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Skip Navigation LinksMSC-101-preview Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 101) 5-14 June

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Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 101st session – Media information


MSC 101

 Accreditation and media access

Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 101st session, 5-14 June 2019

Media wishing to attend plenary sessions but who do not have current and valid IMO media accreditation must download and complete the media accreditation form and return it to media @ with a letter of assignment. Any media attending the Committee will be required to show a valid form of ID.

Plenary sessions only are open to accredited media.  

Already accredited? - If already accredited (and in possession of an IMO media pass) please email media @ if you plan to attend. Your existing pass will be activated. 
Agenda and timetable 

Please email media @ for provisional agenda and timetable, including presentations list.


Publicly available MSC documents may be accessed via IMODOCS


Morning, 09.30-12.30 (break: 11:00-11:30); afternoon, 14.30-17:30 (break 16:00-16:30)
Final report and working group reports are expected to be approved on Thursday 13 or  Friday 14 June.

Working groups:

The following working/drafting groups (meeting in closed session) are expected to be established:

  • ·Working Group on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS).
  • Working Group on Goal-based New Ship Construction Standards.
  • Working Group on Measures to Enhance the Safety of Ships Relating to the Use of Fuel Oil.
  • Drafting Group on Amendments to Mandatory Instruments.

 MSC 101 Highlights

  1. Adoption of amendments
  2. Regulatory scoping exercise on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships
  3. Goal-based standards and safety level approach
  4. Safety of ships in polar waters
  5. Development of further measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of fuel oil
  6. E-navigation 
  7. Domestic ferry safety
  8. Approval/adoption of other draft amendments, guidance and guidelines

 Adoption of amendments

The MSC is expected to consider, for adoption, proposed amendments to the SOLAS Convention and to mandatory codes:

  • Draft amendments to the appendix to SOLAS, to the record of equipment, relating to rudder, propeller, thrust, pitch and operational mode indicator.
  • Draft amendments to the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code), relating to inert gas systems. 
  • Draft amendments to the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), including those relating to regulations on loading limit for liquefied gas fuel tanks, regulations for fuel distribution outside of machinery space, regulations for internal combustion engines of piston type and fire protection for fuel storage hold space; and amendments relating to the protection of the fuel supply for liquefied gas fuel tanks, aimed at preventing explosions. 
  • Draft amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliances Code (LSA Code), relating to general requirements for lifeboats and launching and embarkation appliances.  
  • A comprehensive set of draft amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), representing including the revised chapters 17 (Summary of minimum requirements), 18 (List of products to which the code does not apply), 19 (Index of Products Carried in Bulk) and 21 (Criteria for assigning carriage requirements for products subject to the IBC Code). Consequential amendments to the Code for the construction and equipment of ships carrying dangerous chemicals in bulk (BCH Code) are also set to be adopted. 
  • The draft consolidated edition of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), incorporating amendment 05-19. The 2019 amendments include updates to various schedules, such as new individual schedule for BAUXITE FINES as a Group A cargo, as well as editorial amendments. The amendments are incorporated into a consolidated IMSBC Code, to include all amendments to date, since the IMSBC Code was first adopted in 2008.    

 Regulatory scoping exercise on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships

The MSC will be updated on progress with the scoping exercise to look at how the safe, secure and environmentally sound operation of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) may be introduced in IMO instruments.

The Committee is also expected to consider proposals related to the development of interim guidelines for MASS trials. Provisional principles for the development of such guidelines were discussed during the last session, including ensuring that such guidelines should be generic and goal-based, and taking a precautionary approach to ensuring the safe, secure and environmentally sound operation of MASS.

A working group on MASS is expected to be established during the session. 

 Goal-based standards and safety level approach

Since IMO adopted the Goal-based ship construction standards for bulkers and oil tankers (GBS) in 2010, a total 13 Recognized Organizations have undergone successful initial verification of compliance by IMO GBS audit teams.

The MSC will receive the latest status update in relation to verification audits.

The MSC will consider proposals to amend the Generic guidelines for developing IMO goal‑based standards (MSC.1/ Circ.1394/Rev.1). This follows experience gained by the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) in applying the Generic Guidelines for the development of draft goals and functional requirements for onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches.

A GBS Working Group is expected to be established.  

 Safety of ships in polar waters

The MSC is expected to approve draft guidance for navigation and communication equipment intended for use on ships operating in polar waters. The guidance includes recommendations on temperature and mechanical shock testing, and on how to address ice accretion and battery performance in cold temperatures.

