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Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), 5th session, 12-16 March 2018


Draft requirements for ventilation of totally enclosed lifeboats agreed

The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code regarding ventilation on totally enclosed lifeboats, in order to ensure a habitable environment is maintained in such survival craft.

The draft new paragraphs (4.6.6 and 4.6.7) on means of ventilation for totally enclosed lifeboats, and on openings and closings, would require a totally enclosed lifeboat to be provided with means to achieve a ventilation rate of at least 5 m3/h per person for the number of persons which the lifeboat is permitted to accommodate, for not less than 24 hours.

The ventilation means will need to be operable from inside the lifeboat and arranged to ensure that the lifeboat is ventilated without stratification or formation of unventilated pockets.

The draft amendments will be submitted to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for consideration, when the whole package of provisions on ventilation means for survival craft has been finalized.

Regarding ventilation on survival craft other than totally enclosed lifeboats, a correspondence group was established to develop relevant draft amendments to chapter IV of the LSA Code.The group was also instructed to prepare draft amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life saving appliances (resolution MSC.81(70)) for the testing of means of ventilation for all survival craft and necessary consequential amendments to other IMO instruments, taking into consideration safe operational conditions that may allow the lifeboat hatches to be opened for ventilation.

Revision of LSA Code requirements for cargo ship rescue boats agreed

Draft amendments to the LSA Code focused on manually-launched "rescue boats that are not one of the lifeboats" on cargo ships were agreed.

The draft amendments (to paragraph also include a requirement for means to bring the rescue boat against the ship’s side and hold it so that persons can be safely embarked.

Life-saving appliances and arrangements for polar waters- progress made 

Progress was made in developing draft interim guidelines on life-saving appliances and arrangements for ships operating in polar waters.

IMO’s Polar Code entered into force in 2017. As part of follow-up actions, the Sub-Committee is looking at test and performance criteria for life-saving appliances and arrangements specific to the polar environment.

A correspondence group was instructed to continue developing the draft interim guidelines and to consider suitable regulatory options to address future new test and performance criteria, such as a new chapter to the LSA Code, amendments to part I-B of the Polar Code or amendments to the existing recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances.

Preventing and extinguishing fires on ro-ro passenger ships

The Sub-Committee agreed draft Revised guidelines for the approval of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems for ro-ro spaces and special category spaces (to update the guidelines in MSC.1/Circ.1430), for submission to the MSC for approval. The revision relates in particular to the position of sprinklers or nozzles, to ensure adequate performance, and to reliable control of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems. 

The Sub-Committee also continued its ongoing review of current SOLAS regulations and associated codes to minimize the incidence and consequences of fires on new and existing ro-ro passenger ships, specifically in ro-ro and special category spaces. A draft structure for interim guidelines was developed and IMO instruments which may need to be revised were identified. The Sub Committee is looking, among other things, at risks arising from alternatively powered vehicles, including electric or hybrid vehicles, as well as those risks associated with electrical supply and connections to vehicles.

Shore-side power - safety aspects

The Sub-Committee commenced work on the safety aspects of on-shore power supply to ships, also known as “cold ironing”, “alternative maritime power” and “shore-side electricity”.

Plugging a ship into shore-side power - and turning off onboard generators - is one solution to reducing air pollution from ships, as well as limiting local noise.

It was agreed that guidelines on safe operation of on-shore power supply should be developed, focusing initially on operational safety aspects in port for ships engaged on international voyages; and secondly, in view of the various international standards and other variables associated with the different types of ships' and on-shore electrical arrangements, on a uniform set of equipment standards.

A correspondence group was established to further develop draft guidelines, based on which the need for relevant amendments to SOLAS will be considered.

Mandatory requirements for onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches

The Sub-Committee made further progress in developing draft SOLAS regulations and related guidance for onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches.

The aim is to prevent accidents related to such equipment which may cause harm to persons or damage to ships, cargo, shore-based structures and subsea structures as well as to the environment.

A correspondence group was established to further develop related draft SOLAS regulations and guidance. Meanwhile, the MSC was invited to advise on specific issues, including the scope of application of the new provisions and the interim outcome of goals and functional requirements.