Maritime Safety Committee - 78th session: 12 - 21 May 2004
address by the Secretary-General
The implementation of the maritime security measures adopted by IMO in 2002
must be given urgent priority, the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) agreed
when it met at the Organization's London Headquarters for its 78th session from
12 to 21 May 2004.
issues on the MSC agenda included the adoption of amendments to the SOLAS and
SAR Conventions relating to the treatment of persons in distress at sea; and
issues related to the safety of bulk carriers and to large passenger ship safety.
of maritime security measures, ISPS Code
The MSC considered issues relating to the implementation of the maritime security
measures which enter into force on 1 July 2004.
The MSC, recognizing that the consistent, uniform and harmonized implementation
of the control and compliance measures will contribute towards the enhancement
of maritime security, adopted resolution MSC.159(78) on Interim Guidance
on Control and Compliance Measures to Enhance Maritime Security.
and access to ships under the ISPS Code
The Committee once more acknowledged the need for a proper balance between the
needs of security, the protection of the human rights of seafarers and port
workers, and the requirement to maintain the safety and working efficiency of
the ship, particularly when allowing access for activities such as the taking
on board of stores, repair and maintenance of essential equipment and other
vital activities that are appropriately undertaken when a ship is moored at
for the Implementation of SOLAS chapter XI 2 and the ISPS Code
The Committee approved an MSC Circular on Guidelines for the Implementation
of SOLAS chapter XI 2 and the ISPS Code which provides guidance on:
measures and procedures to be applied at the ship/port interface when either
the ship or the port facility do not comply with the requirements of chapter
XI 2 and of the ISPS Code;
measures and procedures to be applied by a ship, which is required to comply
with the requirements of chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code, when it interfaces
with an FPSO or an FSU; and
of the ISPS Code in relation to shipyards.
of the Master as the Ship Security Officer
The Committee endorsed the conclusion of the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation
(FSI) that the provisions of the ISPS Code did not prevent the master from
being appointed as the Ship Security Officer, if so decided by the Administration.
of Practice on Security in Ports.
The MSC approved for publication the draft ILO/IMO Code of practice on security
in ports (http://www.imo.org/home.asp?topic_id=881
The MSC reviewed progress made to date on consideration of issues relating to
the safety of large passenger ships and re-established the ad hoc Working Group
on Large Passenger Ship Safety to update the work programme. The revised work
programme, which includes the following main tasks/objectives, to:
ship survivability in the event of grounding, collision or flooding with
a view to minimizing the need to abandon the ship;
fire protection and prevention measures with a view to minimizing the need
to abandon the ship;
escape, muster and evacuation issues with a view toward ensuring the safe
and orderly movement of persons during an emergency;
lifesaving appliances and arrangements requirements with a view to improving
evacuation, recovery measures and subsequent SAR procedures;
recovery and rescue techniques and equipment and propose measures as appropriate;
measures to assess alternative designs and arrangements so as to ease the
approval of new concepts and technologies provided that an equivalent level
of safety is achieved;
human element issues with regard to operations, management and training
with a view towards improving safety;
measures to ensure ships can safely proceed to port after a fire or flooding
measures to improve prevention of groundings and collisions;
medical management practices including facilities, equipment, personnel
qualifications and staffing levels;
measures related to ship security; and
measures related to health-safety on board.
The MSC agreed that
future work should continue to come under the agenda item entitled "Large
passenger ship safety" with a view to resolving the scope of the work at
MSC 79. In the meantime, the
MSC instructed its subsidiary bodies to develop relevant parameters, as necessary,
in respect of the scope of application of any proposed recommendations.
Fire and flooding thresholds and timeframes
The MSC agreed that, as a general principle, casualty thresholds (extent of
damage) should be prepared to stipulate the amount of damage a ship must be
able to withstand and still be able to return safely to port under its own power.
