Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 103rd session (closing remarks)


by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO

Friday, 14 May 2021

Chair, distinguished delegates and observers,

As another fruitful session of the Maritime Safety Committee draws to a close, we can look back with satisfaction on what has been accomplished over the past 8 working days.

Due to the new format of meetings in these times of the pandemic, again you had considerably less time than usual for your discussions. At this session, the workload has been huge, also because of the postponement of several items and documents from MSC 102. Although you did not get through all the items and documents planned for this session, you have done a tremendous job in concentrating your efforts on priorities. As we are now approaching the end of the session, I would like to acknowledge some of the major achievements:

At this session, despite the current limitations, you completed the regulatory scoping exercise for the use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships by approving its outcome for the instruments under the purview of your Committee. Although this is only the beginning of a long way to go in addressing MASS operations in the Organization’s regulatory framework, it is the all important first step, paving the way to focused discussions in order to ensure that regulation keeps pace with technological developments;

You made significant progress in demonstrating the Organization’s determination to continue to address piracy and armed robbery against ships in general, and at this session particularly in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea,  by finalizing an MSC resolution and updating an Assembly resolution for adoption by the Assembly  at the end of this year. Piracy and armed robbery against ships remain a huge threat to the lives of our seafarers and it is important to keep an ongoing dialogue in order to coordinate all efforts to address these issues. Once again, I would like to encourage Member States and all stakeholders to continue working together and take effective and efficient preventive measures;

With regards to measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of oil fuel, good progress has been made on the development of relevant mandatory SOLAS requirements. In addition, you agreed to invite Member States to consider the implementation of licensing schemes for bunker suppliers operating in their jurisdiction. I am looking forward to the finalization of these robust measures in accordance with your updated action plan; 

Valuable progress has also been made regarding the development of a model regulations for domestic ferry safety and you have agreed to establish a working group at your next session to scrutinize the draft framework developed by the Secretariat; and

You succeeded to adopt amendments to the SOLAS and STCW Conventions and a number of their associated Codes and Recommendations, which will improve the safety of ships and their crew. 

All these achievements would not have been possible without active cooperation from all of you, the delegates, and I am grateful for your continued cooperation and collaboration and unstinting support for the work of the Organization, especially under the current difficult working conditions.

In congratulating you all for your contributions to the success of this session, I would like to thank in particular your newly elected Chair, Ms. Mayte Medina of the United States. This has been a very demanding first session for you, Madam Chair, but you have managed very efficiently, diligently and confidently, to achieve consensus in all decisions. It is clear that the Committee took a wise decision in electing such an experienced and determined Chair. Under your able leadership, MSC 103 has concluded successfully.. I also thank your newly elected Vice-Chair, Mr. Mozas of Greece, for his input and valuable support provided throughout this session. 

I would also like here to thank the chairs of the working and drafting groups which convened during this session, Mr. Tunfors of Sweden, Capt. Attachie of Ghana and Mr. Allgeier and Mr. Boldt, both of Germany.

All of you adapted amazingly to our new ways of conducting meetings.

As always, this is also an opportune moment to thank those delegates and experts who may be leaving us, for their contributions to the work of the Committee and of the Organization and to wish them all the best for the future. 

Finally, I take this opportunity to appreciate the meticulous preparation and hard work of the staff in the Maritime Safety Division for their tremendous efforts and dedication, under the lead of your Secretary, Mrs. Heike Deggim. I would also like to thank your moderator, Ms. Anna Grygiel who did her best to ease the proceedings. I also thank all staff in the Conference Division, including Meeting Services and the Translation and Document Sections. The IT Section also deserves appreciation for their services.

All of them often work very long hours and serve your meetings tirelessly and with high quality support services. I also wish to say a special thank you to the interpreters, whose skills in facilitating our communication never cease to amaze. 

This was not an easy meeting but nonetheless a successful one. Now it is time for all of us to put the work aside and take a well-deserved rest. Please keep safe everyone, wherever you are.   

Thank you.