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Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 97th session, 21-25 November 2016


Adoption of amendments
The MSC adopted:

• Amendments to SOLAS, including amendments to regulation II-1/3-12 on protection against noise, regulations II-2/1 and II-2/10 on firefighting and new regulation XI-1/2-1 on harmonization of survey periods of cargo ships not subject to the ESP Code. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020.

• Amendments to the 2008 International code on Intact Stability (IS Code), relating to ships engaged in anchor handling operations and to ships engaged in lifting and towing operations, including escort towing. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020.

• Amendments to the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code), clarifying the distribution of crew in public spaces for the calculation of stairways width. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020.

• Amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code), aligning the wheelhouse window fire-rating requirements in the IGC Code with those in SOLAS chapter II-2. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020.

• Amendments to the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (2011 ESP Code). The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2018.

• Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and its related STCW Code, to include new mandatory minimum training requirements for masters and deck officers on ships operating in Polar Waters; and an extension of emergency training for personnel on passenger ships. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2018.

Interim recommendations on the safe carriage of industrial personnel adopted
The MSC adopted Interim Recommendations on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages. 

Governments are invited to apply the Interim Recommendations, pending the planned development of the new chapter of SOLAS and the draft new code addressing the carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages. The new SOLAS chapter and code will be developed under coordination by the Sub Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC).

The Interim Recommendations are aimed at addressing the safe and efficient transfer of technicians at sea, such as those working in the growing offshore alternative energy sector.

The Interim Recommendations define industrial personnel as all persons who are transported or accommodated on board for the purpose of offshore industrial activities performed on board other vessels and/or other offshore facilities and says they should not be considered as passengers within the meaning of SOLAS regulation I/2(e). Safety training and familiarization with safety procedures should be delivered to these personnel. 

Offshore industrial activities covered by the Interim Recommendations would include the construction, maintenance, operation or servicing of offshore facilities related, but not limited, to exploration, the renewable or hydrocarbon energy sectors, aquaculture, ocean mining or similar activities.

Interim recommendations for carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk adopted
The MSC adopted Interim recommendations for carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk, which have been developed as the International Gas Carrier (IGC) Code does not specify requirements for the carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk.

The recommendations are based on the results of a comparison study of similar cargoes listed in the IGC Code, e.g. liquefied natural gas and are intended to facilitate the establishment of a tripartite agreement for a pilot ship that will be developed for the research and demonstration of safe long-distance overseas carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk.

The interim recommendations contain general requirements and special requirements for the carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk by ship, such as the provision of portable hydrogen detector for each crew member working in the cargo area; selection of fire detectors for detecting hydrogen fire; and appropriate safety measures to prevent formation of an explosive mixture in the case of a leakage of hydrogen.

Addressing cargoes which may liquefy
The MSC approved draft amendments to paragraphs 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) to emphasise the responsibility of the shipper for ensuring that a test to determine the transportable moisture limit (TML) of a solid bulk cargo as well as sampling and testing for moisture content are conducted. The draft amendments will be put forward for subsequent adoption by MSC 98 together with the next set of draft amendments to the IMSBC Code, set to be adopted in 2017 with entry into force in 2020. 

Goal-based standards 
The MSC further developed proposed amendments to revise and update the GBS Verification Guidelines, based on the experience gained during the initial verification audits. The revisions, to be further considered at the next session, include additional and revised paragraphs relating to issues such as the insertion of an application date for any revised version of the Guidelines or submitting corrective action plans to address any findings reported by the GBS Audit Teams. Guidelines on common submissions by groups of submitters and the inclusion of an ongoing review of the rules are also proposed to be included. A revised timetable and schedule of activities for the implementation of the GBS verification scheme was also agreed, to include a 31 December 2017 deadline for the receipt of rule change information and request for new initial verification audits, if any.

At its last session, 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.

Navigation around offshore multiple structures
The MSC adopted, subject to subsequent confirmation by the IMO Assembly, amendments on a recommendation to Governments to take into account safety of navigation when multiple structures at sea, such as wind turbines, are being planned.

The amendment would add a new paragraph in the General provisions on ships' routeing (resolution A.572(14), as amended) on establishing multiple structures at sea.
It recommends that Governments should take into account, as far as practicable, the impact multiple structures at sea, including but not limited to wind turbines, could have on the safety of navigation, including any radar interference.

Traffic density and prognoses, the presence or establishment of routeing measures in the area, and the manoeuvrability of ships and their obligations under the 1972 Collision Regulations should be considered when planning to establish multiple structures at sea.
Sufficient manoeuvring space extending beyond the side borders of traffic separation schemes should be provided to allow evasive manoeuvres and contingency planning by ships making use of routeing measures in the vicinity of multiple structure areas.

Updated SafetyNET and NAVTEX manuals
The MSC approved amendments to update the International SafetyNET and the NAVTEX Manuals. 

SafetyNET is the international automatic direct-printing satellite-based service for the promulgation of Maritime Safety Information (MSI), navigational and meteorological warnings, meteorological forecasts and other urgent safety-related messages to ships, as well as search and rescue (SAR) information.

NAVTEX provides coastal shipping, via terrestrial means, with similar messages above by automatic display or printout from a dedicated receiver.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) have contributed to the updating of the manuals, which will be issued as MSC circulars, replacing versions issued in 2010 and 2011.

STCW Manila 2010 – transitional arrangements clarified
The MSC noted that the transitional arrangements for implementation of the 2010 Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Code end on 1 January 2017. However, there was concern that some Parties may not be in a position to issue STCW certificates in accordance with the requirements of the Convention by 1 January 2017. It was agreed that a practical and pragmatic approach should be taken during inspections, for a period of six months (i.e. until 1 July 2017), to allow flexibility in cases where seafarers are unable to provide certificates that were issued in compliance with the 2010 Manila Amendments.

The MSC agreed to issue a circular on Advice for Parties, Administrations, port State control authorities and recognized organizations on action to be taken in cases where not all seafarers carry certificates and endorsements meeting the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and Code from 1 January 2017.

Navigational warnings – circular issued
The MSC approved a circular expressing grave concern over the reported launch of missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea without due warnings. The circular urges all Members to attach the greatest importance to the safety of navigation and avoid taking any action which might adversely affect shipping engaged in international trade; and to comply with the requirements to issue relevant navigational warnings as set out in SOLAS and the World Wide Navigational Warning Service.