In addition, the Committee agreed that, even if this casualty threshold is exceeded,
a ship is to remain habitable for a minimum period of time to allow for its
safe and orderly abandonment. To this end, the MSC approved casualty thresholds
for fire and flooding and agreed a "time to remain habitable" of three
hours. The Sub-Committees will use these criteria in the development of appropriate
The Committee re-convened the Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on the Human Element,
which began work on the development of a human element strategic plan for
the Organization with a view to addressing the human element in maritime safety,
environmental protection and security.
The group developed
a working document including a preliminary list of possible items to be included
in the action plan, which would serve as a basis for developing the strategic
plan. The Committee invited Member Governments to submit comments on the proposed
plan to the next sessions of the MSC/MEPC.
new ship construction standards
The MSC examined in detail the concept that IMO should develop "goal-based"
standards for ships' construction and equipment and agreed that a Working
Group should meet at the next session, in December (MSC 79).
The Working Group
should bear in mind environmental, human element and security issues, the
The premise behind
the development of goal-based standards is that IMO should play a larger role
in determining the fundamental standards to which new ships are built.
There is no intention
that IMO would take over the detailed work of the classification societies,
but rather that IMO would state what has to be achieved, leaving classification
societies, ship designers and naval architects, marine engineers and ship
builders the freedom to decide on how best to employ their professional skills
to meet the required standards.
At present there
is no international legislation or guidance on these matters. Therefore the
MSC is expected to consider the introduction of a mechanism to ensure harmonised,
internationally agreed standards, under the umbrella of IMO.
The MSC approved proposed amendments to SOLAS chapter XII (Additional safety
measures for bulk carriers), with a view to subsequent adoption at MSC 79
in December 2004.
The draft amendments propose the replacement of the existing text of chapter
XII with a new text incorporating revisions to some regulations and new requirements
relating to double-side skin bulk carriers.
The MSC agreed
the addition of a new regulation 14 on Restrictions from sailing with any
The MSC agreed
to include requirements for double-side skin construction as an optional alternative
to single-side skin construction. The option of double-side skin construction
would apply to new bulk carriers of 150m in length and over, carrying solid
bulk cargoes having a density of 1,000 kg/m3 and above.
In addition, the
MSC approved an amendment to SOLAS regulation 31 in chapter III (Life-saving
appliances and arrangements) to make mandatory the carriage of free-fall
lifeboats on bulk carriers, for adoption at MSC 79.
The MSC also approved
for future adoption the draft MSC resolution on Standards and criteria for
side structures of bulk carriers of single-side skin construction and the
draft MSC resolution on Standards for owners' inspections and maintenance
of bulk carrier hatch covers.
approved MSC circulars on Guidelines for assessing the longitudinal strength
of bulk carriers during loading, unloading and ballast water exchange and Guidance
for checking the structure of bulk carriers.
means of access -SOLAS amendments
The MSC adopted amendments to SOLAS regulation 3 6 in chapter II-1 (Construction
- Subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations) on
Access to and within spaces in the cargo area of oil tankers and bulk carriers
(resolution MSC.134(76)) and to the associated Technical Provisions for means
of access for inspections (resolution MSC.133(76)). The amendments are expected
to enter into force on 1 January 2006.
adopting the amendment includes a paragraph under which the flag State Administration
may provisionally apply the amended regulation to new ships to be constructed
on or after 1 January 2005 instead of applying the original requirements of
also approved an MSC circular on the Application of SOLAS regulation II-1/3-6
on Access to and within spaces in, and forward of, the cargo area of oil tankers
and bulk carriers - Application of the Technical provisions for means of access
for inspections, drawing the attention of the Member States to the provisions
for their provisional early application as from 1 January 2005.
at sea - amendments to SOLAS and SAR adopted
The MSC (expanded to include all SOLAS Contracting Governments and SAR Parties)
adopted amendments to the SOLAS and SAR Conventions concerning the treatment
of persons rescued at sea, and/or asylum seekers, refugees and stowaways. The
amendments were developed in response to resolution A.920 on Review of
safety measures and procedures for the treatment of persons rescued at sea,
adopted by IMO's 22nd Assembly following a number of incidents that highlighted
concerns surrounding the treatment of persons rescued at sea.
