The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 105) met from 20-29 April 2022.
Safety and security in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov
In March, the IMO Council met in Extraordinary Session (C.ES/35) and, among other decisions, requested the IMO committees to consider ways to enhance the efforts of Member States and observer organizations in supporting affected seafarers and commercial ships and consider the implications of this situation for the implementation of the Organization's instruments, take appropriate action and report back to Council.
In response to this request, following-up on the ongoing actions undertaken by the Secretary‑General to address the situation of shipping and seafarers in the conflict area, the MSC further urged him and the Secretariat to continue their efforts regarding the establishment of safe maritime corridors and the safe evacuation of seafarers from the affected area as a priority; and adopted resolution MSC.495(105) - Actions to facilitate the urgent evacuation of seafarers from the war zone area in and around the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov as a result of the Russian Federation aggression against Ukraine. (Read more.)
In addition, the MSC invited the Council to consider a number of issues raised at MSC 105, including consideration and analysis of reports on State's armed interference in shipping; development of guidance relating to the prevention of such interference; and the need for including any procedural matters in the conduct of audits under the Framework and Procedures for the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (resolution A.1067(28)).
Adoption of amendments
Modernized GMDSS adopted
Following a comprehensive review of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), the MSC adopted a set of amendments to complete the work on modernization of the GMDSS and to enable the future use of modern communication systems in the GMDSS whilst removing obsolete requirements.
The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2024. They include amendments to SOLAS chapters II-1, III, IV and V, and the appendix (Certificates); the 1988 SOLAS Protocol; the 1994 and 2000 HSC Codes; the 1983 and 2008 SPS Codes; and the 1979, 1989 and 2009 MODU Codes.
The MSC also adopted a substantial number of amendments or revisions to existing related resolutions and guidelines, including performance standards for relevant equipment.
The amendments and related resolutions and guidelines were approved at the MSC 104 session.
Amendments to IMDG and IMSBC Codes
The MSC adopted:
Updates to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, in line with the updates to the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, which set the recommendations for all transport modes. The expected entry into force date is 1 January 2024, and Contracting Governments to the SOLAS Convention are invited to apply the amendments from 1 January 2023 on a voluntary basis.
Updates to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code, to include new definitions (including an updated definition for group A cargoes), references and requirements for cargoes which may undergo dynamic separation. Section 7 will be amended to cover cargoes which may liquefy or undergo dynamic separation. The section aims to bring attention to the risks associated with liquefaction or dynamic separation and the precautions to minimize the risk. This follows research by the Global Bauxite Working Group, which identified a new phenomenon affecting some bauxite cargoes, known as dynamic separation, which can cause instability of cargo and ship. Other IMSBC Code amendments relate to updates to individual schedules and new individual schedules. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 December 2023. Contracting Governments to the SOLAS Convention are invited to apply them from 1 January 2023 on a voluntary basis.
Other agenda items
Adoption of domestic ferry model regulations
The MSC adopted recommendatory Model Regulations on Domestic Ferry Safety, approved at the last session. The model regulations provide framework provisions on domestic ferry safety for incorporation into national law. They cover a range of issues, including: certification; manning; safety management; navigation and communications equipment and life-saving appliances. They can be adapted by countries, as necessary, to suit their respective national conditions and requirements.
The need for domestic ferry regulations is outlined in a video.
Maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS)
The MSC commenced work on the development of a goal-based instrument regulating the operation of maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS).
The MSC approved a road map containing a work plan for the development of IMO instruments for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). The road map envisages the development of a goal-based instrument in the form of a non-mandatory Code, with a view to adoption in the second half of 2024 as the first stage. Based on the experienced gained in the application of the non-mandatory MASS Code, a mandatory MASS Code will be developed which is envisaged to enter into force on 1 January 2028.
