Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to
make mandatory the International Code for the Application of Fire Test Procedures (2010 FTP Code) and to improve lifeboat release hooks are set to be adopted when IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meets at the Organization's London Headquarters for its 88th session from 24 November to 3 December 2010.
The busy agenda also includes discussion on piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden and the implementation of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of ships (LRIT) system.
2010 FTP Code to be adopted
The draft 2010 FTP Code, along with relevant SOLAS amendments to make it mandatory, will be considered for adoption.
The 2010 FTP Code provides the international requirements for laboratory testing, type-approval and fire test procedures for products referenced under SOLAS chapter II-2. It comprehensively revises and updates the current Code, adopted by the MSC in 1996.
The 2010 FTP Code includes the following tests: non-combustibility; smoke and toxicity; test for “A”, “B” and “F” class divisions; test for fire door control systems; test for surface flammability (surface materials and primary deck coverings); test for vertically supported textiles and films; test for upholstered furniture; test for bedding components; test for fire-restricting materials for high-speed craft; and test for fire-resisting divisions of high-speed craft.
It also includes annexes on Products which may be installed without testing and/or approval and Fire protection materials and required approval test methods.
Lifeboat release mechanisms amendments to be adopted
The MSC will consider the adoption of a draft amendment to SOLAS regulation III/1, to require lifeboat on-load release mechanisms not complying with new International Life-Saving Appliances (LSA) Code requirements, to be replaced no later than the next scheduled dry-docking of the ship, following entry into force of the SOLAS amendment. Related amendments to the LSA Code, which require safer design of on-load release mechanisms, will also be considered for adoption.
Furthermore, the Committee will consider for approval draft Guidelines for evaluation and replacement of lifeboat release and retrieval systems, referred to in the draft amendment to SOLAS regulation III/1. The guidelines and related proposed SOLAS amendment were finalized by an intersessional working group which met in October 2010.
The proposed SOLAS amendment is intended to ensure new, stricter, safety standards for lifeboat release hooks, aimed at preventing accidents involving lifeboats, and will result in the review and possible replacement of a large number of release hooks for lifeboats, thereby requiring action from all involved parties, including flag States, manufacturers, shipowners, surveyors.
Other amendments for adoption
The MSC will also consider for adoption:
• draft amendments to SOLAS regulation V/18 to require annual testing of automatic identification system (AIS);
• draft amendments to SOLAS regulation V/23 on pilot transfer arrangements, to update and to improve safety aspects for pilot transfer;
• draft amendments to safety certificates in the SOLAS appendix and SOLAS Protocol of 1988, relating to references to alternative design and arrangements;
• draft amendments to the International Convention for Safe Containers, 1972, to include addition of new paragraphs in Regulation 1 Safety Approval Plate, specifying the validity and elements to be included in approved examination programmes; the addition of a new test for containers being approved for operation with one door removed; and the addition of a new annex III Control and Verification, which provides specific control measures to enable authorized officers to assess the integrity of structurally sensitive components of containers and to help them decide whether a container is safe to continue in transportation or whether it should be stopped until remedial action has been taken; and
• a draft new chapter 9 of the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code), related to fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems.
Piracy and armed robbery against ships to be discussed
The MSC will review the latest statistics on piracy and armed robbery against ships, in particular in relation to the situation off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, where ships continue to be attacked and hijacked, despite the concerted efforts of the international community, spearheaded by IMO, navies and the industry, to protect shipping. The Committee will be updated on measures taken by IMO to assist States in implementing the Djibouti Code of Conduct concerning the repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
The MSC will be invited to consider draft guidelines for the care of seafarers and other persons on board who have been subjected to acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships and a proposal to reflect special measures to prevent and suppress piracy and armed robbery against ships in the ship security plans required under the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code.
LRIT status to be updated
The MSC will be updated on the status of the establishment of the global LRIT system, including the establishment of the International LRIT Data Exchange by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), in Lisbon, Portugal.
Information from the continuous review and audit conducted by the LRIT Coordinator of the performance of the International LRIT Data Exchange and all LRIT Data Centres; the report of the ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc LRIT Group, which met in September 2010; and information concerning the modification testing phase and the continuity of services of the LRIT system will be available for review by the MSC.
Future work to implement goal-based standards to be considered
The MSC will monitor the progress made with the implementation of the International Goal-based Construction Standards for Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, which were adopted at its last session, along with the associated amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-1 making their application mandatory, as well as verification guidelines and the ship construction file.
The Committee will also discuss its future work in the matter, including the completion of generic guidelines for developing goal-based standards.
Safe manning: draft resolution and SOLAS amendments to be considered for approval
The MSC will be invited to approve revised Principles of Safe Manning, with a view to adoption by the IMO Assembly next year, and amendments to SOLAS regulation V/14 relating to mandatory requirements for determining safe manning, with a view to adoption by MSC 90, which will be held in 2012.
Follow up to 2010 Manila conference
The MSC will receive a report on the outcome of the 2010 Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, held from 21 to 25 June 2010 in Manila, the Philippines, which adopted the Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Code along with a number of resolutions.
STCW Convention: independent evaluations to be considered
The list of Parties deemed to be giving full and complete effect to the provisions of the STCW Convention, as amended, is expected to be updated when the Secretary-General submits his report on those countries whose independent evaluations have been completed since the previous MSC meeting.
In connection with other issues arising from the reports of IMO Sub-Committees and other bodies, the MSC will be invited to:
• adopt a number of new and amended ships’ routeing systems and mandatory ship reporting systems, which have been approved by the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV);
• review a series of recommendations submitted by the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) associated with the consideration of possible ways in which the Code for the implementation of mandatory IMO instruments (which is used as the audit standard for the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme) and auditing could be made mandatory – in particular, the issue of how to introduce the Code and auditing into the annexes to some or all of the 10 instruments covered by the Code;
• in the context of the above-mentioned Audit Scheme, review the analysis of the first three consolidated audit summary reports;
• review the progress made in the development of a new code for recognized organizations;
• approve draft amendments to the LSA Code to require lifeboats to “be of international or vivid reddish orange, on all parts where this will assist detection at sea” and to delete the reference to allowing “a comparably highly visible colour”;
• approve draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/20, regarding fixed gas and water-spraying fire-extinguishing systems for vehicle, ro-ro, container and general cargo spaces, with a view to subsequent adoption;
• approve draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/9, concerning fire integrity of bulkheads and decks separating adjacent spaces of ro ro spaces for passenger ships carrying not more than 36 passengers and cargo ships, with a view to subsequent adoption; and
• approve supplementary advice on the draft IMO position on the World Radiocommunications Conference 2012 agenda items concerning matters relating to maritime services.
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
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