The prime concern
with respect to such incidents was that, unless the matter was considered
in all its aspects and appropriate action was taken, there might be a negative
impact on the integrity of the global search and rescue system which IMO has
put in place.
- chapter V (Safety of Navigation) - to add a definition of search and rescue
services; to set an obligation to provide assistance, regardless of nationality
or status of persons in distress, and mandate co-ordination and co-operation
between States to assist the ship's master in delivering persons rescued
at sea to a place of safety; and to add a new regulation on master's discretion.
The SOLAS amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2006,
- Annex to the Convention - addition of a new paragraph in chapter 2 (Organization
and co-ordination) relating to definition of persons in distress, new paragraphs
in chapter 3 (Co-operation between States) relating to assistance to the
master in delivering persons rescued at sea to a place of safety and a new
paragraph in chapter 4 (Operating procedures) relating to rescue co- ordination
centres initiating the process of identifying the most appropriate places
for disembarking persons found in distress at sea. The SAR amendments are
expected to enter into force on 1 January 2006.
The MSC also adopted related Guidelines on the treatment of persons rescued
at sea. The aim is to provide guidance with regard to humanitarian obligations
and obligations under the relevant international law.
plan - international SAR Fund agreed
The MSC agreed to establish an international Search and Rescue (SAR) Fund
as soon as possible to support the establishment and continued maintenance
of regional Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) and Maritime Rescue
Sub-Centres (MRSCs) along the African coastlines.
(See IMO Briefing
19/2004 - IMO Safety meeting recommends international fund to set up African
search and rescue services for ships in distress http://www.imo.org/home.asp?topic_id=848&doc_id=3612
The MSC also
approved the establishment and composition of the Global SAR Development Advisory
Group. The Global SAR Development Advisory Group will consist of:
Chairman of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)/IMO Joint
representative from the International Lifeboat Federation (ILF) Secretariat;
representative from the IMO Secretariat; and
representative from the ICAO Secretariat,
and would provide
advice to ICAO, IMO and ILF with respect to the co ordination of the SAR development
accidents with lifeboats - amendments to SOLAS
The expanded MSC adopted amendments to SOLAS chapter III (Life-saving appliances
and arrangements) which are intended to help prevent accidents with lifeboats
during drills. The amendments, which are expected to enter into force on 1 July
2006, stem from work by the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE)
intended to address the unacceptably high number of accidents with lifeboats
that have been occurring over recent years. Crew have been injured, sometimes
fatally, while participating in lifeboat drills and/or inspections.
The amendments to Regulation 19 (Emergency training and drills) and Regulation
20 (Operational readiness, maintenance and inspections) concern the conditions
in which lifeboat emergency training and drills should be conducted and introduce
changes to the operational tests to be conducted during the weekly and monthly
inspections, so as not to require the assigned crew to be on board in all cases.
The MSC also approved a circular on Prevention of accidents in high free-fall
launching of life boats, in view of recent reports of injuries sustained
during launches of free-fall lifeboats from heights greater than 20 metres.
Carriage of immersion suits - amendments to SOLAS
The MSC adopted amendments to SOLAS chapter III Regulation 32 - Personal
life-saving appliances to make changes to the number of immersion suits
to be carried on all cargo ships. The amendments introduce carriage requirements
for one immersion suit per person on board all cargo ships, including bulk carriers.
At present, the regulation requires carriage of at least three immersion suits
for each lifeboat on a cargo ship, as well as thermal protective aids for persons
not provided with immersion suits.
With the adoption
of the proposed amendments, which are expected to enter into force on 1 July
2006, immersion suits will become, as lifejackets, a personal life-saving
appliance for each person on board thus offering better thermal protection
and improved chance of survival and rescue. The MSC also adopted consequential
amendments to the 1988 SOLAS Protocol relating to the records of equipment.
amendments including security
The MSC adopted amendments to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG)
Code. The amendments update several sections of the Code relating to the carriage
of dangerous goods and also include a new chapter 1.4 on Security Provisions
intended to address the security of dangerous goods being transported by sea.
