Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue (NCSR), 1st session (opening address)

1st session
(30 June to 4 July 2014)

Good morning distinguished delegates. 

Welcome to the opening of the new Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue, NCSR. As you are all aware, we have restructured all the sub-committees and we have already conducted four of the new sub-committees – NCSR 1 will be the fifth. In the course of July, we have the III Sub-Committee and in September, the CCC Sub-Committee. This is a continuous process within our activities to ensure the efficient operation of this Organization.

This Sub-Committee is without a doubt, the biggest Sub-Committee in terms of participants and also has an impressive list of documents. So clearly, we will face a challenge. This new Sub-Committee is the outcome our intensive consideration and discussion with all parties involved, to ensure more efficiency and, as a matter of amalgamation of the COMSAR and NAV Sub-Committees, obviously this Sub-Committee will have the most severe impact from the restructuring. 

Nevertheless, we have to face the requirements of this Organization and face the current serious situation regarding resource limitation but, at the same time, the continuous flow of new issues to be handled by this Organization. The objectives of the restructuring is clearly to maximise efficiency and maintain and secure the expected level of outcomes. I hope that the expected outcome of the NAV and COMSAR Sub-Committees, now amalgamated, will be maintained and that this new Sub-Committee will continue to deliver the outcome expected by Member Governments as well as the international maritime community. 

I am sure the advantage and benefits of amalgamation could be utilized and, disadvantages, such as limited time and restriction to number of groups, sub-groups, working groups and drafting groups, could be overcome through enhanced cooperation and intensified efficiency, so that the expected outcome could be produced as the output of this amalgamated new Sub-Committee. I would humbly ask for the cooperation of every member of the Sub-Committee to contribute to its success. 

Having expressed my sincere wish to see efficiency and excellent work at this session, I would now like to touch upon some of the important agenda items of the meeting this week.

On routeing of ships, ship reporting and related matters, as usual, you will be considering routeing and ship reporting systems and, with future maritime and coastal sustainable development in mind, Member Governments may wish to consider reviewing existing systems, particularly those that have been in place for a number of years. The balance between environmental protection and safe navigation must always be maintained. I expect again the continuous excellent work of the Sub-Committee.

On e-navigation, in the context of the development of a strategy implementation plan for e-navigation, I appreciate the progress made by the correspondence group established at NAV 59. I would like to emphasise the importance of prompt finalization of the strategy implementation plan in order to start with the implementation of e-navigation as soon as possible. I am sure that both the industry and users are eager to see the real, tangible results of our discussions on e-navigation after 8 years of consideration. 

Upon finalization of the strategy implementation plan, I would also like to encourage interested Member States to submit proposals for new planned/unplanned outputs to the Committee in order to progress the e-navigation-related tasks that would need to be performed during the coming years in accordance with the strategy implementation plan. 

On the review and modernization of the GMDSS, I am pleased to see that the review and modernization of the GMDSS is progressing in accordance with the Work Plan approved by MSC 90 and that the Sub-Committee is about to approve the draft outcome of the high-level review and to progress the preparation of the detailed review for finalization at NCSR 2.  The work done intersessionally by the Correspondence Group and the Joint IMO/ITU Experts Group should be recognized and I thank them for their enormous contribution on this matter.

Following the review of the GMDSS, which should be completed next year, you should prepare and finalize the modernization plan for approval in 2017, taking into account parallel developments that may be conducted under e-navigation.

On the issue of the recognition of the Iridium mobile satellite system as a GMDSS service provider, the recognition of the Iridium mobile satellite system as a service provider of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is an important issue on your agenda. GMDSS services are of vital importance for the safety of navigation and the rescue of persons in distress at sea, including distress alerts and search and rescue coordination and related communications. It is therefore important that you give careful consideration to the proposal to ensure it fulfils the performance criteria adopted by the Organization. 

And as the last point, I wish to raise the draft Polar Code, the draft Code for ships operating in polar waters has been reviewed by MSC 93 and a number of issues were passed on to you for your expert advice and consideration on aspects related to safety of navigation and communication. It is essential that you finalize the chapters related to Safety of Navigation and Communication so as to enable MSC 94 to adopt the Code.

Those are the important issues I wanted to highlight for this Sub-Committee.

Thank you.