IMO Secretary-General calls for review of safety of large passenger ships
Safety Committee - 72nd session: 17-26 May 2000
International Maritime Organization (IMO) should consider undertaking a global
consideration of safety issues pertaining to passenger ships, with particular
emphasis on large cruise ships, IMO Secretary-General Mr. William A. O`Neil
says in a paper submitted to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), which meets
17-26 May 2000.
MSC is the senior technical body of IMO, the United Nations agency concerned
with safety of shipping ad the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
the paper, entitled Enhancing the safety of large passenger ships, Mr.O`Neil
notes the achievements of the shipbuilding and ancillary industries in delivering
gigantic cruise ships embodying state-of-the-art technology.
notes the safety of recently built large cruise ships is not in doubt, nor is
there concern as to whether such ships confirm with most recently adopted safety
standards applicable to ships of this category - particularly those standards
in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
what "merits due consideration is whether SOLAS and, to the extent applicable,
the Load Line Convention requirements, several of which were drafted before
some of these large ships were built, duly address all the safety aspects of
their operation in particular, in emergency situations. Also, whether
the training requirements of the [International Convention on Standards of Training,
Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers] STCW Convention relating to personnel
operating large cruise ships are in need of any review or clarification in the
is suggested that the Committee may wish to consider establishing an ad hoc
working group to consider all relevant issues.
paper notes that according to statistical information, there are, at present,
47 passenger ships of 50,000 gross tonnage* and above, built between 1961 and
1999, totalling 3,324,853 gross tonnage, capable of carrying 106,484 passengers
and 38,389 crew members. Of these, 42 passenger ships, totalling 2,987,889 gross
tonnage and being capable of carrying 96,075 passengers and 34,439 crew members
were built since 1990; their average gross tonnage is 71,140, while their average
capacity is 2,287 passengers and 819 crew members or 3,106 persons on board.
revised Chapter V of SOLAS to be considered
MSC will consider the completed revised draft text of SOLAS chapter V, together
with the associated draft MSC resolution, for adoption at MSC 73 in December
revised Chapter V will be longer than the existing chapter, with nearly twice
as many regulations, and is being reformatted. It is intended that the revised
Chapter V will enter into force on 1 July 2002, in accordance with the four-year
interval agreed by the Maritime Safety Committee for bringing into force amendments
to mandatory instruments.
Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation finalized the draft revised Chapter V
at its last meeting in September 1999. The review began in 1992.
points in a number of draft regulations remain open for discussion by the MSC
- including carriage requirements for navigational equipment, including Automatic
Ship Identification Systems (AIS) and Voyage Data Recorders (VDR).
Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation agreed on the need for passenger ships
on international voyages to carry Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs) and agreed that
existing ro-ro passenger ships should comply with the requirement on the date
of entry into force of the new regulations.
the Sub-Committee did not reach consensus regarding application to other types
of ships and agreed that the MSC should decide whether to include in the regulation
a phase-in implementation schedule for other ships.
favoured a resolution to be adopted which calls on administrations to consider
the use of VDR also on other ships and, in the light of the experience gained,
to consider whether this regulation should be extended to cover other ships
for shipborne VDRs were adopted at the twentieth Assembly in 1997 by resolution
of SOLAS chapter II-2 and Fire Safety Systems Code
The Committee will
also consider a draft revised SOLAS chapter II-2 and the draft Fire Safety Systems
Code, which were submitted by the Sub-Committee on Fire Protection. If approved
by the Committee it is expected that the texts will be circulated with a view
to adoption by MSC 73 in November-December.
MSC will establish a Working Group on Bulk Carrier Safety to review relevant
July 1999, a new chapter XII on Additional safety measures for bulk carriers
to SOLAS, 1974, entered into force. The regulations in the chapter aim to prevent
losses of bulk carriers due to structural failure following flooding of any
hold in new ships and of the foremost hold of existing ships, identified as
the cause of a number of losses of bulk carriers in the early 1990s. The chapter
contains a number of requirements for improving the structural integrity of
bulk carriers, including strengthening the double bottom and bulkhead of the
foremost hold where required.
a 1998 report on the sinking of the bulk carrier Derbyshire in 1980 with
the loss of 44 lives, presented at the 69th session of the MSC in May 1998 by
the United Kingdom, contains further recommendations relating to the design
and construction of bulk carriers.
working group is expected to continue reviewing issues discussed at the previous
number of issues are also being reviewed by the Sub-Committee on Stability and
Load Lines and on Fishing Vessel Safety (SLF), including: strength of hatch
covers and coamings; freeboard and bow height; reserve buoyancy at fore end,
including forecastles; structural means to reduce loads on hatch covers and
forward structure; and fore deck and fore end access.
study on bulk carrier safety
Committee will also review progress in carrying out a formal safety assessment
(FSA) study of bulk carriers, to aid future IMO decision-making on bulk carrier
safety. At its last session the MSC agreed to a framework setting out project
objectives, scope and application, namely:
is described as a rational and systematic process for assessing the risks associated
with any sphere of activity, and for evaluating the costs and benefits of different
options for reducing those risks. It therefore enables, in its potential application
to the rule making process, an objective assessment to be made of the need for,
and content of, safety regulations.
consists of five steps: identification of hazards (a list of all relevant accident
scenarios with potential causes and outcomes); assessment of risks (evaluation
of risk factors); risk control options (devising regulatory measures to control
and reduce the identified risks); cost benefit assessment (determining cost
effectiveness of each risk control option); and recommendations for decision-making
(information about the hazards, their associated risks and the cost effectiveness
of alternative risk control options is provided).