The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2006, but may be
applied on a voluntary basis from 1 January 2005.
of the revised STCW Convention
The MSC approved the updated list of Parties which included two additional
STCW Parties approved at the session 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.
to STCW Code
The MSC adopted amendments to STCW Code Part A concerning deletion of the
term 'as amended in 1995', which are expected to enter into force on 1 July
Voyage Data Recorders - SOLAS amendments approved
The MSC agreed with the recommendation of the Sub-committee on Safety of Navigation
(NAV) that retrofitting existing cargo ships with Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)
was feasible and desirable and that a simplified VDR (S-VDR) should be specified
for existing cargo ships.
The MSC therefore
approved - with a view to adoption at MSC 79 - draft amendments to regulation
20 of SOLAS chapter V (Safety of Navigation) on a phased-in carriage
requirement for a shipborne S-VDR. The draft regulation requires a VDR, which
may be a S-VDR, to be fitted to cargo ships above 3,000 gross tonnage. The proposed
draft regulation would phase in the requirement for cargo ships over 20,000
gross tonnage first, by 2007, to be followed by cargo ships above 3,000 gross
tonnage, by 2008.
Under SOLAS regulation
V/20, passenger ships and ships other than passenger ships of 3000 gross tonnage
and upwards constructed on or after 1 July 2002 must carry voyage data recorders
(VDRs) to assist in accident investigations. At the time of the adoption of
the regulation in 2000 (it entered into force in July 2002), the MSC agreed
that a feasibility study on the mandatory carriage of VDRs on existing cargo
ships should be carried out
The MSC also adopted
resolution MSC.163(78)on Performance Standards for shipborne simplified voyage
data recorders (S-VDRs).
The MSC adopted a scheme to implement the IMO Unique Company and Registered
Owners Identification Number Scheme. The aim is to facilitate the enhancement
of maritime safety, security and pollution prevention and the prevention of
maritime fraud by assigning a permanent identification number to companies and
registered organizations which will be inserted on ships' certificates.
The MSC also
approved a circular letter to Governments and non-governmental organizations
on Implementation of the IMO Unique Company and Registered Owners Identification
armed robbery against ships
The MSC reviewed the reports on incidents of piracy and armed robbery against
ships submitted to IMO and welcomed developments in the implementation of
the co-ordinated plan of action to tackle piracy and armed robbery against
ships through regional agreements.
The number of
acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, which were reported to the
Organization to have occurred or to have been attempted in 2003, was 456,
an increase of 69 (18%) over the figure for 2002.
The areas most
affected in 2003 (i.e. five incidents reported or more) were the Far East,
in particular the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait, South America and
the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, West Africa, and East Africa. The number
of acts reported to have occurred or to have been attempted increased from
140 to 152 in the South China Sea; from 66 to 96 in the Indian Ocean; from
67 to 72 in South America and the Caribbean; from 47 to 67 in West Africa;
and from 34 to 38 in the Malacca Strait, over the 2002 figures. However, the
numbers decreased from 3 to 1 in the Mediterranean Sea and from 24 to 22 in
East Africa, compared with the 2002 figures.
13 crew members were reportedly killed, including two passengers and six military
personnel, 45 persons were wounded and 54 crew went missing. Amongst those
still missing to date and unaccounted for are 11 crew members including three
crew members thrown overboard. Eleven ships were hijacked and 11 went missing,
whilst one ship was set ablaze and one ship was run aground.
ships' routeing measures
The MSC adopted the following ships' routeing and other measures, which will
take effect on 1 December 2004 at 0000 hours UTC, except for the amendment
to the TSS "In the Singapore Strait", which will take effect from
1 January 2005 at 0000 hours UTC:
separation schemes (TSSs)
"Off Ra's al Kuh";
to the Port of Ra's al Khafji"; and
the Adriatic Sea".
to existing TSSs
to the existing traffic separation scheme "Between Korsoer and Sprogoe".
to the separation zone of the TSS in the Singapore Straits, by which a space
for an anchorage area would be released, to take effect on 1 January 2005
at 0000 hours UTC.
measures other than TSSs
area to be avoided off the north east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.
of the existing charting measure in the Great North East Channel of the
Torres Strait, off the north east coast of Australia to a two-way route.
of an Area to be Avoided (ATBA) in the Paracas National Reserve.
