Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 98th session
When and where?
7-16 June 2017, at IMO Headquarters in London.
Adoption of amendments
The MSC is expected to adopt the following amendments:
• A set of draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1, relating to subdivision and damage stability. This has followed a substantive review of SOLAS chapter II-1, focusing in particular on passenger ships. Also up for adoption are the draft Revised Explanatory Notes to SOLAS chapter II-1 subdivision and damage stability regulations. The MSC is also expected to approve revised guidance for watertight doors on passenger ships which may be opened during navigation.
• Draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/3.56, relating to the definition of vehicle carrier and draft new SOLAS regulation II-2/20.2 on fire safety requirements for cargo spaces containing vehicles with fuel in their tanks for their own propulsion, specifically vehicles which do not use their own propulsion within the cargo space..
• Draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/188.8.131.52 to clarify the requirements for fire integrity of windows on passenger ships carrying not more than 36 passengers and on special purpose ships with more than 60 (but no more than 240) persons on board.
• Draft amendments to SOLAS regulations III/1.4, III/30 and III/37 on damage control drills for passenger ships, to require damage control drills to take place on all passenger ships from 2020.
• The next set of draft amendments (04-17) to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), to update requirements for a number of cargoes. The draft amendments also include those relating to paragraphs 4.5.1 and 4.5.2, highlighting the responsibility of the shipper for ensuring that a test to determine the transportable moisture limit (TML) of a solid bulk cargo is conducted. Also included are draft amendments related to substances which are harmful to marine environment, to require the shipper to declare whether or not a solid bulk cargo, other than grain, is harmful to the marine environment.
• Draft amendments to the 1994 and 2000 High-Speed Craft (HSC) Codes, to exempt certain smaller vessels from the requirement to carry a rescue boat, provided minimum requirements for carrying survival craft are met and provided a person can be rescued from the water in a horizontal or near horizontal body position.
• Draft amendments to the International Life-saving Appliances (LSA) Code, chapter VI, section 6.1 relating to the static tests and their proof loads that launching appliances have to withstand. Also related draft amendments to the Revised Recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances (resolution MSC.81(70)).
• Draft amendments to the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units, 2009 (2009 MODU Code) to update and amend the 2009 MODU Code, taking into account recommendations arising from the investigation into the explosion, fire and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, in April 2010. Key revisions concern machinery and electrical installations in hazardous areas, fire safety, and life-saving appliances and equipment.
Adoption of ships routeing systems
The MSC is expected to adopt a number of new and amended ships' routeing measures.
They include the establishment of a new area to be avoided (ABTA) as an associated protective measure for the "Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) in the Sulu Sea" (the Philippines). The ABTA is linked to the proposed PSSA, which was approved in principle in 2016 and is expected to be formally designated by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71) in July.
The MSC is expected to adopt or approve a number of new and revised performance standards and guidelines related to operational safety, including those to implement the e-navigation strategy. These include draft amendments to the revised ruidelines and criteria for ship reporting systems (resolution MSC.43(64)), addressing mandatory ship reporting systems established in accordance with SOLAS regulation V/11. The revisions update the resolution and encourage the use and recognition of automated electronic means of ship reporting.
In 2016, the MSC confirmed that ship construction rules for oil tankers and bulk carriers submitted by 12 classification societies conform to the goals and functional requirements set by the Organization for new oil tankers and bulk carriers set out in the International goal-based ship construction standards for bulk carriers and oil tankers (resolution MSC.287(87)) which were adopted in 2010.
The MSC is expected to consider revisions to the Guidelines for Verification of Conformity with Goal-Based Ship Construction Standards, based on the experience gained during the initial verification audits.
The MSC will also consider the GBS non-conformities verification audit report, which relates to rectification of non-conformities stemming from the initial verification audit.
Development of functional requirements of SOLAS chapter III
The MSC will review the progress made by the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) in developing draft functional requirements and the draft expected performance for each functional requirement, for SOLAS chapter III on life-saving appliances and arrangements. The Committee is expected to consider the next steps in the process of developing the functional requirements and their related expected performance, for SOLAS chapter III.
Scoping exercise proposed on autonomous vessels
The MSC will be invited to consider proposals for the Committee to undertake a regulatory scoping exercise to determine how the safe, secure and environmentally sound operation of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) may be introduced in IMO instruments.
Cyber risk management
The MSC will discuss issues relating to cyber security and is expected to approve a joint MSC-FAL circular on Guidelines on maritime cyber risk management, based on the interim guidelines on guidelines on maritime cyber risk management (MSC.1/Circ.1526), following the recent approval of the circular by the Facilitation Committee.
GMDSS modernization plan
The MSC is expected to approve the draft Modernization Plan of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), prepared by the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR). The plan envisages the development of amendments to SOLAS and related instruments for approval in 2021 and their adoption in 2022, with entry into force in 2024.
Approval of guidance and guidelines
The MSC is expected to:
• Approve draft guidelines on safety during abandon ship drills using lifeboats and draft amendments to update the Guidelines for developing operation and maintenance manuals for lifeboat systems (MSC.1/Circ.1205). Both sets of guidelines have been reviewed following the adoption at MSC 96 of the requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear (resolution MSC.402(96)) and the related SOLAS amendments which make them mandatory. The package of requirements, expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020, aim to prevent accidents with survival craft and addresses longstanding issues such as the need for a uniform, safe and documented standard related to the servicing of these appliances, as well as the authorization, qualification and certification requirements to ensure that a reliable service is provided.
• Approve draft MSC Circular on amendments to MSC.1/Circ.1503 on ECDIS - Guidance for good practice.
• Approve draft Guidelines for port State control officers on certification of seafarers, hours of rest and manning and refer it to the Sub-committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III 4) for inclusion in the ongoing work on the revision of resolution A.1052(27) on Procedures for port State control, 2011.
• Approve draft guidelines for vessels and units with dynamic positioning (DP) systems. The draft guidelines, generally applicable to new vessels and units with dynamic positioning systems, have been developed to current industry practice and DP technologies, since the previous set of guidelines was issued in 1994 (Guidelines for vessels with dynamic positioning (DP) systems (MSC/Circ.645)). Compliance with the new Guidelines would be documented by means of a Dynamic Positioning Verification Acceptance Document (DPVAD) for the dynamic positioning system.
• Approve draft escape route signs and equipment location markings, together with the associated draft Assembly resolution, with a view to subsequent adoption by the IMO Assembly. The symbols reflect the international standard ISO 24409 2:2014.
Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 98th session, 7-16 June 2017
All 172 IMO Member States and three Associate Members may attend. Intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations with consultative status are also invited. Media may attend plenary sessions but working group sessions are closed.
Accreditation and media access
- Any media attending the Committee will be required to show a valid form of ID.
- Plenary sessions are open to accredited media.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with a letter of assignment.
If already accredited (and in possession of an IMO media pass) please email email@example.com if you wish to attend. Your existing pass will be activated.
Agenda and timetable
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for agenda and timetable.
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 Friday 16 June.