New passenger ship safety standards set for adoption at IMO's Maritime Safety Committee
Safety Committee (82nd session): 29 November to 8 December 2006
speech to the meeting
A raft of new international standards for passenger ship safety will be
considered for adoption when IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meets in
Istanbul, Turkey, for its 82nd session from 29 November to 8 December 2006.
Other important issues on the MSC agenda include the further development of
goal-based standards and discussion of security and facilitation issues related
to the carriage of containers by ships.
The MSC Vice-Chairman, Mr. Neil Ferrer of the Philippines, will take on the
task of chairing the forthcoming MSC session, following the untimely death of
Mr. Igor Ponomarev, Chairman of the MSC and Permanent Representative of the
Russian Federation to IMO.
Revised passenger ship safety standards
The package of draft amendments to SOLAS, which were approved at the last MSC
session in May, are the result of a comprehensive review of passenger ship safety
initiated in 2000 with the aim of assessing whether the current regulations
were adequate, in particular for the large passenger ships being built.
The work in developing the draft new and amended regulations has based its guiding
philosophy on the dual premise that the regulatory framework should place more
emphasis on the prevention of a casualty from occurring in the first place and
that future passenger ships should be designed for improved survivability so
that, in the event of a casualty, persons can stay safely on board as the ship
proceeds to port.
The proposed amendments include new concepts such as the incorporation of criteria
for the casualty threshold (the amount of damage a ship is able to withstand,
according to the design basis, and still safely return to port) into SOLAS chapters
II-1 and II-2. The amendments also provide regulatory flexibility so that ship
designers can meet any safety challenges the future may bring. The draft amendments
designs and arrangements;
areas and the essential systems to be maintained while a ship proceeds to
port after a casualty, which will require redundancy of propulsion and other
safety centres, from where safety systems can be controlled, operated and
fixed fire detection and alarm systems, including requirements for fire
detectors and manually operated call points to be capable of being remotely
and individually identified;
fire prevention, including amendments aimed at enhancing the fire safety
of atriums, the means of escape in case of fire and ventilation systems;
for orderly evacuation and abandonment, including requirements for the essential
systems that must remain operational in case any one main vertical zone
is unserviceable due to fire.
The MSC will consider for adoption draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 and
the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) to strengthen the
fire protection arrangements in relation to cabin balconies on passenger vessels.
were developed in response to the fire aboard the cruise ship Star Princess,
while on passage between Grand Cayman and Montego Bay, Jamaica, in March of
this year. The fire began on an external balcony and spread over several decks.
The proposed draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 are aimed at ensuring that
existing regulations 4.4 (Primary deck coverings), 126.96.36.199 (Ceilings and linings),
5.3.2 (Use of combustible materials) and 6 (Smoke generation potential and toxicity)
are also applied to cabin balconies on new passenger ships.
passenger ships, relevant provisions would require that furniture on cabin balconies
be of restricted fire risk unless fixed water spraying systems, fixed fire detection
and fire alarm systems are fitted and that partitions separating balconies be
constructed of non combustible materials, similar to the provisions for new
accidents involving lifeboats
The MSC is expected to consider for adoption a draft amendment to SOLAS regulation
III/188.8.131.52 concerning provisions for the launch of free-fall lifeboats during
abandon-ship drills. The amendment will allow, during the abandon-ship drill,
for the lifeboat to either be free-fall launched with only the required operating
crew on board, or lowered into the water by means of the secondary means of
launching without the operating crew on board, and then manoeuvred in the water
by the operating crew. The aim is to prevent accidents with lifeboats occurring
during abandon-ship drills.
The MSC is expected to consider for adoption the Performance standard for
protective coatings of dedicated seawater ballast tanks on all new ships and
of double-side skin spaces of bulk carriers, which will then be made mandatory
by way of amendments to SOLAS regulations II-1/3-2 and XII/6 concerning the
application of the performance standard. It was agreed at the last MSC
session that the performance standard should apply to ships for which the building
contract is placed on or after 1 July 2008; or, in the absence of a building
contract, the keels of which are laid on or after 1 January 2009, or the delivery
of which is on or after 1 July 2012.