The United Kingdom
is co-ordinating the FSA study, which is expected to take two years.
2000 High Speed Craft Code
MSC will consider the draft International Code of Safety for high-speed craft,
2000 (2000 HSC Code). If approved, it is expected that the text will be circulated
and the Code will then be adopted at the next meeting in November-December.
The existing Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft was adopted in 1992, as part
of Chapter X of SOLAS. This entered into force in 1996 but the technology of
HSC is evolving so rapidly that the Code has been extensively revised.
landing area regulation to apply to ro-ro passenger ships only
MSC will consider adopting an amendment to SOLAS Chapter III, regulation 28.2
for helicopter landing areas to require a helicopter landing area only for
ro-ro passenger ships.
current regulation requires helicopter landing areas to be fitted to passenger
ships of 130 metres in length and upwards constructed on or after 1 July 1999
but the Committee agreed at its last session this should apply to ro-ro passenger
decision to review the existing requirement was made at the 70th session following
trial applications of Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) to the requirement.
original requirement was part of a package of amendments to SOLAS adopted in
November 1995, based on proposals put forward by a Panel of Experts set up by
IMO in December 1994 following the Ro-ro ferry Estonia disaster
of September 1994 in which more than 850 people were killed.
28.1 of SOLAS Chapter III requires all ro-ro passenger ships to be provided
with a helicopter pick-up area and existing ro-ro passenger ships were required
to comply with this regulation not later than the first periodical survey after
1 July 1997. But the requirement for a helicopter landing area for all passenger
ships of 130 metres in length and upwards was deferred to 1 July 1999.
Committee approved a Circular recommending that non ro-ro passenger ships of
130 m in length and upwards constructed on or after 1 July 1999 need not
be fitted with helicopter landing areas, and this should not constitute a reason
for detaining or delaying the ship - since there is a delay between the regulation
coming into effect for new ships and the adoption of the amendment making it
applicable to ro-ro passenger ships only.
and armed robbery against ships - review of proposed code
MSC will review a preliminary draft text of an instrument for the investigation
and prosecution of the crime of piracy and armed robbery against ships, prepared
by a Correspondence Group.
idea for such a code was developed during 1998-1999 at a series of expert missions
and seminars and workshops around the world organized by IMO.
at the seminars already held have recommended that Governments need to intensify
their efforts to combat piracy and armed robbery against ships and IMO should
consider developing an international code for the investigation of piracy and
armed robbery against ships and recommending an appropriate punishment for the
30 to IMDG Code
Committee will consider for adoption amendment 30 to the International Maritime
Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.
Joint MSC/Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) Working Group on the
Human Element is expected to meet during the session.
will look at developing guidance on dealing with fatigue, in particular in implementing
existing regulations, which address the problem of fatigue and its contribution
decision follows work on fatigue by the Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on the
Human Element and a Correspondence Group on fatigue. The Correspondence Group
has been given the task of developing guidance for all concerned, taking into
consideration existing related regulations, such as STCW regulations concerning
minimum rest periods, and International labour Organization (ILO) Convention
180 which provides requirements for maximum work or minimum rest hours.
The Group will also take into consideration the results of investigations into
fatigue presented to IMO and any relevant national work/rest rule requirements.
has been recognized around the world as a contributor to many accidents involving
means of transport. There have been many incidences where fatigue has been suspected
of contributing to or causing transportation and industrial accidents; however,
that connection was difficult to justify because the vital links between the
unsafe acts and the decisions which led to the accidents were not made.
reasons for not making the links have varied. At one time, fatigue was discounted
as a potential cause of human error; indeed, a common myth existed that fatigue
could be prevented by characteristics of personality, intelligence, education,
training, skill, compensation, motivation, physical size, strength, attractiveness,
or professionalism. Also, the lack of scientifically accepted information on
how fatigue affects not only mood and feelings, but individual and team performance
as well constrained investigators and analysts. Further guidance on how to investigate
for fatigue and build the links between a person's recent history and potential
impairment has been lacking. Unlike alcohol and drugs which can be measured
by, for example, blood tests, there is no unequivocal physical or chemical test
which can tell whether a person was impaired to a certain extent by fatigue.
amendments to the STCW Convention - implementation
Committee will review progress in implementing the 1995 amendments to the STCW
Convention, which require Parties to the Convention to communicate to IMO information
on compliance with the 1995 amendments. The information is being reviewed by
panels of competent persons, who will report on their findings to the IMO Secretary-General,
who will, in turn, report to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) on the Parties
which fully comply.
the 1 August 1998 deadline, 82 out of the 133 STCW Parties had communicated
information on compliance with the requirements of the revised Convention. The
82 Parties which met the deadline represent well over 90% of the world's
ships and seafarers.
Committee decided at its 69th session in 1998 that the Secretary-General's report
to the Committee will not be submitted until after all the information communicated
by Parties received by 1 August 1998 has been evaluated by the competent
for non-SOLAS Convention ships
Over the last few
years there have been numerous accidents involving ships that are not covered
by SOLAS and other IMO conventions, usually because the ships do not operate
on international voyages. Although IMO has given some assistance to Governments
in developing measures to improve the safety of such ships, more needs to be
done and the Secretary-General has requested the Committee to consider this