intended to improve the
survey procedures, in particular looking at repairs to bulk carriers and at
the condition of the foremost holds. The amendments add new annexes 11 and 12:
The second set of amendments relates to surveys of oil tankers and includes revisions of sections relating to repairs on oil tankers and to the intermediate enhanced survey. The amendments were proposed following proposals made after the Erika incident of December 1999 and consideration of issues relating to measures to improve the safety of oil tankers.
Access to spaces in cargo areas of oil tankers and bulk carriers – adoption of revised regulation deferred
The MSC agreed to defer consideration and adoption of the proposed draft revised regulation II-1/12-24 in SOLAS chapter II-1 (Construction – Structure, sub-division and stability, machinery and electrical installations) and draft technical provisions for means of access for inspection to its next session in December. The draft revised regulation is intended to ensure that ships can be properly inspected throughout their lifespan, by designing and building the ship to provide suitable means for access. Without adequate access, the structural condition of the ship can deteriorate undetected and major structural failure can arise. The MSC agreed that more time was needed to study the details of the proposed draft regulation and technical provisons.
The MSC adopted the following new and amended ships’ routeing measures which were agreed by the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation at its 47th session in July 2001. The new and amended measures will enter into force as stated below:
New Traffic Separation Schemes (TSSs)
Amendments to existing Traffic Separation Schemes (TSSs)
Routeing measures other than TSSs
The MSC adopted the following:
The MSC approved the following, for submission to the twenty-third session of the Assembly in November 2003 for adoption:
The MSC approved the following for circulation:
The MSC approved
the following circulars:
IMO is the United Nations agency concerned with safety of shipping and protection of the marine environment and is concerned with ensuring ships comply with international standards, including financial security. The Maritime Safety Committee is the highest technical body of the Organization. Delegates from all 162 member States may attend. The main function of the MSC is to consider any matter within the scope of the Organization that directly affects maritime safety. It has the power to adopt amendments to conventions, such as the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), Collision Regulations, Load Lines etc. It is assisted in its work by nine sub-committees which are also open to all Member States. They deal with the following subjects: Bulk Liquids and Gases; Carriage of Dangerous Goods; Solid Cargoes and Containers; Fire Protection; Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue; Safety of Navigation; Ship Design and Equipment; Stability and Load Lines and Fishing Vessel Safety; Standards of Training and Watchkeeping and Flag State Implementation.
Web site: www.imo.org
 ‘Bulk carrier casualty report – 2001 and the previous
ten years (1992-2001)’ - INTERCARGO
 For computer-based interactive systems reference may be made to ISO 13407:1999