This is expected to be an important tool in support of the implementation of the mandatory Polar Code. IMO's Polar Code helps ensure that ships operating in the harsh Arctic and Antarctic areas take into account extremes of temperature and that critical equipment remains operational under those conditions.

The Committee will also further consider how to move forward with developing requirements for ships operating in polar waters but not currently covered by the Polar Code.

A proposed draft Assembly resolution urging Member States to take steps, on a voluntary basis, to implement safety measures of the Polar Code on non-SOLAS ships will be considered by the MSC. If agreed, it could go forward to the IMO Assembly in late 2019 for adoption. 

The Polar Code is mandatory for certain ships under the SOLAS and MARPOL Conventions. SOLAS Chapter V (safety of navigation) applies to all ships (with some specific exceptions). Otherwise, SOLAS does not apply to some categories of ships, including cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage; pleasure yachts not engaged in trade; and fishing vessels (sometimes termed "non-SOLAS ships"). 

 Fuel oil and the safety of ships

The Committee will be invited to consider submissions under the agenda item "Development of further measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of fuel oil". 

This concerns, in particular, the potential need for guidance and advice on possible safety issues relating to the implementation of the 0.50% limit of the sulphur content of fuel oil (outside emission control areas).

The 0.50% limit (reduced from 3.50% currently) on the sulphur content of  ships' fuel oil, in force from 1 January 2020 under IMO's MARPOL treaty, will greatly benefit the environment and human health.

The MSC is expected to concurrently approve a draft MSC-MEPC circular on delivery of compliant fuel oil by suppliers, already approved by MEPC 74. The draft circular advises that Members States should urge fuel oil suppliers to take into account, as relevant: MEPC.1/Circ.875 Guidance on best practice for fuel oil purchasers/users for assuring the quality of fuel oil used on board ships; and MEPC.1/Circ.875/Add.1 Guidance on best practice for fuel oil suppliers for assuring the quality of fuel oil delivered to ships.

The MSC will consider further measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to use of fuel oil, including possible enhancement of the SOLAS regulation relating to flashpoint.

Regulation 4.2.1 of SOLAS chapter II-2 includes fuel oil safety provisions related specifically to the minimum flash point requirement for marine fuel oil. Regulation 18 of MARPOL Annex VI covers fuel oil quality and specifies requirements for fuel oil delivered to and used on board ships (for example, the fuel should not contain added substances that jeopardize the safety of ships).

 Piracy and armed robbery against ships

The MSC will consider the latest figures on piracy and armed robbery against ships based on reports received by IMO.   

In 2018, 223 incidents occurred worldwide as compared to 204 incidents reported in 2017, an increase of about 9% at the global level. So far in 2019, incidents in West and Central African waters have accounted for about half of all reported incidents.

The MSC is expected to consider the efforts made by Member States, industry, and other stakeholders to address this problem, and what more action may be needed. 

 E-navigation progress

The MSC is expected to approve a number of circulars related to the development of e-navigation. E-navigation is defined as "the harmonized collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information on board and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment". An updated IMO e-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP) was approved by MSC 99 in May 2018 (MSC.1/Circ.1595). 

The MSC is expected to approve:

  • Draft MSC circular on Guidelines for the standardization of user interface design for navigation equipment. The aim is to promote improved standardization of the user interface and information used by seafarers to monitor, manage and perform navigational tasks will enhance situation awareness and improve safety of navigation. The guidelines, including icons, apply to Integrated Navigation Systems (INS), Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and Radar equipment, and they may be applied to other electronic navigation equipment where applicable, improving standardization and usability.
  • Draft amendments to the Performance standards for the presentation of navigation-related information on shipborne navigational displays (resolution MSC.191(79)), including implementation dates, for radar equipment, electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) and integrated navigation systems (INS). The implementation date of the revised standard should be 1 January 2024; and for all other navigational displays on the bridge of a ship 1 July 2025.
  • Draft SN.1/Circ.243/Rev.2 to update the Guidelines for the presentation of navigational-related symbols, terms and abbreviations, which provide guidance on the appropriate use of navigation-related symbols to achieve a harmonized and consistent presentation.
  • Draft MSC resolution on Guidance on the definition and harmonization of the format and structure of Maritime Services in the context of e navigation. The purpose of the guidance is to ensure that Maritime Services are implemented internationally in a standardized and harmonized format. All Maritime Services should be conformant with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) S-100 framework standard, which specifies the method for data modelling and developing product specifications.
  • Draft MSC circular on Initial descriptions of maritime services in the context of e-navigation. The circular includes what is intended to be the first draft of Maritime Service descriptions and is an initial contribution for the harmonization of their format and structure. The Initial descriptions are expected to be periodically updated, taking into account developments and related work on harmonization.