The MASS Correspondence Group was re-established and instructed to:
consider key principles and common understanding of the purpose and objectives for the new instrument;
commence the development of a non-mandatory goal-based MASS Code;
consider the common potential gaps and/or themes identified during the Regulatory Scoping Exercise (RSE) (MSC.1/Circ.1638, section 5), focusing on the high priority items;
if time permits, develop MSC MASS positions on a number of points, for submission to future meetings of the Joint MSC/LEG/FAL Working Group, including whether to amend the definition for MASS and degrees of autonomy (including the respective definition); meaning of the terms master, crew or responsible person; remote control station/centre; and determination of the remote operator as a seafarer, and advise on a way forward in addressing them;
limit the development of the non-mandatory MASS Code to cargo ships with a view to considering the feasibility for application to passenger ships at a future stage; and
submit a written report to MSC 107 (spring 2023), with a verbal status report at MSC 106.
The MSC concurred with the Legal Committee on the establishment of a Joint MSC/LEG/FAL Working Group as a cross-cutting mechanism to address common issues identified by the regulatory scoping exercises for the use of MASS conducted by each of the three Committees. The FAL Committee will consider the establishment of such Joint Working Group in May 2022 and is expected to concur for the holding of the first meeting from 6 to 8 September 2022, subject to the approval by the IMO Council (C 127) in July 2022.
This work follows the completion of a regulatory scoping exercise for the operation of MASS.
Dissemination of MSI and SAR-related information over multiple GMDSS recognized mobile satellite services
The MSC considered the report of the Correspondence Group on Dissemination of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) and Search and Rescue (SAR)-related information, established at MSC 103 to consider the mandatory use of all recognized mobile satellite services that provide services within the service area for dissemination of information by MSI and SAR information providers, as well as options to address cost implications for information providers concerning the dissemination of information over multiple GMDSS mobile satellite services.
The MSC agreed that dissemination of MSI and SAR related information was an integral service of the GMDSS and critical to preserving the safety of life at sea and, therefore, once a mobile satellite service was recognized by the Organization, it must then be used by all information providers covering its service area. The MSC urged MSI and SAR information providers to take the necessary actions to expedite the use of all mobile satellite services recognized by the Organization providing services within their service areas for the dissemination of information to ships navigating in those areas.
The Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) was instructed to continue considering technical solutions for the dissemination and reception of MSI and SAR related information over multiple services, including interoperability issues and broadcast monitoring, with a view to addressing the operational and financial burden of disseminating the information to ships. The NCSR Sub-Committee was also instructed, inter alia, to further consider options to address cost implications for information providers concerning the dissemination of information over multiple recognized mobile satellite services, identify advantages and disadvantages, and advise the Committee, as appropriate.
Enhancing the safety of ships relating to the use of oil fuel
The Committee considered further measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of oil fuel, following work by a correspondence group and in a working group.
The MSC approved draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 in relation to flashpoint, for circulation with a view to adoption at MSC 106.
The draft amendment would add new definitions and a new paragraphs to Regulation 4 (Probability of ignition), including that ships carrying oil fuel shall prior to bunkering be provided with a declaration signed and certified by the fuel oil supplier's representative that the oil fuel supplied is in conformity with regulation SOLAS II.2/4.2.1 and the test method used for determining the flashpoint. A bunker delivery note for the fuel delivered to the ship shall contain the flashpoint specified in accordance with standards acceptable to the Organization, or a statement that flashpoint has been measured at or above 70ºC.
The MSC agreed a revised action and re-established the Correspondence Group, to: develop guidelines for sampling procedures, taking into account resolution MEPC.182(59); collect information on possible further measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of fuel oil; and consider possible measures related to oil fuel parameters other than flashpoint.
Carriage of industrial personnel
The MSC approved a draft new SOLAS chapter XV, together with the associated new Code for Industrial Personnel, developed by the Sub‑Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 8).
The aim is to provide minimum safety standards for ships that carry industrial personnel, as well as for the personnel themselves, and address specific risks of maritime operations within the offshore sectors, such as personnel transfer operations. Such personnel may be engaged in the construction, maintenance, decommissioning, operation or servicing of offshore facilities, such as windfarms, as well as offshore oil and gas installations, aquaculture, ocean mining or similar activities.
The draft amendments and Code will be circulated with a view to adoption at MSC 106.
