Goal-based standards under review at IMO's Maritime Safety Committee

Preview: Maritime Safety Committee - 79th session: 1-10 December 2004


Goal-based standards under review at IMO's Maritime Safety Committee
The development of goal-based standards for new ship construction will be high on the agenda when IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meets at the Organization's London Headquarters for its 79th session from 1 to 10 December 2004.

Other important issues on the MSC agenda include large passenger ship safety and implementation of the maritime security measures adopted by IMO. The agenda also includes the adoption of amendments to the SOLAS Convention1,including a revised chapter on bulk carrier safety, amendments to make mandatory the carriage of simplified voyage data recorders on existing cargo ships and the introduction of a unique company identification scheme. The MSC is also expected to adopt a number of ships' routeing measures and the proposed Western European waters mandatory ship reporting scheme.

Goal-based construction standards for new ships
In order to facilitate the debate on goal-based new ship construction standards, the MSC Chairman has invited submissions on ten potential subjects. These include whether or not goal-based standards should set prescriptive requirements or describe specific solutions, or prescribe high-level goals of safety and pollution prevention; whether the goal-based standards approach should be extended to other areas (e.g. machinery and electrical systems, lifesaving appliances, fire safety, etc.) so that the same goal-setting regime covers the entire ship; how to verify compliance with goal-based standards during the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships and whether IMO should do this, and if so, how. In response, 19 countries and three international organizations have between them submitted 26 documents for consideration, illustrating the importance IMO Members attach to the issue.

The MSC is expected to establish a Working Group to consider the documents submitted to work towards developing a clearly defined goal-based regulatory framework for ship construction, the details of which will then need to be further developed and enhanced over subsequent MSC sessions. Special attention will be given to the role of classification societies in their implementation.

Maritime security
The MSC is expected to re-establish the Working Group on Maritime Security to consider issues relating to the implementation of the special measures to enhance maritime security which were adopted by the Organization in 2002 and entered into force on 1 July 2004.

Topics for discussion are expected to include: the possible development of a checklist for conducting port facility security self-assessments; a standardized data-set of security-related information that ships could be expected to provide in advance of their arrival in port; false security alerts and distress/security double alerts; long-range identification and tracking; sharing of information on maritime security and concerns over the publishing of data generated by Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).

Large passenger ship safety
The MSC is expected to re-establish the Working Group on Large Passenger Ship Safety to progress the work on this subject. Topics for discussion include a review of the work programme, the definition of the term "large passenger ship" and the development of "time to recover" criteria.

Bulk carrier safety
The MSC will consider, with a view to adoption, a draft amended SOLAS chapter XII (Additional safety measures for bulk carriers), incorporating revisions to some regulations and new requirements relating to double-side skin bulk carriers.

The draft amendments include the addition of a new regulation 14 on restrictions from sailing with any hold empty and requirements for double-side skin construction as an optional alternative to single-side skin construction. If adopted, 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.

The MSC is also expected to adopt standards and criteria for side structures of bulk carriers of single-side skin construction and standards for owners' inspections and maintenance of bulk carrier hatch covers.

Free-fall lifeboats on bulk carriers
The MSC is expected to adopt 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.

Simplified Voyage Data Recorders - SOLAS amendments
The MSC will consider, with a view to adoption, draft amendments to regulation 20 of SOLAS chapter V (Safety of Navigation) on a phased-in carriage requirement for a shipborne simplified voyage data recorder (S-VDR).

The draft regulation requires a VDR, which may be an S-VDR, to be fitted on existing cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards, phasing in the requirement on cargo ships of 20,000 gross tonnage and upwards first, to be followed by cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards.

The S-VDR is not required to store the same level of detailed data as a standard VDR, but nonetheless should maintain a store, in a secure and retrievable form, of information concerning the position, movement, physical status, command and control of a vessel over the period leading up to and following an incident.

IMO unique company and registered owners identification number scheme
The MSC will consider, with a view to adoption, draft amendments to SOLAS chapter XI-1 (Special measures to enhance maritime safety) to add a new Regulation 3-1 Company and registered owner identification number which will require companies and registered owners of seagoing ships of 100 gross tonnage and upwards to be provided with a unique identification number to be inserted on certificates, documents and the continuous synopsis record.

The MSC will also consider for adoption consequential amendments to the ISM and ISPS Codes to add the unique company identification number and registered owner's unique identification number in the Document of Compliance, the Safety Management Certificate, Interim Document of Compliance and the Interim Safety Management Certificate, International Ship Security Certificate and the Interim International Ship Security Certificate.