The MSC will also consider, with a view to adoption, other amendments:
Proposed amendments to SOLAS chapter IV Radiocommunications to recognize
future mobile satellite providers for the GMDSS, other than Inmarsat, in
amendments to the FSS Code relating to fire extinguishers, specifically
portable foam applicators; fixed foam fire-extinguishing systems; fixed-pressure
water-spraying and water-mist fire-extinguishing systems.
amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliance Code (LSA Code), including
those related to life rafts, life boats and rescue boats, particularly in
relation to stowage and release mechanisms.
amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment
of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), relating to fire
protection and fire extinction, including the fitting of a system for continuous
monitoring of the concentration of flammable vapours on ships of 500 gross
tonnage and over, and the revised chapters 17 Summary of minimum requirements,
18 List of products to which the code does not apply and 19 Index of Products
Carried in Bulk.
amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment
of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code), to update the references
to SOLAS regulations and to add dimethyl ether and carbon dioxide to the
list of products in chapter 19 Summary of minimum requirements.
amendments to the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 1994
(1994 HSC Code) and the 2000 HSC Code, to update them in line with relevant
SOLAS amendments and, in the case of the 2000 HSC Code, to revise requirements
relating to testing and calculations for buoyancy, stability and subdivision.
Draft amendments to the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention
on Load Lines, 1966, including amendments of a reference in Regulation 22
Scuppers, inlets and discharges and an amendment in Regulation 39
Minimum bow height and reserve buoyancy to define dl as "the
draught at 85% of the least moulded depth, in metres".
Draft amendments to the Dynamically Supported Craft (DSC) Code to update
it in line with relevant amendments to SOLAS.
amendments to the Gas Carrier (GC) Code, to update it in line with certain
fire safety requirements in SOLAS.
amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances
(resolution MSC.81(70)), including revisions to prototype tests for lifebuoys,
lifejackets, immersion suits, anti-exposure suits and thermal protective
aids, pyrotechnics - such as rocket parachute flares, hand flares and buoyant
smoke signals, liferafts, lifeboats, rescue boats and fast rescue boats,
launching and embarkation appliances, position-indicating lights for life-saving
appliances and hydrostatic release units; and revisions to production and
installation tests for survival craft, launching and stowage arrangements.
Also revisions to Appendix 1 on Adult reference test device (RTD) design
ship construction standards
is expected to re-establish the Working Group on Goal-based Standards (GBS)
for New Ship Construction to further progress the work on the issue.
is working on the basis of a prescriptive approach for GBS for provisions for
hull construction for bulk carriers and oil tankers and a safety level approach
for all other ship types.
to hull construction of bulk carriers and oil tankers, the MSC has already agreed
on a five-tier system, consisting of goals (Tier I), functional requirements
(Tier II), verification of compliance criteria (Tier III), technical procedures
and guidelines, classification rules and industry standards (Tier IV) and codes
of practice and safety and quality systems for shipbuilding, ship operation,
maintenance, training, manning, etc. (Tier V). Tier I goals and Tier II functional
requirements have already been agreed in principle.
of two correspondence groups will be considered by the Working Group, with progress
expected during the session in relation to Tier III criteria for the verification
of compliance, the establishment of an MSC Group of Experts to carry out such
verification, the incorporation of the GBS into IMO instruments, the planned
pilot project on verification of IACS's Common Structural Rules in co-operation
with IACS, and also the further development of GBS for all other ship types,
including the determination of the current level of safety of ships.
enhance maritime security
Following decisions made during the last session of the Committee, the MSC is
expected to start the consideration of issues relating to:
aspects of the operation of ships which do not fall within the scope of
SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code (including cargo ships less than 500
gross tonnage which travel on international routes); and
and facilitation issues related to the carriage of closed cargo transport
units and of freight containers aboard ships.
In relation to
the second issue, the Committee and the Facilitation Committee have agreed to
establish a Joint MSC/FAL Working Group which, in its work, will take into account
the SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade (the SAFE
Framework of Standards) and the Authorized Economic Operator Guidelines, adopted
by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in June 2005 and June 2006, respectively.
The SAFE Framework of Standards was developed by WCO in response to a request
from the 2002 SOLAS Conference which adopted SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS
Code. Notwithstanding the existing provisions in the latter instruments, the
Joint Working Group is expected, inter alia, to consider whether there
is a need to develop any relevant amendments to the SOLAS and/or FAL Conventions
concerning closed cargo transport units and freight containers, to enhance maritime
security whilst at the same time facilitating the movement of cargo.