New work programme outputs
The MSC considered a substantial number of proposals for new outputs at the session, in particular proposals deferred by MSC 104 due to time limitations.
Comprehensive review of the 1978 STCW Convention and Code
The MSC instructed the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) to start a comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code, with a target completion year of 2026.
The Sub-Committee was instructed to first make a preliminary assessment of the scope of the work to be conducted, identify specific areas to be reviewed and prepare a roadmap for approval by the Committee before initiating the preparation of draft amendments.
The aim is to adapt the Convention and the Code to new technical developments in shipping, environmental protection and climate change. This output will also provide an opportunity to address the effective implementation of this instrument in all circumstances, thus ensuring that it continues to provide a set of globally recognized standards for training and certification of seafarers.
Sexual assault and harassment in the maritime sector
The MSC considered ways to address bullying and harassment in the maritime sector, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, as well as the development of relevant provisions to establish appropriate maritime workplace behavioural norms and essential human elements of psychological safety.
Recognizing that coordinated action by various UN agencies is required to address these issues, the MSC agreed to instruct the Joint ILO/IMO Tripartite Working Group (JTWG) on seafarers' issues and the human element to work on these matters. Specifically, the JTWG was instructed to "consider bullying and harassment in the maritime sector, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, taking into account information submitted by interested parties, with a view to providing recommendations for future steps, including the development of legislation, mechanisms and policies by relevant stakeholders, aimed at reporting and addressing these matters" (the instructions to the JTWG are subject to endorsement by the IMO Council).
Furthermore, the MSC instructed the HTW Sub-Committee, in the context of its comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code, to develop and finalize, as a matter of priority, STCW training provisions addressing bullying and harassment in the maritime sector, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. Such draft provisions will be considered in advance of the completed comprehensive review.
The MSC encouraged Member States to implement mechanisms for the notification and control of cases of bullying and harassment and adopt relevant policies and legislation to protect seafarers. In addition, shipping companies were encouraged to implement internal monitoring, reporting and prevention policies, as well as procedures aimed at eliminating all forms of bullying and harassment on board ships and to take corrective action against persons engaging in unacceptable behaviour and practices of this nature.
Safety of ships using alternative fuels
The MSC reiterated the Committee's commitment to ensuring the safety of shipping in the wake of new technical solutions and new fuels investigated in pursuance of GHG reduction targets set by IMO.
The MSC referred submissions by IACS related to the development of safety requirements to support the achievement of a decarbonization goal with regards to new fuels to the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) The CCC Sub-Committee was instructed to consider matters related to the development of safety requirements to support the achievement of a decarbonization goal, when updating its work plan for the development of the IGF Code and safety provisions for alternative fuels, and advise the Committee on how best to proceed.
Meanwhile, the CCC Sub-Committee was instructed to commence the development of guidelines for safety of ships using ammonia as fuel, with a target completion year of 2023; and to revise the interim recommendations for the carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk, with a target completion year of 2024.
The use of alternative fuels plays an important role in ensuring the Organization successfully implements the initial GHG strategy. The revision of the GHG Strategy is currently under consideration in the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).
Lithium battery fires
In response to the increasing number of incidents involving fires due to the carriage of alternative energy vehicles, including cars with lithium-ion batteries, the MSC considered a proposal to evaluate the adequacy of fire protection, detection and extinction arrangements in vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces in order to reduce the fire risk of ships carrying new energy vehicles.
The MSC agreed to include in its post-biennial agenda an output on "Evaluation of adequacy of fire protection, detection and extinction arrangements in vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces in order to reduce the fire risk of ships carrying new energy vehicles", with four sessions needed to complete the item. It instructed the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment to evaluate the applicability of the new measures to be developed to existing ships and to address the charging of electric vehicles on board ships.
