Sub-Committee on Stability and Load Lines and on Fishing Vessels' Safety (SLF), 51st session: 14-18 July 2008

Explanatory notes for revised subdivision and damage stability regulations agreed
Explanatory Notes for the revised SOLAS chapter II-1, which enters into force on 1 January 2009, were agreed by the Sub-Committee on Stability and Load Lines and on Fishing Vessels' Safety (SLF), when it met for its 51st session.
The Explanatory Notes will be submitted to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) 85th session in November-December 2008 for adoption.
A draft circular on Guidelines for flooding detection systems was also finalized, for submission to MSC 85, for approval.
The revised SOLAS chapter II-1 harmonizes the provisions on subdivision and damage stability for passenger and cargo ships. The revised provisions in parts A, B and B-1 will be applicable to new ships built after the entry into force date of 1 January 2009.
The revisions were based on the "probabilistic" method of determining damage stability, which is itself based on the detailed study of data collected by IMO relating to collisions. Because it is based on statistical evidence concerning what actually happens when ships collide, the probabilistic concept is believed to be far more realistic than the previously-used "deterministic" method.
Damage stability regulations for ro ro passenger ships
A correspondence group was established to examine the impact of the damage stability requirements of the revised SOLAS chapter II-1 amendments on ro-ro passenger ships, in comparison with the SOLAS 1990 regulations in association with the Stockholm Agreement, in order to identify whether the level of safety between them is generally equivalent.
Implementation of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol -action plan agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed an action to tackle the lack of sufficient ratifications to the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol in order to bring this important treaty on fishing vessel safety into force.
The action plan proposes sending out a questionnaire to countries with a large fishing fleet to request information on the technical (and any other) issues that pose a barrier to ratification. For example, states will be asked: Currently the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol is applicable to all seagoing fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over. If Article 3 was amended, so that it would only be applicable to fishing vessels; fishing on the high seas or in the waters of another State, would this reduce an obstacle to ratification?
On the basis of the responses, a draft Agreement could be drafted during 2010, which could be approved by the MSC and eventually adopted by the IMO Assembly (27th session) in 2011. Following this, countries could consider ratification of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol under the terms and conditions contained in the Agreement (Countries will declare that they accept the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol under the Agreement, when they deposit an instrument of ratification). This could enable the Torremolinos Protocol to come into force within a few years.
The Torremolinos Protocol has been ratified by 15 States representing 9.85 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage, with an aggregate fishing vessel fleet of around 3,000 vessels of 24 metres in length and over,. It will enter into force one year after 15 States with at least an aggregate fleet of 14,000 vessels of 24 metres in length and over, have ratified the Protocol.
Safety of small fishing vessels - recommendations progressed
Work on developing the draft Safety recommendations for decked fishing vessels of less than 12 metres in length and undecked fishing vessels continued. The Sub-Committee agreed that the work should be completed during 2008/2009, including work on relevant chapters by other Sub-Committees, with a view to the final draft of the safety recommendations being submitted to the MSC for adoption in 2010.
Development of guidelines to assist authorities in implementing fishing vessel safety
A correspondence group was instructed to further develop draft Guidelines to assist Competent Authorities on the implementation of Part B of the Fishing Vessel Safety Code, the Voluntary Guidelines and the Safety Recommendations (i.e. the revised Code of Safety for Fishermen and Fishing Vessels, 2005, the Voluntary Guidelines for the Design, Construction and Equipment of Small Fishing Vessels, 2005 and the Safety recommendations for decked fishing vessels of less than 12 metres in length and undecked fishing vessels.)
A preliminary list of contents was agreed, to include legal implications; administrative requirements; capacity-building; enforcement; operational safety; understanding technical provisions; and human element.
Damage stability provisions of draft guidelines for drainage systems agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed specifications for the drainage capacity and the "scupper grating" construction for inclusion in the draft Guidelines for drainage systems in closed vehicle and ro-ro spaces and special category spaces, which are being developed to support the amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/20 (Protection of vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces), adopted by the MSC at its 84th session in May 2008. The amendments adopted relate to drainage of special category and ro-ro spaces to prevent accumulation of water on the vehicle deck of ro-ro ships. The proposed specifications were forwarded to the Sub-Committee on Fire Protection (FP), which is co-coordinating the development of the draft guidelines.
Early application of 2008 IS Code
The Sub-Committee agreed a draft MSC circular on Early application of the International Code on Intact Stability, 2008 (2008 IS Code), to encourage its implementation, for submission to MSC 85 for approval. The revised draft International Code on Intact Stability, 2008 (2008 IS Code) and the associated draft amendments to the 1988 LL Protocol and 1974 SOLAS Convention to make the 2008 IS Code mandatory, were approved at MSC 83 for adoption at MSC 85.
It was agreed future work on intact stability-related matters would be carried out under the re-named agenda item "Development of new generation intact stability criteria", based on a framework for the new generation intact stability criteria and draft terminology for the new generation intact stability criteria, which were agreed in principle during the session. The Correspondence Group on Intact Stability was re-established to work intersessionally on developing new generation intact stability criteria.
Improving the 1969 TM Convention
The Sub-Committee discussed ways to facilitate the future adoption of amendments to the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969 and noted that it would be desirable to introduce a tacit amendment procedure into the Convention.
This would facilitate resolution of the difficulties posed in applying the Convention in a uniform and transparent manner to ship types that were not prevalent when the Convention was adopted and might obviate the need for a large number of uniform interpretations, disseminated by means of TM circulars. This problem is applicable to many ship types, including: open top containerships; offshore supply vessels; ro ro vessels, especially car carriers; submersible heavy lift vessels; and the many novel types developed since the enforcement of the Convention in 1984.
A correspondence group was established to consider the various options and make recommendations.