 Domestic ferry safety

The MSC will be invited to consider including a new item on measures to improve domestic ferry safety on its agenda for the next session. 

In this connection, the MSC will be invited to consider a strategy for dealing with matters pertaining to domestic ferry safety and a plan of work. This could include:

  • As an initial step, consulting with stakeholders to collate best practices and tested and tried domestic legislation in order to contribute to safer domestic ferry operations; 
  • Developing model regulations on domestic ferry safety;
  • Developing online training material on domestic ferry safety;
  • Strengthening the national capacity of some countries to incorporate of legislation into national law, through technical assistance activities.

 Approval of other draft amendments, guidance and guidelines

The MSC is expected to:

  • Adopt draft amendments to the Safety Certificate and the Record of Equipment for the Special Purpose Ship Safety Certificate of the SPS Code. 
  • Adopt draft amendments to the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (BCH Code), to update in line with corresponding amendments to the IBC Code.
  • Adopt draft amendments to the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections During Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers (ESP Code), to update the  2011 ESP Code.
  • Approve draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 on onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches. The draft regulation II-1/3-13 covers requirements for the application, design and construction, operation, inspection, testing and maintenance of onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches. The rules are intended to help to prevent accidents and harm to operators and damage to ships, cargo, shore-based structures and subsea structures, as well as the marine environment.
  • Adopt draft performance standards for float-free emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) operating on 406 MHz, which are proposed to be applicable to float-free EPIRBs operating on the frequency 406 MHz installed on or after three years from the date of their adoption by MSC 101 in June 2019. The performance standards include, inter alia, requirements for EPIRBs to be provided with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) locating signal and consolidate type approval provisions.
  • Adopt new traffic separation schemes (TSSs) and associated routeing measures and of precautionary areas with recommended directions of traffic flow in the Sunda and Lombok Straits, Indonesia, to minimize the risk of collision between ships and grounding. 
  • Adopt draft amendments to the Recommendations on navigation through the English Channel and the Dover Strait (resolution A.475(XII), related to the termination of the voluntary movement ship reporting system MAREP. 
  • Approve a Procedure for the submission of documents containing proposals for the establishment of, or amendments to, ships' routeing systems or ship reporting systems. 
  • Approve draft amendments to update the Guidelines on annual testing of voyage data recorders (VDR) and simplified voyage data recorders (S-VDR) (MSC.1/Circ.1222), clarifying the examination of float-free capsules approved in accordance with resolution MSC.333(90).
  • Approve, in relation to the Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) of ships,  plan and procedures for the third modification testing phase of the LRIT system, and for the renewal of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates in 2019; draft amendments to on Continuity of service plan for the LRIT system (MSC.1/Circ.1376/Rev.3) and on LRIT system – Technical documentation (Part I) (MSC.1/Circ.1259/Rev.7); and draft revision of the Principles and guidelines relating to the review and audit of the performance of LRIT Data Centres and the International LRIT Data Exchange. (MSC.1/Circ.1412/Rev.1).
  • Approve draft liaison statements to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on maritime radio communication issues and approve the draft IMO position on maritime radiocommunication matters for submission to the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), to be held in November 2019. 
  • Approve an updated SAR.7 circular on List of documents and publications which should be held by a Maritime or Joint Rescue Coordination Centre.
  • Approve draft amendments to Maritime Safety Information (MSI)-related instruments to accommodate amendments to SOLAS adopted in 2018 (entering into force on 1January 2020) provide for new mobile satellite services recognized by IMO to be used in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), and allow the broadcast of MSI to a defined geographical area through those newly recognized services, in addition to the existing Inmarsat services., to be effective from 1 January 2020.  (MSI includes navigational and meteorological warnings, meteorological forecasts and other urgent safety-related messages broadcast to ships). The draft amendments relate to, International SafetyNET Manual (MSC.1/Circ.1364/Rev.1), Promulgation of maritime safety information (resolution A.705(17), as amended), World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (resolution A.706(17), as amended), IMO/WMO Worldwide Met-Ocean Information and Warning Service guidance document (resolution A.1051(27)).
  • Consider a draft Iridium SafetyCast service manual and note information provided by IMSO in relation to the implementation of the recognized maritime mobile satellite services provided by Iridium Satellite LLC.