Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR), 9th session, 21-30 June 2022 (closing remarks)


Delivered by Heike Deggim, Director, Maritime Safety Division, IMO

Thursday, 30 June 2022 

Chair, distinguished delegates and observers, 

Before giving my closing remarks, I note with great sadness the recent news of the explosion of a tank container fully loaded with dangerous chemicals in the port of Aqaba, Jordan. According to the news, the container fell while being loaded onto a ship causing an explosion and releasing a toxic gas cloud. At least 13 people died and about 250 were injured in the accident on Monday. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased, and with those that were injured. 

 Now to the business at hand.  

Another productive session of the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue is drawing to a close and although this session had to be conducted once again in a very different format from what we are used to for IMO meetings, we can look back with satisfaction on what has been accomplished this week, despite the challenging circumstances. 

Among the major achievements accomplished at this session are the following: 

  • approval of a number of ships’ routeing measures; 
  • draft amendments to SOLAS chapter XIV and the Polar Code concerning safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters; 
  • draft revision of the Guidelines on places of refuge for ships in need of assistance; 
  • draft amendments to SOLAS chapter V for the mandatory carriage of electronic inclinometers on certain types of ships;  
  • draft revision of the NAVTEX Manual; 
  • draft IMO position on relevant agenda items of the 2023 ITU World Radio Conference concerning matters relating to maritime services; 
  • approval of liaison statements to ITU on maritime radiocommunication matters; 
  • review of the technical and operational assessment of the BeiDou Message Service System for use in the GMDSS; 
  • draft amendments to ECDIS performance standards and revision of ECDIS Guidance for good practice;  
  • draft amendments to LRIT Performance standards and related circulars; and 
  • finalization of a number of draft MSC and COMSAR circulars in connection to the modernization of the GMDSS, emergency personal radio devices and search and rescue. 

The achievements of this session once again emphasize the fundamental role of this Organization in enhancing maritime safety. The actions taken and decisions made by your Sub-Committee are key for the implementation of effective measures to ensure safe navigation, reliable communications and improved coordination to avoid maritime accidents and enable a quick and efficient response in case of search and rescue incidents. It is imperative that this Organization should continue its active role in driving these developments, having a broad vision for the way ahead, and addressing all aspects of safety of navigation, including the human element. 

All the achievements of this session would not have been possible without active cooperation from all of you, the delegates, and I am grateful for your concerted effort in supporting the work of the Organization, showcasing a true spirit of unity and collaboration, despite the current difficult working conditions. 

 Special thanks go to your new Chair, Mr. Nigel Clifford of New Zealand, who has very ably chaired his first NCSR meeting, supported by the hard work of the Vice Chair, Mr. Alexander Schwarz of Germany, who was in charge of the Working Group on Communications. Nigel, when you started this meeting, you were faced with very challenging tasks, but with constructive input and collaboration from all delegations you managed to make substantial progress on the vital work of this Sub-Committee. Congratulations on the successful conclusion of your first meeting. 

 I would like to also thank the other Chairs of the working and expert groups for their hard work and efforts: Mr. Joris Brouwers of the Netherlands;  Mr. Stuart Shepard of Australia; and  Mr. George Detweiler of the United States. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to appreciate the work of the staff of the Maritime Safety Division for their tremendous efforts and dedication, especially your Secretary, Mr. Javier Yasnikouski and his team, including the Technical Officers that helped with the Working Groups: Mr. Osamu Marumoto, Mr. Ozkan Istanbullu and Mr. Cagri Kucukyildiz, and also your ever-reliable meeting moderator, Ms. Anna Grygiel.  

As usual, I would also like to thank all staff in the Conference Division, including the Translation and Document Sections, as well as the interpreters. All of them work very long hours to serve your meetings tirelessly.  

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my thanks to Mr. Hans van der Graaf, the Deputy Director in charge of the Subdivision for Operational Safety and Human Element who retired last month after 16 years in the service of IMO, for all his work and contributions, especially in the areas of maritime radiocommunications and search and rescue. At the same time, I would like to welcome the newly appointed Deputy Director of the Subdivision, Mr. Ismael Cobos Delgado, and wish him every success with his new duties. 

 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 and wherever you go.    

 Thank you.