Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), 4th session, 20-24 March 2017 (opening address)


(20 to 24 March 2017)

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

At the outset, I would like to highlight that, within its purposes, IMO has to provide the machinery for cooperation among Governments in the field of international shipping regulations relating to technical matters. In this regard, I encourage you to strengthen this cooperation and join together in order to promote the availability of shipping services to the whole world trade equally.

Within this framework, this year's World Maritime Day theme, "Connecting Ships, Ports and People", should contribute to building on the long-standing effort of Member States towards the achievement of those objectives.

It has always been my firm belief that the maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people who operate them, can and should play a significant role in helping Member States to create the conditions necessary for increased employment, prosperity and stability ashore through the promotion of trade by sea; enhancing the port and maritime sector as wealth creators both on land and, through the development of a sustainable blue economy, at sea.

IMO makes a significant contribution towards the achievement of these goals through its policies, based on the development of international instruments which are the most effective tools used by all stakeholders to improve the safety of life at sea, ensure the protection of the marine environment and contribute to sustainable development.

In this context, I would once again take this opportunity to highlight the importance of analysing statistics related to marine casualties and incidents caused by various factors. To this end, it is important that the Organization, through its appropriate bodies, deals proactively with safety issues and identifies the root causes with a view to ensuring that such accidents and incidents are not repeated.


Furthermore, I would now like to stress the relevant role played in the execution of IMO policies by those technical and operational matters related to the systems and equipment under your Sub-Committee’s purview, including machinery and electrical installations of all types of ships and mobile units covered by IMO instruments; testing and approval of systems and equipment; life-saving appliances and arrangements; fire safety provisions; and analyses of casualty and incident records relating to ship systems and equipment.

It is by means of the development of, and amendments to, IMO instruments based on the qualified and comprehensive consideration of all technical matters related to the aspects just mentioned that your Sub-Committee makes its significant contribution.


Distinguished delegates,

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

Within the work plan agreed at MSC 95 for the development of functional requirements for SOLAS chapter III, the Committee decided that SSE 4 would finalize the functional requirements for submission to MSC 98 for approval. In this context, it is relevant to note that MSC 98 is also waiting for the outcome of the Sub-Committee on the development of functional requirements of SOLAS chapter III in order to make a decision on the future direction of the Safety Level Approach (SLA).

Among the recommendations of the MOL Comfort casualty investigation report, the need for developing new requirements for ventilation of survival crafts was highlighted. In this context, the Sub-Committee will have to consider possible methods for improving the microclimate inside survival craft and whether the provisions to be developed should, from the very beginning, be applicable to all craft and not only to totally enclosed lifeboats.

In order to support the implementation of the Polar Code, I am confident that your Sub-Committee will take appropriate action to embark on the consequential work related to the Code, in particular, to prepare a work plan which addresses any additional requirements related to life-saving appliances and arrangements on board ships operating in polar waters, and to consider the necessary performance criteria for life-saving appliances and arrangements.

Regarding the finalization of the requirements for Onboard Lifting Appliances and Winches, it is of the utmost importance that your Sub-Committee makes clear decisions on issues such as the impact of this equipment on the ship’s certification, the scope of application of the new provisions and the training and education of “competent persons“.

Moving onto another fundamental component of your Sub-Committee, which is fire safety, I would like to recall that MSC 97 approved a new output on “Review SOLAS chapter II-2 and associated codes to minimize the incidence and consequences of fires on ro-ro spaces and special category spaces of new and existing ro-ro passenger ships“ and, given the high number of areas to be considered in the analysis included in the original proposal, instructed SSE 4 to consider the scope and the work plan in order to advise MSC 98 accordingly. This output should significantly contribute to the reduction of catastrophic fire casualties on board ro-ro passenger ships.

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

- the finalization of the amendments to the 2009 MODU Code prepared in light of the investigations of the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010;

- the finalization of the review of two sets of guidelines as a result of the adoption of the Requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear (resolution MSC.402(96)); and

- the consideration of the application of Anti-Crushing Protection to watertight doors.
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 and, inspired by the customary IMO spirit of cooperation and under the able leadership of your Chair, Dr. Susumu Ota of Japan, you will make sound, balanced and timely decisions. As always, the Secretariat will be standing by to give you all the support required.  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.