Other new outputs approved at this session include:
Development of amendments to chapter 6 of the 2009 MODU Code regarding electrical equipment capable of operation after shutdown;
Development of amendments to chapter 15 of the FSS Code on enclosed spaces containing a nitrogen receiver or a buffer tank of nitrogen generator systems;
Review and update SOLAS regulation II-2/9 on containment of fire to incorporate existing guidance and clarify requirements;
Development of guidelines for the use of Electronic Nautical Publications (ENPs);
Amendments to the revised ECDIS performance standards (resolution MSC.232(82)) to facilitate a standardized digital exchange of shipsʹ route plans
Revision of SOLAS chapters II-1 (part C) and V and related instruments regarding steering and propulsion requirements to address both traditional and non-traditional propulsion and steering systems;
Development of guidelines for the safety of ships using ammonia as fuel;
Revision of the Interim recommendations for carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk;
Scoping exercise and enhancement of the effectiveness of provisions on fatigue and seafarers' hours of work and rest; and
Revision of the Guidelines for the application of plastic pipes on ships (resolution A.753(18)).
Postponement of agenda items
The MSC postponed consideration of a number of agenda items due to lack of time, including: unsafe mixed migration by sea; piracy and armed robbery against ships; COVID-19 related matters.
List of resolutions and circulars adopted/approved by MSC 105
RESOLUTION MSC.495(105) – ACTIONS TO FACILITATE THE URGENT EVACUATION OF SEAFARERS FROM THE WAR ZONE AREA IN AND AROUND THE BLACK SEA AND THE SEA OF AZOV AS A RESULT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AGGRESSION AGAINST UKRAINE
RESOLUTION MSC.496(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE SAFETY OF LIFE AT SEA, 1974
RESOLUTION MSC.497(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE PROTOCOL OF 1988 RELATING TO THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE SAFETY OF LIFE AT SEA, 1974
RESOLUTION MSC.498(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL CODE OF SAFETY FOR HIGH-SPEED CRAFT, 1994 (1994 HSC CODE)
RESOLUTION MSC.499(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL CODE OF SAFETY FOR HIGH-SPEED CRAFT, 2000 (2000 HSC CODE)
RESOLUTION MSC.500(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL MARITIME SOLID BULK CARGOES (IMSBC) CODE
RESOLUTION MSC.501(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL MARITIME DANGEROUS GOODS (IMDG) CODE
RESOLUTION MSC.502(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE CODE OF SAFETY FOR SPECIAL PURPOSE SHIPS, 1983 (1983 SPS CODE)
RESOLUTION MSC.503(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE CODE OF SAFETY FOR SPECIAL PURPOSE SHIPS, 2008 (2008 SPS CODE)
RESOLUTION MSC.504(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE CODE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT OF MOBILE OFFSHORE DRILLING UNITS, 1979 (1979 MODU CODE)
RESOLUTION MSC.505(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE CODE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT OF MOBILE OFFSHORE DRILLING UNITS, 1989 (1989 MODU CODE)
RESOLUTION MSC.506(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE CODE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT OF MOBILE OFFSHORE DRILLING UNITS, 2009 (2009 MODU CODE)
RESOLUTION MSC.507(105) – SYSTEM PERFORMANCE STANDARD FOR THE PROMULGATION AND COORDINATION OF MARITIME SAFETY INFORMATION USING HIGH-FREQUENCY NARROW-BAND DIRECT-PRINTING
RESOLUTION MSC.508(105) – PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR THE RECEPTION OF MARITIME SAFETY INFORMATION AND SEARCH AND RESCUE RELATED INFORMATION BY MF (NAVTEX) AND HF
RESOLUTION MSC.509(105) – PROVISION OF RADIO SERVICES FOR THE GLOBAL MARITIME DISTRESS AND SAFETY SYSTEM (GMDSS)
RESOLUTION MSC.510(105) – PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE RADAR TRANSPONDERS
RESOLUTION MSC.511(105) – PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR SHIPBORNE VHF RADIO INSTALLATIONS CAPABLE OF VOICE COMMUNICATION AND DIGITAL SELECTIVE CALLING
