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Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), 4th session, 20-24 March 2017

24/03/2017

Updated Code for Mobile Offshore Drilling Units agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed the revised and updated Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units, 2009 (2009 MODU Code) for submission to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for adoption. 

The revisions update and amend the 2009 MODU Code, taking into account recommendations arising from the investigation into the explosion, fire and sinking of the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) 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.

Functional requirements and expected performance for SOLAS chapter III agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft functional requirements for SOLAS chapter III and the draft expected performance for each functional requirement, for submission to MSC 98 for consideration. 

The MSC is expected to consider the next steps in further developing the draft functional requirements/performance, leading to a more quantifiable version of them.

The draft functional requirements include: 

1. All life-saving appliances shall be in a state of readiness
2. Provide familiarization with equipment and emergency procedures
3. Provide information and instructions to all persons on board depending on their assignment to life-saving equipment
4. Ensure readily available information is provided to personnel to enable effective management of an emergency
5. Provide means of external communications suitable to alert and guide ships and aircraft
6. Provide means for internal communication during the emergency
7. Provide means for alerting all persons on board as to the emergency
8. Provide means for safe abandonment for all embarking persons
9. Provide means for the safety and survivability of all persons after abandonment for the time until expected rescue
10. Provide ready access to survival systems for all persons
11. Provide means to enable survival in water until rescue
12. Provide active and passive means for detection of survival units and persons in the water by survival units and by rescue units
13. Provide means for search and rescue and assistance to other vessels

The “expected performance(s)” set out how to meet the functional requirement, for example, for the first functional requirement, expected performances include: easily accessible (e.g. not obstructed and not locked), safe operation, operable independently of ship's power supplies, etc. 

Guidelines on safety during abandon ship drills using lifeboats agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft guidelines on safety during abandon ship drills using lifeboats for submission to MSC 98 for approval.

The guidelines provide detailed information on safely carrying out drills using lifeboats and for simulated launching of free-fall lifeboats during drills, and are aimed at shipowners, ship operators, ship-vetting organizations, ship personnel, surveyors, manufacturers and other parties. The guidelines stem from annex 2 to the Measures to prevent accidents with lifeboats (MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev.1).

The Sub-Committee also agreed 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 and prepared as a result of the adoption 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. 

Guidelines for vessels and units with dynamic positioning systems agreed
The Sub-Committee endorsed draft guidelines for vessels and units with dynamic positioning systems, for submission to the MSc for approval. 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.

Graphical symbols updated
The Sub-Committee endorsed draft Escape route signs and equipment location markings with the associated draft Assembly resolution for submission to MSC 98 for approval. The symbols reflect the international standard ISO 24409 2:2014.

It was recognized that not all of the symbols in the Graphical symbols for shipboard fire control plans (resolution A.952(23)) were included in standard ISO 24409-2 and, therefore, resolution A.952(23) should continue to be used in combination with the new Assembly resolution, once adopted, for the preparation of the shipboard fire control plans required by SOLAS regulation II 2/15.2.4.
  
Polar requirements - work plan agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed a work plan to address any additional testing and performance standards related to life-saving appliances and arrangements on board ships operating in polar waters, to support the implementation of the Polar Code, which entered into force on 1 January 2017. 

Work at the next sessions and in a correspondence group would focus on evaluation of specific conditions, as required, to consider when approving life-saving equipment to be used when in polar waters and to identify test and performance criteria for life-saving appliances and arrangements. The aim would be to finalize the work, which will have a two-step approach starting with an interim solution, as soon as possible for submission to the MSC.

Addressing ro-ro fires
The Sub-Committee agreed the scope and work plan for the review of SOLAS chapter II-2 and associated codes to minimize the incidence and consequences of fires on ro-ro spaces and special category spaces of new and existing ro-ro passenger ships. The MSC will be invited to approve the plan, which would see the development of draft Interim Guidelines alongside draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 and associated codes, which could be adopted in 2020.
 
Requirements for onboard lifting appliances and winches
The Sub-Committee continued its work to develop SOLAS requirements for onboard lifting appliances and winches, which have been proposed being placed in chapter II-1 of said Convention. A correspondence group was established to further develop draft goal- and function-based SOLAS regulations for onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches; and to further develop draft related guidelines supporting the goals and functional requirements,

Ventilation of survival crafts
The Sub-Committee made progress in developing new requirements for ventilation of survival crafts. The work follows recommendations arising from the investigation into the incident involving the MOL Comfort, a container ship which broke in two off the coast of Yemen in 2013. All 26 crew escaped the vessel, but the investigation reported on evidence from crew that the totally-enclosed lifeboats became extremely hot and caused discomfort when entry points were closed in bad weather.  

A correspondence group was established to gather and review data on microclimate in totally enclosed lifeboats to identify the possible criteria on which the new ventilation requirements for totally enclosed lifeboats should be based (e.g. humidity, temperature, threshold levels of O2, of CO2, ventilation rates, air changes); and to recommend the criteria to be used for the development of draft amendments to the LSA Code and to MSC resolution MSC.81(70).

Fire integrity of bulkheads – unified interpretation
The Sub-Committee endorsed a draft unified interpretation of SOLAS regulations II 2/9.2.2.4.2, II-2/9.2.3.3.2 and II-2/9.2.4.2.2 relating to the fire integrity of the bulkheads between the wheelhouse and a navigation locker inside the wheelhouse, for submission to MSC 98 with a view to approval.

Fire integrity of spaces in the cargo area of tankers - unified interpretation
The Sub-Committee endorsed a draft unified interpretation of SOLAS regulation II-2/9.2.4.2 intended to clarity that individual compartments of tankers, including those permitted to be located in the cargo area, should be categorized as per regulation 9.2.4, and thus the fire integrity standards stipulated in the relevant regulations should be applied to the boundaries of each space, for submission to MSC 98 with a view to approval.

Calibration of portable instruments - unified interpretation
The Sub-Committee endorsed a draft unified interpretation of SOLAS regulation II-2/4.5.7.1 relating to the provision of suitable means for the calibration of portable instruments for measuring oxygen or flammable vapour concentrations, for submission to MSC 98 with a view to approval.

Inert gas systems on tankers - unified interpretation
The Sub-Committee endorsed a draft unified interpretation of chapter 15 of the FSS Code intended to clarify the requirements related to inert gas systems on tankers, for submission to MSC 98 with a view to approval.