Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 9), 23-27 January 2023 (opening remarks)



(23 to 27 January 2022)

Good morning distinguished delegates and observers.

I am pleased to welcome you all to the ninth session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction and, as this is the first meeting of the year, a very happy New Year to you all. 2023 promises to be a very eventful year for the Maritime Community. We will celebrate 75 years of IMO and the 50th anniversary of MARPOL among others.

We have aptly chosen this year's World Maritime theme: "MARPOL at 50 - Our commitment goes on". This theme will provide the opportunity for the maritime community to highlight the relevance and importance of the MARPOL treaty now and into the future. The theme reflects the Organization's long history of protecting the environment from the impact of shipping via a robust regulatory framework and emphasizes our ongoing commitment. 

Your subcommittee is also slated to undertake very important work this year. In this regard, I would like to highlight the importance of the work of your Sub-Committee concerning the reduction of underwater noise from ships which will be a crucial contribution to minimize the adverse effects ship noise has on the marine environment, in particular marine wildlife and indigenous communities.

I urge you to progress this work, taking into account the latest research, and to find implementable solutions and incentives for the industry that will ensure the uptake of the Revised Guidelines for the reduction of underwater noise from commercial shipping while remaining in compliance with IMO's energy efficiency requirements.

Among the other important agenda items that you will consider this week, I would like to single out the following:

  • the development of safety objectives and functional requirements of the Guidelines on alternative design and arrangements for SOLAS chapter II-1 as an important step to permit safe novel and innovative designs for ships; 

  • the revision of the Interim explanatory notes for the SOLAS safe return to port requirements for large passenger ships which has become necessary after more than a decade of advancement in technology and design;

  • the finalization of SOLAS amendments to apply requirements for emergency towing equipment for tankers to other types of ships, so as to ensure that loss of propulsion or steering of a large ship will not lead to an accident; and

  • the finalization of the revision of the 1979, 1989 and 2009 MODU Codes and associated MSC circulars to prohibit the use of materials containing asbestos.

Before concluding, I would like to mention one more aspect of your important work. This Sub-Committee finalized the Interim guidelines on the second-generation intact stability criteria, as well as the associated Explanatory Notes, but your responsibility does not end there.
Experts represented here need to evaluate the appropriateness, effectiveness and the degree to which the second-generation intact stability criteria can be applied to ships of different sizes and types and take steps to identify necessary amendments so as to make ships safer in the design phase.

I therefore would like to emphasize the importance of regular reporting of test results and academic research on the matter to this Sub-Committee, so as to change the Interim character of the guidelines into a more robust IMO instrument in the near future.

Distinguished delegates,

You have many other important issues before you during this week but I am confident that, under the expert guidance of your new Chair, Mr. Erik Tvedt of Denmark, ably supported by your Vice-Chair, Mr. Jaideep Sirkar of the United States, as well as the staff of the Maritime Safety Division, you will be able to successfully navigate through all the challenging issues you are expected to consider during this week.

In concluding, I extend best wishes to all of you for every success in your deliberations and I invite you all to join me and the Secretariat at my welcome reception in the Delegates' Lounge after the close of today's business.  

With this, I wish you every success and a happy, prosperous and healthy year for 2023.

Thank you.