Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR), 1st session, 30 June to 4 July

Draft Polar Code chapters on Safety of Navigation and Communication finalized
The Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR), meeting for its 1st session, finalized the chapters related to Safety of Navigation and Communication of the draft Polar Code, for submission to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC). 

MSC 94, meeting in November 2014, is expected to consider the draft Polar Code with a view to adoption, alongside the associated draft new SOLAS chapter XI, which will make the Introduction and part I-A of the Polar Code mandatory under SOLAS.  

The draft Polar Code covers the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in the inhospitable waters surrounding the two poles.

Revised guide to recovery techniques agreed
The Sub-Committee endorsed the draft revised Guide to recovery techniques (MSC.1/Circ.1182), with a view to approval by the MSC.  The update follows the entry into force, on 1 July 2014, of new SOLAS regulation III/17-1, on recovery of persons from the water, which requires all ships to have plans and procedures to recover persons from the water.

Ships routeing systems and mandatory ship reporting systems approved  
The Sub-Committee approved the following new and amended ships' routeing measures and amended ship reporting system, for submission to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for adoption:
Amendments to existing Traffic Separation Schemes (TSSs) and associated measures
Amendment to the existing Traffic Separation Scheme "In the Strait of Gibraltar" and amendment of the precautionary area off Tanger Med and of the south-western inshore traffic zone including anchorage areas;
Amendments to the Traffic Separation Scheme off the Chengshan Jiao Promontory;
Amendments to the routeing system "Off Friesland" and associated measures;

Routeing measures other than Traffic Separation Schemes (TSSs)
Amendments to the existing Recommended directions of traffic flow within the Precautionary area off Tanger-Med in the Strait of Gibraltar;
New areas to be avoided Off Friesland;
Deep-water routes forming parts of routeing system "Off Friesland";
Amendments to the mandatory route for tankers from North Hinder to the German Bight;
Amendment to the existing two-way route in the Great North-East Channel, Torres Strait;
Establishment of two-way routes and a precautionary area at Jomard Entrance, Papua New Guinea;
Revocation of the Area To Be Avoided in the region of the Great Barrier Reef;

Mandatory ship reporting systems
Amendments to the existing mandatory ship reporting system Off Chengshan Jiao Promontory.

E-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP) agreed 
The Sub-Committee finalised the draft e-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP), which includes recommended tasks to progress the implementation of e-navigation, for submission to the MSC for approval. 

The e-navigation concept aims to integrate existing and new navigational tools, in particular electronic tools, in an all-embracing system that will contribute to enhanced navigational safety while simultaneously reducing the burden on the navigator. The objective is to facilitate a holistic approach to the interaction between shipboard and shore-based users, under an overarching e-navigation architecture. 

Overarching e-navigation architecture 

Five prioritized e-navigation solutions are set out in the Strategy Implementation Plan: 

S1: improved, harmonized and user-friendly bridge design;
S2: means for standardized and automated reporting; 
S3: improved reliability, resilience and integrity of bridge equipment and navigation information; 
S4: integration and presentation of available information in graphical displays received via communication equipment; and 
S5: improved Communication of VTS Service Portfolio (not limited to VTS stations).

The SIP sets out proposed regulatory framework and technical requirements for implementation (tasks) for each solution, with a timeline for completion by 2019.    

BeiDou System (BDS) endorsed as component of WWRNS 
The Sub-Committee agreed to advise the MSC to recognize the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), operated by China, as a component of World-Wide Radionavigation System (WWRNS). The recommendation will be put forward to the MSC for consideration and recognition. 

Performance standards for shipborne BDS receiver equipment have already been adopted (resolution MSC.379(93)). 

A Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is a satellite system that provides worldwide position, velocity and time determination for multimodal use. It includes user receivers, one or more satellite constellations, ground segments and a control organization with facilities to monitor and control the worldwide conformity of the signals. Currently, two satellite navigation systems are recognized by IMO for use under the WWRNS: the Global Positioning System (GPS), operated for the Government of the United States by the United States Air Force; and the GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), managed for the Government of the Russian Federation by the Russian Space Agency.  

