Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 6), 4-8 February 2019 (opening address)


(4 to 8 February 2019)

Good morning, distinguished delegates,

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

Distinguished delegates,

I first would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about this year's World Maritime Day theme, which is "Empowering women in the maritime community". It recognizes the professional contribution of women to the maritime industry, at sea, as naval architects or, in any capacity, here in this room, challenging traditional expectations of shipping as a male-oriented industry. I may, in this respect, make you aware of the recent demise of Raye Jean Montague in October of last year, a woman who commenced her career as a clerk typist in the United States Navy in 1956, and subsequently became the first person to design a ship using a computer system. Many of her ship designs are still in use.

However, gender equality in the maritime sector is an issue still often overlooked. Our industry needs 'all hands on deck', both male and female, while taking on the challenges of transporting the vast majority of the world's goods in an efficient, safe and clean manner.

We are planning a series of events and initiatives to promote the theme throughout the year. While I look forward to your participation in some or all of those events, I would also encourage you to embrace the theme and use it to promote greater participation of women in shipping activities. This is a welcome and timely opportunity to raise awareness of our work and to continue to support the participation of women in both shore-based and sea-going work, in line with the goals outlined under SDG 5 "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls", under the slogan: Training-Visibility-Recognition.

This year's World Maritime Day will be celebrated at IMO Headquarters on 26 September, and the annual parallel event will be organized by the Government of Colombia.


I also wish to recall that Friday of this week is the 98th anniversary of Colin Archer's death, the Norwegian naval architect and shipbuilder whose most famous ship, the Fram, was used on both Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen's polar expeditions. I thought that this comes as a timely reminder as your Sub-Committee will be embarking on the development of measures making shipping in the Arctic and Antarctic safer for fishing vessels and pleasure yachts operating in those waters.

Distinguished delegates,

Turning now to the items on your agenda this week, I would like to highlight some of the key technical issues you will be considering.

In my opening remarks at your previous meeting, I addressed the development of second generation intact stability criteria to emphasize the importance of completion of this output after more than 16 years of hard work. This year, I urge the Sub-Committee to make every effort to meet its planned target for the three sets of guidelines: the specification of direct stability assessment; the preparation and approval of operational limitations and operational guidance; as well as vulnerability criteria, with a view towards finalization at SDC 7.

You are also set to continue looking into improving the safety of mooring operations by finalizing relevant draft SOLAS regulations and three associated draft guidelines, on the design of mooring arrangements; their inspection and maintenance; as well as on shipboard towing and mooring arrangements. It is my hope that this work can be completed at this session so as to better protect seafarers and shore-based mooring personnel from injuries during mooring operations.

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. An updated roadmap for the future work on the issue was also approved by the Committee. I am confident your Sub-Committee will take appropriate action to progress the work on the safe carriage of industrial personnel in accordance with the Committee’s updated roadmap.  Finally, I would stress the importance of the finalization of the consolidated version of the draft 2019 ESP Code at this session, so that the Assembly, at its forthcoming thirty-first session, may adopt the Code. 

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 capable leadership of your Chair, Mr. Kevin Hunter of the United Kingdom. I am sure that, ably supported by your excellent Vice-Chair. Ms. Turid Stemre of Norway, and 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.

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.