RESOLUTION MSC.512(105) – PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR SHIPBORNE MF AND MF/HF RADIO INSTALLATIONS CAPABLE OF VOICE COMMUNICATION, DIGITAL SELECTIVE CALLING AND RECEPTION OF MARITIME SAFETY INFORMATION AND SEARCH AND RESCUE RELATED INFORMATION
RESOLUTION MSC.513(105) – PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR INMARSAT-C SHIP EARTH STATIONS CAPABLE OF TRANSMITTING AND RECEIVING DIRECT-PRINTING COMMUNICATIONS
RESOLUTION MSC.514(105) – GUIDELINES FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF FALSE DISTRESS ALERTS
RESOLUTION MSC.515(105) – PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR SURVIVAL CRAFT PORTABLE TWO-WAY VHF RADIOTELEPHONE APPARATUS
RESOLUTION MSC.516(105) – AMENDMENTS TO THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR RADIOCOMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT (RESOLUTION MSC.80(70))
RESOLUTION MSC.517(105) – PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR A SHIPBORNE INTEGRATED COMMUNICATION SYSTEM (ICS) WHEN USED IN THE GLOBAL MARITIME DISTRESS AND SAFETY SYSTEM (GMDSS)
RESOLUTION MSC.518(105) – MODEL REGULATIONS ON DOMESTIC FERRY SAFETY
RESOLUTION MSC.188(79)/REV.1 – REVISED PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR WATER LEVEL DETECTORS ON SHIPS SUBJECT TO SOLAS REGULATIONS II-1/25, II-1/25-1 AND XII/12
MSC.1/Circ.803/Rev.1 Participation of non-SOLAS ships in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and guidance on the development of training materials for GMDSS operators on non-SOLAS ships
MSC.1/Circ.1645 Guidance for the reception of maritime safety information and search and rescue related information as required in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
MSC.1/Circ.1600/Rev.1 Guidance for conducting the refined MHB (CR) test
MSC.1/Circ.1395/Rev.5 Lists of solid bulk cargoes for which a fixed gas fire-extinguishing system may be exempted or for which a fixed gas fire-extinguishing system is ineffective
MSC.1/Circ.1588/Rev.2 Amendments to the Revised Emergency Response Procedures for Ships Carrying Dangerous Goods (MSC.1/Circ.1588/Rev.1) (EmS Guide)
MSC.1/Circ.1361/Rev.1 Revised recommendations on the safe use of pesticides in ships applicable to the fumigation of cargo transport units
MSC.1/Circ.1646 FAL.2/Circ.[…] MEPC.1/Circ.[…] LEG.2/Circ.[…] List of certificates and documents required to be carried on board ships, 2022 (Note: subject to concurrent decision by MEPC and FAL)
MSC.1/Circ.1647 Interim guidelines for the safety of ships using fuel cell power installations
MSC.1/Circ.1648 Amendments to the Guidelines for the acceptance of alternative metallic materials for cryogenic service in ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk and ships using gases or other low-flashpoint fuels (MSC.1/Circ.1622)
MSC.1/Circ.1599/Rev.2 Revised Guidelines on the application of high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service
MSC.1/Circ.1649 Guidelines for the implementation of the inspection programmes for cargo transport units
MSC.1/Circ.1650 List of non-exhaustive voluntary guidance on pest contamination
MSC.1/Circ.1651 Amendments to MSC.1/Circ.1625 on unified interpretations of the IGC Code (as amended by resolution MSC.370(93))
MSC.1/Circ.1652 Explanatory notes to the Interim Guidelines on second generation intact stability criteria
MSC.1/Circ.1653 Unified interpretation regarding timber deck cargo in the context of damage stability requirements
MSC.1/Circ.1654 Unified interpretation on the noise level limit in workshops on board ships
MSC.1/Circ.1535/Rev.2 Unified interpretations relating to the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966
MSC.1/Circ.1362/Rev.1 Unified interpretation of SOLAS chapter II-1
MSC.1/Circ.1164/Rev.25 Promulgation of information related to reports of independent evaluation submitted by Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978 confirmed by the Maritime Safety Committee to have communicated information which demonstrates that Parties are giving full and complete effect to the relevant provisions of the Convention
MSC.1/Circ.797/Rev.37 List of competent persons maintained by the Secretary‑General pursuant to section A-I/7 of the STCW Code