IMO Maritime Safety Committee adopts mandatory casualty investigation code
Committee (MSC), 84th session: 7-16 May 2008
IMO adopted a mandatory
casualty investigation code and moved forward with the implementation of long-range
identification and tracking (LRIT) of ships, when the Maritime Safety Committee
(MSC) met in London, for its 84th session from 7 to 16 May.
investigation Code adopted
The MSC adopted a new Code of International Standards and Recommended Practices
for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident (Casualty
Investigation Code). Relevant amendments to SOLAS Chapter XI 1 were also
adopted, to make parts I and II of the Code mandatory. Part III of the Code
contains related guidance and explanatory material.
will require a marine safety investigation to be conducted into every "very
serious marine casualty", defined as a marine casualty involving the total
loss of the ship or a death or severe damage to the environment.
will also recommend an investigation into other marine casualties and incidents,
by the flag State of a ship involved, if it is considered likely that it would
provide information that could be used to prevent future accidents.
The new regulations
expand on SOLAS Regulation I/21, which requires Administrations to undertake
to conduct an investigation of any casualty occurring to any of its ships "when
it judges that such an investigation may assist in determining what changes
in the present regulations might be desirable".
Long Range Identification
The MSC made a number of decisions to ensure the timely implementation of the
LRIT system. SOLAS regulation V/19-1 on LRIT entered into force on 1 January
2008 and will apply to ships constructed on or after 31 December 2008 with a
phased implementation schedule for ships constructed before 31 December 2008.
The LRIT system is intended to be operational with respect to the transmission
of LRIT information by ships from 30 December 2008.
The MSC adopted a resolution on the Establishment of the International LRIT
Data Exchange on an interim basis, confirming that the International LRIT
Data Exchange will be provided temporarily by the United States at their own
expense and that a permanent solution should be found as soon as possible.
The MSC endorsed a financial model based on the "user pays" principle,
agreeing that charges for the provision of LRIT information for the search and
rescue of persons in distress at sea should, in all cases, be free of charge
to the search and rescue service of the Contracting Government requesting such
The Committee adopted revised Performance Standards and functional requirements
for the long-range identification and tracking of ships, to update previous
versions, and agreed MSC.1 Circulars giving Guidance on the survey and certification
of compliance of ships with the requirement to transmit LRIT information; Guidance
on Search and Rescue Services in relation to requesting and receiving LRIT information;
Guidance on the implementation of the LRIT system; and Interim revised Technical
Specifications for the LRIT system.
The International Maritime Satellite Organization (IMSO), acting as LRIT Co-ordinator,
will authorize the integration, on an interim basis, of the Data Centres that
have undergone and satisfactorily completed developmental testing, into the
production LRIT system.
Meanwhile, the ad hoc LRIT Group was authorized to consider and adopt
amendments to technical specifications for the LRIT system on behalf of the
Committee, during the period between MSC 84 and MSC 85 (meeting November-December
2008), and to develop, agree and adopt, the documentation for the testing and
integration of the LRIT system. The Committee also instructed the ad hoc
LRIT Group to consider and report to MSC 85 on all matters relating to the development
of a plan for the continuity of service of the LRIT system and, if possible,
to develop such a plan.
The MSC adopted the following amendments to SOLAS chapters II 1, II 2, III,
IV and XI 1. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2010:
to SOLAS chapter II-2, regarding drainage of special category and ro-ro
spaces to prevent accumulation of water on the vehicle deck of ro-ro ships;
amendments to SOLAS Chapter XI 1 to add a new Regulation 6 (Additional
requirements for the investigation of marine casualties and incidents)
to make mandatory parts I and II of the new Casualty Investigation Code;
new SOLAS regulation II-1/3-9 (Means of embarkation on and disembarkation
from ships), to require ships built after its adoption and entry into
force to be provided with means of embarkation and disembarkation, such
as gangways and accommodation ladders;
new SOLAS regulation and amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-4 (Emergency
towing arrangements on tankers), to extend the regulation to ships other
than tankers. The MSC also approved Guidelines for owners/operators on
preparing emergency towing procedures; and
Amendments to regulations III/6, III/26 and IV/7 to replace requirements
for "radar transponders" with a requirement for a "search
and rescue locating device".
to 1988 SOLAS Protocol
The MSC adopted amendments to the 1988 SOLAS Protocol, to replace the reference
to "radar transponders" with a reference to "search and rescue
locating devices", in the form of safety certificate for passenger ships
and forms of safety certificate for cargo ships.
to Guidelines on the enhanced programme of inspections during surveys of bulk
carriers and oil tankers
The MSC adopted amendments to the Guidelines on the enhanced programme of
inspections during surveys of bulk carriers and oil tankers (resolution
A.744(18)) (ESP Guidelines), including a new part B on Survey guidelines
for double skin bulk carriers applicable to bulk carriers of 500 gross tonnage
and over having double-side skin construction.
to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code
The MSC adopted Amendment 34-08 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods
(IMDG) Code. The amendment includes changes to provisions for certain substances,
including changes to requirements for documentation for dangerous goods in limited
quantities. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2010,
but may be applied in whole or in part voluntarily from 1 January 2009.
to HSC Codes
Amendments to the International Codes of Safety for High-Speed Craft (1994 and
2000 HSC Codes) were adopted to bring them in line with SOLAS chapter III amendments
on search and rescue locating devices.
