Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 105) - closing remarks

Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 105) 

 20-29 April 2022

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim closing remarks

Madam Chair, Excellencies, distinguished delegates and observers,

We have come to the end of another very busy session of the Maritime Safety Committee. The Committee has once again achieved many important accomplishments, still under the challenging conditions of meeting remotely.

In the interest of time, I will only highlight some of the most important achievements:

  • the adoption of amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and five other mandatory instruments, along with the adoption of 22 resolutions and approval of six circulars to complete the revision and modernization of the GMDSS;

  • the approval of the road map and work plan for the development of a Code for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships;

  • the adoption of Model Regulations on Domestic Ferry Safety;

  • the approval of draft SOLAS amendments related to fuel oil safety;
  • the approval of the method of work of the ILO/IMO Joint Working Group focused on the human element, together with terms of reference addressing bullying and harassment, strengthening our partnership with UN sister organizations;

  • the approval of a number of important new outputs, including the revision of the STCW Convention and Code; and

  • the adoption of a resolution addressing actions to facilitate the urgent evacuation of seafarers as a result of the armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

One of the most significant achievements of this meeting was undoubtedly the approval of amendments to SOLAS 1974 and related instruments concerning the modernization of the GMDSS. This is truly an important milestone in the history of the GMDSS. I sincerely congratulate your Committee, the NCSR Sub-Committee, intersessional working groups and everyone who has contributed to this work in the spirit of collaboration over more than a decade. Well done to all involved for making this happen.

I would like to also thank and congratulate all of you for your contributions and spirit of cooperation, without which the remarkable progress made during this session would not have been possible.

My sincere appreciation goes to your Chair, Ms. Mayte Medina of the United States. Madame Chair, despite the most challenging issues you were confronted with during this session, some expected and some unexpected, you once again demonstrated excellent leadership in steering the affairs of the Committee with a strong voice and steady hand to great success.

I would also like to thank your Vice-Chair, Mr. Theofilos Mozas of Greece, for his support throughout this session.

My thanks also go to the Chairs of the working and drafting groups which convened during this session,
in particular Mr. Tunfors of Sweden, Mr. Ski of Norway, Mr. Allgeier and Mr. Boldt of Germany and Mr. Ramirez of the Marshall Islands, who ensured a successful outcome of their respective groups.

As always, this is also an opportune moment to thank those delegates and experts who may be leaving us. A number of long-serving IMO staff are retiring, and this is the last MSC session for them. I would mention, in particular, Mr. Hans Van Der Graaf and Ms. Christine Gregory of the Maritime Safety Division. Taking this opportunity, I would like to say a few words about them. 

Let me start with Mr. Van Der Graaf. Hans joined IMO in 2006 as a maritime communication and search and rescue expert. In 2018 he was appointed to the post of Deputy Director, Sub-Division for Operational Safety and Human Element. Hans has the right skills to handle the complex technical elements of IMO's work, thus helping and steering the Chairs of the Sub-Committees under his supervision, NCSR and HTW, and ultimately this Committee to achieve good results. His expert knowledge and superb management skills will be sorely missed.

I would also like to say a few words about Ms Christine Gregory. Christine started her journey with IMO in 1985 and has been an Administrative Officer in the Maritime Safety Division since 2005, supporting a number of respective Directors. During her long service in the Organization, Christine has come to know the mechanisms of IMO in general and the Maritime Safety Committee in particular, inside out. Her diligence and attention to detail are legendary. 

I would also like to express, once again, my sincere gratitude to the outgoing Chair of the SDC Sub‑Committee, Mrs. Turid Stemre of Norway, for her many significant contributions to the Organization over her long years of affiliation with IMO, the latest being the approval of the IP Code at this session, for her wealth of knowledge and sharp mind, but also for her kindness.

Let me conclude by thanking the team in the Maritime Safety Division for their efforts and dedication, under the lead of the Director and Secretary of your Committee, Mrs. Heike Deggim. My thanks go also to your efficient and reliable moderator, and all the staff in the Conference Division, including Meeting Services and the Translation and Document Sections. The IT Section also deserves appreciation for their services, and of course special thanks, as always, go to the interpreters for facilitating our communication.  

Distinguished delegates,

It now remains for me to wish you all a nice weekend and thank you all again for your hard work, cooperation, and your continuous support to the work of the Organization. I hope you all continue to remain safe, and I look forward to seeing you soon again for the next upcoming meeting.

Thank you.