New mandatory ship reporting system (WETREP) in the Western European Waters PSSA
The MSC will consider with a view to adoption the establishment of a new mandatory ship reporting system (WETREP) as an associated protective measure (APM) in the Western European Waters PSSA. The Western European Waters PSSA was designated by the MEPC at its 52nd session in October 2004.

Implementation 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, will be updated when IMO Secretary-General Mitropoulos submits his report on those countries whose evaluations have been completed since the previous MSC meeting.

Survey certificates
The MSC will consider for adoption an amendment to the form of certificate contained in the relevant Conventions, Protocols, mandatory Codes and non-mandatory Codes and guidelines to add the words "Completion date of the survey on which this certificate is based" in order to clarify, for control purposed, the date of the last survey.

Port State control
The Committee will review issues relating to port State control, including the recommendations of the second and third IMO Workshops for Port State control MoU (Agreement) Secretaries and Directors of Information Centres. The recommendations include establishing interregional information exchange and harmonizing the coding systems used across the MoUs/Agreements.

Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents
The Committee is expected to consider a proposal to revise the Code for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents (resolution A.849(20) as amended by resolution A.884(21)). The aim would be to redraft and reformat the Code to make it more effective as a tool for the conduct of investigations. A proposal to look at ways to make the Code mandatory under SOLAS will also be discussed.

Other amendments for adoption
The MSC will also consider the following draft amendments for adoption:

  - SOLAS chapter II-1 regulation 18 Construction and initial tests of watertight doors, sidescuttles, etc., in passenger ships and cargo ships to allow testing of watertight doors with a prototype pressure test in certain circumstances. Also regulation 45 - Precautions against shock, fire and other hazards of electrical origin to replace paragraph 10 and add a new paragraph 11 in order to control the installation of electrical equipment in spaces where flammable mixtures are likely to collect and in hazardous locations on tankers.
  - SOLAS chapter V regulation 19 Carriage requirements for shipborne navigational systems and equipment to add the words "being clearly readable by the helmsman at the main steering position" in paragraph 2.5 relating to carriage of a gyro compass, or other means to determine and display heading by shipborne non-magnetic means.
  - SOLAS chapter VII regulation 10 to delete the superfluous words "For the purpose of this regulation, the requirements of the Code shall be treated as mandatory."
  - SOLAS chapter V - addition of Simplified voyage data recorder (S-VDR) to the Record of Equipment for the Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate (Form E).
  - International Code for Application of Fire Test Procedures (FTP Code) in Part 2 - Smoke and toxicity test - the addition of "(200 ppm for floor coverings)" in the table of limits in 2.6 Classification criteria, 2.6.2 Toxicity.
  - International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 2000 (2000 HSC Code) relating to buoyant spaces in Chapter 2 - Buoyancy, stability and subdivision.
  - International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code).
  - International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) - to reflect the draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 Regulation 45 - Precautions against shock, fire and other hazards of electrical origin.
  - STCW Code - amendments to Table A-VI/2-1 - Specifications of minimum standards of competence in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats.

Adoption of ships' routeing measures
The MSC is expected to adopt the following ships' routeing measures:

New traffic separation schemes (TSSs)

  - Approaches to the Cape Fear river (United States)
  - Off Mina Al-Ahmadi (Kuwait)

 Amendments to existing TSSs

  - In Puget Sound and its approaches in Haro Strait, Boundary Pass and in the Strait of Georgia (Canada and the United States)
  - In the approaches to Chesapeake Bay (United States)
  -  Off Cape Roca and Off Cape S. Vicente (Portugal)
  -  In the approaches to Puerto San Martin (Peru)
  - Revocation of the TSS Off Berlengas (Portugal)

 Routeing measures other than TSSs

  - Establishment of a new Area to be Avoided and a mandatory No-Anchoring Area in the West Cameron Area of the Gulf of Mexico (United States)
  - Amendments to the Notes in the existing deep-water route in the southern approach to Chesapeake Bay (United States)
  -  Establishment of a new Area to be Avoided in the region of the Berlengas Islands (Portugal)

 Amendments to General Provisions on Ships' Routeing
The MSC will consider, with a view to adoption, subject to confirmation by the Assembly, amendments to the General Provisions on Ships' Routeing (resolution A.572(14), as amended). Amendments to Guidelines and Criteria for Ship Reporting Systems (resolution MSC.43(64), as amended by resolution MSC.111(73) will also be considered. The purpose is to standardize the use of WGS 84 datum for ships' routeing and ship reporting systems.

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1International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended.

29 November 2004

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Background
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.

The seventy-ninth session of the Maritime Safety Committee will be held from 1 to 10 December 2004 under the chairmanship of Mr. Tom Allan (United Kingdom).

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