Code of Safety
for Special Purpose ships adopted
The MSC adopted a revised and updated Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships
(SPS Code), such as sail training ships, cable laying ships and research vessels.
The original SPS Code was adopted in 1983. The 2008 version provides an international
standard of safety for new special purpose ships that will result in a level
of safety for the ships and their personnel equivalent to that required by SOLAS.
Piracy and armed
robbery against ships
The MSC discussed the continued concern about increased incidents of piracy
off the coast of Somalia and IMO Secretary-General Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos
requested Members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to support a resolution
currently being considered by the UNSC to address the issue and urged all other
members to promote, through the United Nations General Assembly, action to prevent
piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Meanwhile, the MSC noted that a two-stage, sub regional meeting on piracy and
armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean was held in Dar es Salaam,
United Republic of Tanzania from 14 to 18 April 2008. The meeting, attended
by 13 States from the region, developed and agreed a draft Memorandum of Understanding
concerning the suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the
Western Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, for onward transmission
to national authorities and the Council of IMO, with a view to concluding the
agreement later this year.
Review of guidelines for prevention and suppression of piracy and armed robbery
The MSC established a correspondence group to review MSC/Circ.622/Rev.1, Recommendations
to Governments for preventing and suppressing piracy and armed robbery against
ships; MSC/Circ.623/Rev.3 Guidance to shipowners and ship operators,
shipmasters and crews on preventing and suppressing acts of piracy and armed
robbery against ships; and resolution A.922(22), Code of Practice for
the Investigation of the Crimes of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships.
An interim report is expected to be submitted to MSC 85, with a final report
being submitted to MSC 86 in 2009.
ship construction standards
The MSC re-established the Working Group on Goal-based Standards (GBS) for New
Ship Construction to progress the work on the issue, taking into account the
reports of the Working Group on Goal-Based Standards at MSC 83; the interim
progress report of the Pilot Panel; and the report of the Correspondence Group
on Goal-Based Standards.
A work plan
for the continued development of GBS was agreed, which would see MSC 85 finalizing
and approving Tiers I to III of GBS for bulk carriers and oil tankers and finalizing
and approving associated SOLAS amendments; and MSC 86, in 2009, finalizing generic
guidelines for developing goal-based standards.
In the longer
term, the work plan would include assessing the experience gained from the application
of GBS; application of GBS to other ship types on an incremental basis; and
expansion of GBS to cover every aspect of the design and construction of new
Review of STCW
Convention and Code
The Committee noted the progress of work relating to the comprehensive review
of the STCW Convention and the STCW Code by the Sub-Committee on Standards of
Training (STW) and agreed to invite the Council to endorse, in principle, the
holding of a Diplomatic Conference in 2010 to adopt amendments emanating from
the comprehensive review.
first major review since the 1995 STCW Conference, is intended to ensure that
the Convention, as it may be revised, meets and responds adequately to the present
and future needs of the shipping industry.
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 when the Secretary-General
submitted his report on those countries which had communicated information pursuant
to STCW regulation I/7, or reports pursuant to STCW regulation I/8, and whose
evaluations had been completed since the previous MSC meeting.
The MSC approved
the revised list of confirmed Parties to the STCW convention, which now includes
International Safety Management (ISM) Code approved
Following consideration by the Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on Human Element,
the MSC approved draft amendments to the International Safety Management (ISM)
Code, to harmonize the requirement for the extension of the validity of the
Safety Management Certificate (SMC) with those of SOLAS certificates and the
International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC). The amendments will be submitted
for adoption at the next session.
The MSC also prepared a preliminary draft text of amendments to the Revised
Guidelines on Implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code
Following consideration by the Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on Human Element,
the MSC approved a draft MSC MEPC.7/Circular on Guidance on near-miss reporting,
subject to a concurrent decision by MEPC 58 (meeting in October 2008).
encourages reporting of near-misses so that remedial measures can be taken to
avoid recurrences; and gives guidance on the implementation of near-miss reporting.
The circular notes that companies should investigate near-misses as a regulatory
requirement under the "Hazardous Occurrences" part of the ISM Code.
of the sub-committees
took a series of decisions regarding the work programmes of the Sub Committees
and, in particular, the inclusion of an item on the development of an agreement
on the implementation of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol in the work programme
of the SLF Sub Committee and an item on the development of a Code for recognized
organizations in the work programme of the FSI Sub Committee.
Briefing 19, 23 May 2008
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