Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 97th session, 21-25 November 2016 (closing remarks)


(25 November 2016)

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates and observers,
As we are approaching the end of another busy and fruitful MSC session, your hard work and the decisions made over this week should be recognized with immense appreciation. In the interest of time, I will only mention a few matters.

First, with regard to the GBS (goal-based standards) verification audit, your Committee has progressed the draft amendments to part A (verification process) of the GBS Verification Guidelines (resolution MSC.296(87)), aiming at finalization at the next session. You also updated the timetable and schedule of activities for the implementation of the GBS verification scheme. On this occasion, I would reiterate that the GBS audit is a continuous process, which will improve maritime safety.

Second, concerning the carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel, you have [adopted an MSC resolution on Interim Recommendations on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages].  You have also finalized the roadmap for further developments, with a view to developing a new code and a new SOLAS chapter.  I appreciate your effort at this session, in spite of the complexity of the issue. We look forward to a long-term solution.


Mr. Chair,

I would like to commend the Committee for adopting the amendments to the SOLAS Convention and its mandatory codes, including the FSS Code, the IGC Code, the 2011 ESP Code and the 2008 IS Code, which is also mandatory under the 1988 Load Lines Protocol, and a long list of MSC resolutions and circulars related to safety issues.  The Committee also adopted amendments to the STCW Convention and the Code.

You further discussed on how to correct errors in IMO instruments according to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969 as well as issues related to early implementation and application circulars.

In relation to the outcomes of various sub-committees, the Committee, as usual, adopted or approved many resolutions, draft amendments to mandatory instruments, together with numerous circulars. All this has been possible due to technical considerations and deliberations by various sub-committees. I commend them for their hard work and professionalism.


On this occasion, I am very pleased to inform the Committee that the Organization has launched a new kid-friendly website, specially commissioned to show how IMO works to protect the marine environment.  To this end, you will all recognize that we cannot protect the environment unless we ensure safety is assured.  And through this, we reduce the risk of damage to the environment.  For this reason, it has been launched during your meeting.


In concluding, I thank you all and, in particular, the Committee’s Chair Mr. Brad Groves of Australia.  This has been a very demanding session, in particular with just five days.  But Mr. Chair, you have been successful once again in leading the Committee diligently and confidently to achieve consensus in all its decisions.  With your patience and diplomatic skills, as well as your determined leadership, you have secured the resolution of many complex, difficult and sensitive issues, to the satisfaction of all concerned.

I would also like to thank the Vice-Chair, Mr. Juan Cubisino of Argentina, who supported the Chair for the smooth conduct of the meeting.

I thank and congratulate all of you on your achievements and extend sincere thanks to the officers of the Committee’s subsidiary bodies, in particular the chairs and vice-chairs of the sub-committees.  With such technical inputs by the sub-committees, the outcomes of MSC are meaningful.  I also wish to express my sincere thanks to the chairs of the various groups convened during this session to support the Committee’s work, namely, Mr. M. Núñez of Spain, Mr. H. Tunfors of Sweden and
Mr. J. Sirkar of the United States.  And, of course, thanks to the coordinators of the various correspondence groups that have reported to this session. Also, I would like to thank all the Member States for the valuable presentations, full of information.

Mr. Chair,

Before I close my statement, I wish to thank those delegates for whom this has been their last MSC session and whose contributions to the work of the Committee and the Organization have been appreciated by all concerned.  I am sure you all join me in wishing them well for the future.

Last but not least, I cannot forget to mention my appreciation to all staff in the Maritime Safety Division for their tremendous efforts and dedication.  I also thank all staff in the Conference Division, including the Translation and Document sections, as well as the interpreters.  All of them often work very long hours and, together with many officers from other Divisions, serve your meetings tirelessly and with high quality support services.

With this, I wish to conclude my closing statement by saying that, in my view, this has been another successful meeting with many outcomes to be proud of.  Now it is time to put the work aside and take a well-deserved rest.  To those who are staying in London I wish you a pleasant weekend and to those who are returning home, I wish you a safe journey and look forward to seeing you again  next year.

Thank you.