Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC), 5th session, 22-26 January 2018 (opening address)


(22 to 26 January 2018)

Excellencies, distinguished guests, distinguished delegates, good morning.

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to the fifth 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.

Before addressing the work of your Sub-Committee, I have to mention with great sadness the recent tragic accident involving the collision of the oil tanker Sanchi and the bulk carrier CF Crystal in the East China Sea on 6 January 2018. On behalf of the IMO membership, the Secretariat and myself, I would like to send our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of the seafarers from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Bangladesh who perished in the accident.  I would also like to commend all those involved in the international search and rescue and fire-fighting operations.  While it is too early to fully evaluate the extent of the incident, I look forward to receiving, in due course, the report of the casualty investigation, so that the Organization can do whatever may be necessary to reduce the chances of such a tragic event happening again.

Distinguished delegates,

Coming back to the fifth session of the SDC Sub-Committee, as this is the first meeting of 2018, I wish you all, and the maritime community at large, a happy, healthy, productive and successful new year.

2017 was busy but very productive, culminating in a successful Assembly meeting where, among many other achievements, we adopted the new Strategic Plan for the Organization for the six-year period 2018 to 2023. With this, we are now officially moving towards a more effective rule making and implementation process and will further develop the "knowledge-based Organization" concept, leading us to a better equipped IMO to improve our future performance.

All the success and achievements of last year would not have been possible without our well established system of collaboration and cooperation, and I will do my utmost to open even further our communication channels which are paramount in facing together the challenges that lay ahead for the shipping industry.

I urge you to be proactive, and to deliver on the key issues that you will be addressing, not only during this meeting but throughout the year and beyond, and fulfilling the expectations and objectives set for the Organization, creating and sustaining an even safer, more secure, more environmentally friendly and more efficient maritime world.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about this year's World Maritime Day theme, which is "IMO 70: Our heritage – better shipping for a better future". We are planning a series of events and initiatives to commemorate this landmark. Whilst I look forward to your participation in some or all of those events, I would also encourage you to embrace the theme and use this occasion to reflect and showcase how the Organization has adapted over the years as a crucial player to the global supply chain, and to be passionate about the IMO family. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness of our work and our future and to improve our international image. We owe it to the shipping industry and in particular to the seafarers.

This year’s World Maritime Day will be celebrated at IMO Headquarters on 27 September, and the annual parallel event will be organized by the Government of Poland.


Distinguished delegates,

I would now like to highlight some key issues among the various items on the agenda of SDC 5.

MSC 98 approved draft SOLAS amendments regarding operational information after a flooding casualty for new and existing ships, with a view to adoption at MSC 99, provided that SDC 5 confirmed the application date for these amendments and finalized the draft Guidelines on stability computers and shore-based support for passenger ships constructed before 1  January  2014.

In this regard, the finalization of the draft Guidelines and the preparation of the advice requested by MSC on the application date of the aforementioned draft SOLAS amendments should be a priority for your Sub-Committee this week.

I would also like to recall that the MSC had agreed that the lessons learned from the Costa Concordia accident should be incorporated in IMO instruments as soon as possible. Accordingly, I would urge your Sub-Committee to further progress the development of amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/8-1 on the availability of passenger ships' electrical power supply in cases of flooding from side raking damage.

Another important matter is the safety of mooring operations. In order to address this issue, it is of utmost importance to finalize the draft revised SOLAS regulation II-1/3-8 and make progress with the development of the new Guidelines for safe mooring operations on all ships, the revised Guidance on shipboard towing and mooring equipment, as well as separate operational Guidelines on safe mooring operations. I am looking forward to seeing the results of your work in this regard.

Furthermore, you will recall 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, to be used as the basis for the development of a relevant new chapter of SOLAS and an associated new Code, and also approved an updated roadmap for future work on the issue. I am confident your Sub-Committee will take appropriate action to continue the consideration of the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages, as planned.

I would also stress the importance of the consideration of draft amendments to the 2011 ESP Code proposed by IACS in order to deal with the recent updates to their Unified Requirements, related in particular to the goal-based ship construction standards for bulk carriers and oil tankers.

Last but not least, I am very pleased to note that the development of second generation intact stability criteria is nearing its completion after more than 15 years of hard work.

Distinguished delegates,

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

I would like to inform you about the appointment within the IMO Secretariat of the new Director of the Maritime Safety Division, Ms. Heike Deggim, and of Mr. Hiroyuki Yamada, new Director of the Conference Division. I believe that both of them will do their utmost to serve all of you here at this meeting and I am sure they will be able to count on your full support.

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

Thank you.