Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) – 20th session, 26 -30 March 2012

Mandatory IMO audit scheme progressed with III Code and treaty amendments agreed
Significant progress with regard to making the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme mandatory was made by the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) when it met for its 20th session.
The Sub-Committee agreed the text of the draft IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code), which sets the audit standard and is intended to be used to determine the extent to which Contracting Governments give full and complete effect to the provisions of key IMO  international treaties.
Draft amendments to the relevant IMO instruments to make the III Code and auditing mandatory were also agreed.
The draft texts of the III Code and the amendments will be submitted to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 64, in October 2012) and the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 91, in December 2012), for consideration.
It is intended that the III Code should be adopted by the IMO Assembly, at its twenty-eighth session, in late 2013. Subsequently, the amendments to the treaty instruments could be adopted, to make the auditing and Code mandatory.
The audit will cover the following treaty instruments: the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, (SOLAS),1974, as amended; the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (LL 1966) and its 1988 Protocol;  the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969 (TONNAGE 1969); and the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amended (COLREG 1972).
Reports on completed audits analysed
A study of five consolidated audit summary reports, based on 45 audits competed under the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme, was reviewed by the Sub-Committee.  It was agreed to establish a working/drafting group at the next session to review the reports and to make recommendations to the Committees in the light of the findings.
Code for Recognized Organizations agreed
The draft Code for Recognized Organizations (ROs) and related draft treaty amendments to make it mandatory were agreed for submission to MEPC 64 and MSC 91, as appropriate, with a view to approval, subject to clarification or approval from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) with regard to referencing its standards in the RO Code.
The draft amendments proposed would make the Code mandatory under SOLAS, the Load Lines Protocol 1988 and MARPOL (Annexes I and II). 
The Code will provide a consolidated text containing criteria against which recognized organizations (which may be authorized by flag States to carry out surveys and issue certificates on their behalf) are assessed and authorized/recognized, and give guidance for subsequent monitoring of ROs by Administrations.
The new Code would replace the Specifications on the Survey and Certification Functions of Recognized Organizations Acting on Behalf of the Administration (resolution A.789(19))  and Guidelines for the authorization of Organizations acting on behalf of the Administration (A.739(18)).
Lessons learned from casualties agreed
The Sub-Committee approved the text of Lessons Learned for Presentation to Seafarers, for release on the IMO website, developed by the Correspondence Group on Casualty Analysis and reviewed by the regular meeting of the Working Group on Casualty Analysis, during the session.
A series of incidents, some fatal, involving lifting appliances were reviewed by the working group and the Sub-committee agreed to the group’s recommendation to forward the incident reports (on the general cargo ship BBC Atlantic; the open-hatch bulk carrier Star Java;  the cargo ship Knud Lauritzen; the hopper/dredger/sand carrier Sand Falcon; and the diving support vessel Wellservicer) to the ship Design and Equipment (DE) Sub-Committee for consideration (subject to the MSC’s endorsement).
The Correspondence Group on Casualty Analysis was re-established to continue its work analysing casualty investigation reports submitted to IMO. In particular, the correspondence group was invited to consider  the safety issues identified in the marine safety investigation reports into the explosions, fire and  loss life following the very serious marine casualty on Deep Water Horizon, in 2010. 
The correspondence group was also invited to review  the marine safety investigation reports into ro-ro ferry vehicle deck fires, in order to identify improvements that can be made to the fire protection standards applied to ro-ro passenger ships constructed before 1 July 2010 (which could remain in service for the next 20 years or more) to enhance their survivability and safe return to port in the event of a vehicle deck fire. Specific reports to be considered included the investigations into the accidents involving the ro-ro ferries Al Salaam Boccacio 98, Und Adriyatik, Commodore Clipper, Lisco Gloria and Pearl of Scandinavia. While the reports into the first two incidents had already been considered in detail, the reports into the latter three were due to be considered at FSI 21. 
The Sub-Committee also noted information provided by the Italian delegation to the Sub-Committee on Stability, Load Lines and Fishing Vessel Safety (SLF 54), regarding the accident to the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, which occurred on 13 January 2012, and noted that a casualty investigation was being carried out by the Italian Coast Guard, the outcome of which would be submitted to IMO as soon as available.
Meanwhile, the Sub-Committee strongly urged Member States to submit to IMO their reports of investigations, particularly into very serious casualties under the mandatory part of the Code of International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident (Casualty Investigation Code). This will assist the Working Group on Casualty Analysis in determining if there are potential trends or recurring contributing factors, and to promote appropriate action, where necessary.
Mandatory reports under MARPOL reviewed
The Sub-Committee considered the summary analysis of the reports submitted for 2010 in relation to the MARPOL Convention, by 34 Parties to MARPOL and noted that the rate of reporting in 2010 remained low at 22.7 per cent (MARPOL has151 Parties). Six further reports were received after the 30 September deadline, giving a rate of reporting of 26.7 per cent. The Sub-Committee urged all Parties to MARPOL to submit mandatory reports on time.