Recognition of Iridium as GMDSS service provider considered
Following consideration of information presented by the United States for the recognition of the satellite communications company Iridium as a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) mobile satellite service provider, the Sub-Committee agreed to invite the MSC to consider and decide on which independent body should produce a technical and operational assessment of the information and provide a report to the NCSR Sub-Committee for evaluation.  Following receipt and evaluation of the assessment, the Sub-Committee would then make a recommendation to the MSC as to the adoption of an MSC resolution recognizing the new maritime mobile satellite services provider.

Review and modernization of the GMDSS continued
The Sub-Committee moved forward with its review of the GMDSS, approving the high-level review which was prepared by a correspondence group and further developed by the IMO/International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Experts Group. 

The high-level review proposes some revisions to the functional requirements in the current SOLAS chapter IV, Radiocommunications, which was adopted in 1988 with a full phase-in of its requirements by 1999.  The current chapter IV sets out the undertakings by contracting governments to provide radiocommunications services as well as ship requirements for carriage of radiocommunications equipment, in order to improve the chances of rescue following an accident.  The modernization plan, which aims to take into account new technologies available, is expected to be completed in 2016 and approved in 2017.

The Sub-Committee further progressed the work under the detailed GMDSS review.  Issues under consideration for the detailed review include: revised definitions for sea areas A3 and A4; usage of satellite systems in coastal areas; use of voice communications; the expected evolution of satellite EPIRB systems, such as the Medium Earth Orbit Search And Rescue system (MEOSAR); and the review of existing systems considered for replacement, and existing and new systems for Inclusion in the modernized GMDSS.

The Correspondence Group on the Review of the GMDSS was re-established to develop proposals on issues identified in the draft outcome of the detailed review of the GMDSS and submit an interim report to the Joint IMO/ITU Experts Group, followed by a report to the next Sub-Committee session (NCSR 2). 

Revised Joint IMO/IHO/WMO Manual on Maritime Safety Information agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed the revised and updated Joint IMO/ International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)/ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Manual on Maritime Safety Information for approval by the MSC.

The Manual provides a practical guide on the drafting of navigational warnings and the issuance of meteorological forecasts and warnings under the GMDSS Maritime Safety Information service. Navigational warnings are issued under the auspices of the IMO/IHO World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS).  Meteorological forecasts and warnings are issued under the auspices of the IMO/WMO World-Wide Met-ocean Information and Warnings Service (WWMIWS). 

Amendments to the IAMSAR Manual agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft revisions to Volumes I, II and III of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual, to be included in the 2016 edition, for approval by the MSC. 

The amendments include addition of information relating to self-locating datum marker buoy (SLDMB); amending and addition of information relating to survival times in cold water; and amendments to the Maritime Search and Rescue Recognition Code (MAREC Code) to warn that when sending email, fax, SMS or some other electronic messages, there is no guarantee that the recipient receives the message or that the message is being processed. 

ECDIS good practice guidance agreed 
The Sub-Committee endorsed the draft MSC circular on ECDIS - Guidance for good practice for forwarding to the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) for review of provisions related to ECDIS training and the use of simulators and then to the MSC for approval. 

The good practice guidance incorporates and updates previously issued circulars relating to ECDIS, including advice on addressing operating anomalies, maintenance and training. 

Revised AIS guidelines agreed
The Sub-Committee endorsed the draft Assembly resolution on Revised guidelines for the onboard operational use of shipborne automatic identification systems (AIS), for submission to the MSC and then to the next IMO Assembly for adoption, to update earlier guidelines (first adopted in 2001 and revised in 2003).  

Guidance on Cospas-Sarsat agreed
The Sub-Committee endorsed the revised MSC.1/Circ.1210 on Guidance on Cospas-Sarsat International 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database (IBRD) for approval by the MSC. 

Draft IMO position for WRC-15 agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed the draft IMO position for the ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC-15), concerning matters relating to maritime services, for approval by MSC 94 and submission to ITU’s Conference Preparatory Meeting, scheduled to take place in March 2015.