Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC), 4th session, 13-17 February 2017 (opening speech)


(13 to 17 February 2017)

Good morning, distinguished delegates, I am very pleased to welcome you to the fourth session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction. I particularly welcome those delegates who may be attending this Sub-Committee for the first time.

I am confident that IMO's goals and objectives can only be achieved when all Member States join together to implement IMO standards effectively in a uniform and harmonious manner. I urge you to continue working together globally to create and sustain an even safer, more secure, more environmentally friendly and more efficient maritime world. I will continue my effort in acting as a bridge among Member States to ensure communication and understanding, while pursuing a more efficient Organization, flexibly adapting our resources to the changing needs.


Before turning to the most important items on your agenda for this week, I wish to say a few words about this year's World Maritime Day theme, which is "Connecting Ships, Ports and People". The theme has been selected to build on the theme of 2016, "Shipping: indispensable to the world", by focussing on helping Member States to develop and implement maritime strategies that invest in a joined-up, interagency approach to address a whole range of issues, including facilitation of maritime transport, increasing efficiency, navigational safety, protection of the marine environment and maritime security.

I believe that the theme will provide a good opportunity to improve cooperation between ships and ports, develop a closer partnership between the two sectors, raise global standards and set norms for the safety, security and efficiency of ships and ports.

It has always been my firm belief that the global maritime infrastructure, which includes shipping, ports and the people who operate them, can and should play a significant role helping Member States to create safe and environment-friendly conditions for promoting trade by sea; enhancing the port and maritime sector as wealth creators both on land and, through developing a sustainable blue economy, at sea.

To this end, I want to single out that aspects related to design and construction are the most important components in ensuring the load carrying capacity of the first pillar of this year's World Maritime Day theme, which is "the ships". The term "ships" in this context means all ships, vessels, craft and mobile units covered by IMO instruments, and the aspects of design and construction include complex technical issues such as subdivision and stability; buoyancy; sea-keeping; ship arrangements, including evacuation matters; testing and approval of construction and materials; load line matters, tonnage measurement matters, safety of fishing vessels and fishermen; and survey and certification.

On this occasion, I would like to emphasize that your Sub-Committee's principal role is to ensure professional and comprehensive consideration of all technical matters related to the aspects just mentioned, including the development of any necessary amendments to relevant conventions and other mandatory and non-mandatory instruments, as well as the preparation of new mandatory and non-mandatory instruments, guidelines and recommendations, as appropriate.

In this context, I would also like to remind you of the agreement reached by the Council in its session in December 2016 on the new strategic plan for the Organization. While the overall plan will have only seven strategic directions, in order to ensure that we can focus our efforts and monitor our performance in these seven areas, the Council also reaffirmed that IMO will uphold its leadership role as the global regulator of shipping, promote greater recognition of the maritime sector's importance and enable the advancement of shipping, whilst addressing the challenges of continued developments in technology and word trade.


Distinguished delegates,

Now, I would like to highlight some key issues amongst the various agenda items for SDC 4.

MSC 97, having agreed to hold the adoption of the draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 on subdivision and damage stability regulations in abeyance until MSC 98, noted that this would still allow for the amendments, if adopted at MSC 98, to enter into force as planned, i.e. on 1 January 2020. In this regard, the finalization of the draft Explanatory Notes to the SOLAS chapter II-1 subdivision and damage stability regulations should be a priority for your Sub-Committee this week.

I would also like to recall that MSC had agreed the lessons learned from the Costa Concordia accident should be incorporated into IMO instruments as soon as possible. Accordingly, I would urge your Sub-Committee to progress the work on evacuation analysis for passenger ships, with a view to finalizing draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/13 and chapter 13 of the FSS Code with regard to open decks.

In order to address the safety of mooring operations it is of utmost importance to finalize the draft Guidelines on the design of safe mooring arrangements and developing guidelines on the selection, identification and use of mooring lines as well as generic guidelines on inspection and/or maintenance of mooring lines.

Bearing in mind that MSC 97 adopted resolution MSC.418(97) on Interim Recommendations on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages, which should be used as a basis for the development of the draft new chapter [XV] of SOLAS and the draft new code, and approved the updated roadmap for future work, I am confident your Sub-Committee will take appropriate action to proceed with consideration of the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages, as planned.

Among the other important issues before you this week I would like to highlight:

- finalization of the draft Interim guidelines for use of Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) elements within ship structures; and

- development of second generation intact stability criteria.


Before I conclude, let me remind you that the submission of nominations for the 2017 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea is open until 14 April.

For those who are not familiar with this prestigious annual Award, it was established by the Organization to provide international recognition to individuals who, at the risk of losing their own life, perform acts of outstanding bravery while attempting to rescue persons in distress at sea or to prevent catastrophic pollution of the marine environment.

I hope you will agree that we should do our utmost to identify these remarkable people to give them the recognition they rightly deserve and I look forward to receiving your nominations.


Distinguished delegates,

I am confident that you will tackle the tasks before you successfully, inspired by the customary IMO spirit of cooperation and under the able leadership of your Chair, Mr. Kevin Hunter of the United Kingdom, ably supported by the staff of the Secretariat as always, you will make sound, balanced and timely decisions. I extend best wishes to all of you for success in your deliberations.

Finally, as is customary, all of you are cordially invited to a cocktail reception hosted by me in the Delegates' Lounge this evening.

Thank you.