The MSC will also consider proposed draft amendments to the Revised recommendations
on the safe transport of dangerous cargoes and related activities in port areas
(MSC/Circ.675), to include provisions intended to address the security of the
transport of dangerous goods by sea, and draft amendments to the IMO/ILO/UNECE
Guidelines for packing of cargo transport units (MSC/Circ.787) to broaden
the scope of the guidelines to address the need for vigilance and the need for
security procedures to be developed and followed by all concerned. The latter
draft amendments, if approved by MSC, will be forwarded to ILO and the UNECE
for their consideration and approval.
Long Range Identification
and Tracking - technical specifications and guidelines
The MSC will finalize the technical specifications of the components of the
Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) System and will consider wider
applications of LRIT to safety, especially search and rescue, as well as its
implementation. Other important issues to be considered will include the role
of performance review and audit of certain aspects of the LRIT system.
The MSC will
be invited to consider, for approval, technical specifications and guidelines
developed by the ad hoc Working Group on Engineering Aspects of LRIT.
The Group has developed draft technical specifications for the International
LRIT Data Exchange, the International LRIT Data Centre and for communication
within the LRIT System network; draft protocols for the development testing
of the LRIT System and for the testing of the integration into the system of
new LRIT data centres; and draft guidance on setting up and maintaining the
Data Distribution Plan.
The new regulation
on LRIT, which is included in SOLAS chapter V on Safety of Navigation, was adopted
at the last MSC session in May, along with performance standards. LRIT will
be introduced as a mandatory requirement for the following ships on international
voyages: passenger ships, including high-speed craft; cargo ships, including
high-speed craft, of 300 gross tonnage and upwards; and mobile offshore drilling
units. The regulation is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2008 and
will apply to ships constructed on or after 31 December 2008 with a phased-in
implementation schedule for ships constructed before 31 December 2008. LRIT
is intended to be operational with respect to the transmission of LRIT information
by ships as from 31 December 2008.
Role of the
The Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on Human Element will meet during the session
to consider human element issues, including the report of the Group of Independent
Experts established by the Secretary-General to analyze the impact of the ISM
Code and its effectiveness in the enhancement of safety of life at sea and protection
of the marine environment. It will also consider the report of the Inter-Industry
Working Group (IIWG), established to study the reported incidents of explosions
on chemical and product carriers; the need for guidelines for abandonment of
ships alongside in port, under ISM Code provisions; and a submission on human
element research into leadership qualities.
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, is expected to be updated
when the Secretary-General submits his report on those countries whose reports
of independent evaluations have been completed since the previous MSC meeting.
The MSC will consider other issues arising from the reports of Sub-Committees
and other bodies, including:
of a proposed draft revised resolution A.888(21) Criteria for the provision
of mobile-satellite communication systems in the GMDSS, which sets out
the procedure for approving mobile-satellite services for the GMDSS, including
important aspects relating to the evaluation, recognition and oversight
of future satellite providers.
of new and amended traffic separation schemes, including new and amended
routeing measures other than traffic separation schemes, as well as new
and amended ship reporting systems
of revised performance standards for Electronic Chart Display and Information
Systems (ECDIS). The aim behind the revision is to ensure the operational
reliability of such equipment, taking into account technological progress
and experience gained. The proposed revised performance standards are more
detailed than the current version and include references to newer equipment
such as automatic identification systems. It is proposed that the new revised
performance standards would apply to ECDIS equipment installed on or after
[1 January 2009] (date to be agreed by the MSC).
of Performance Standards for shipborne Galileo Equipment Receiver
valid for equipment installed on or after [1 January 2009] (date to be agreed
by the MSC).
Adoption of Guidelines for the design and construction of offshore supply
Adoption of amendments to the Guidelines for the transport and handling
of limited amounts of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk on
offshore support vessels (LHNS Guidelines).
of amendments to the Code of safe carriage of cargoes and persons by
offshore supply vessels (OSV Code).
of amendments to the Code of safe practice for the safe loading and unloading
of bulk carriers (BLU Code).
47, 27 November 2006
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