Ship Reporting Systems
to the existing mandatory Ship Reporting System "in the Torres Strait
and Inner Route of the Great Barrier Reef", off the North East coast
of Australia (REEFREP).
to the existing mandatory ship reporting system "Off Cape Finisterre".
sea lanes - amendments to Ships' Routeing
The Committee adopted amendments to the General Provisions on Ships' Routeing
(resolution A.527(14), as amended), concerning the adoption, designation and
substitution of archipelagic sea lanes (paragraph 3.13 of Section H (IMO publication
adopted by MSC 78
of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at
Sea, 1974, as amended
of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at
Sea, 1974, as amended
of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at
Sea, 1974, as amended
of amendments to the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention
for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974
of amendments to the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue,
1979, as amended
of amendments to the Seafarers' Training, Certification and Watchkeeping
of amendments to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code
of amendments to the technical provisions for means of access for inspections
guidance on control and compliance measures to enhance maritime security
of the IMO unique company and registered owners identification number
to the existing mandatory ship reporting system "In the Torres strait
and inner route of the Great Barrier Reef"
to the existing mandatory ship reporting system "Off Cape Finisterre"
standards for shipborne simplified voyage data recorders (S-VDR)
performance standards for radar reflectors
of amendments to the General Provisions on Ship's Routeing (resolution
A.572(14), as amended)
of performance standards for marine transmitting heading devices (THDS)
to marine transmitting magnetic heading devices (TMHDS)
on the treatment of persons rescued at sea
List of circulars
approved by MSC 78
of SOLAS regulation II-1/3-6 on Access to and within spaces in, and forward
of, the cargo area of oil tankers and bulk carriers and application of
the Technical provisions for means of access for inspections
for assessing the longitudinal strength of bulk carriers during loading,
unloading and ballast water exchange
security alerts and distress/security double alerts
related to SOLAS regulations XI-2/6 and XI-2/7
relating to the implementation of SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code
leave and access to ships under the ISPS Code
to port State control officers on the non-security related elements of
the 2002 SOLAS amendments
for periodic testing of immersion suit and anti-exposure suit seams and
of accidents in high free-fall launching of lifeboats
interpretations of the IBC and IGC Codes
for checking the structure of bulk carriers
of SOLAS regulation V/9 - Hydrographic services
interface improvement for bulk carriers
interpretations of the IBC and IGC Codes
to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification
and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended, confirmed by
the Maritime Safety Committee to have communicated information which demonstrates
that full and complete effect is given to the relevant provisions of the
of the revised NAVTEX Manual
on annual testing of L-band satellite EPIRBs
to the IAMSAR Manual
New and amended traffic separation schemes and associated routeing measures
Routeing measures other than traffic separation scheme
Mandatory ship reporting systems
Guidance on the application of AIS binary messages
Amendments to the General Provisions on Ships' Routeing
Unified interpretations of the 1966 LL Convention
Guidance for masters on keeping a safe anchor watch
Data to be included in documentary evidence of training leading to the award
of a certificate of competency
Clarification on the use of NAVTEX B3 B4 characters = 00 and NAVTEX service
Recommendations on MF/HF DSC test calls to coast stations
letter No.2554 - Implementation of the IMO unique company and registered owner
identification number scheme
IMO is the United Nations agency concerned with safety and security 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 163 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 and security. It has the mandate 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.
session of the Maritime Safety Committee was held from 12 to 21 May 2004 under
the chairmanship of Mr. Tom Allan (United Kingdom).
For further information please contact:
Lee Adamson, Senior External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3153 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or Natasha Brown, External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3274 (email@example.com