The aim of this report is to provide an overview of the key discussions and outcomes of the 97th session of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 97).
Key outcomes of MSC 97
Two working groups (WG) and one drafting group (DG) were formed:
WG1 Working Group on Carriage of industrial personnel
WG2 Working Group on Goal-based Standards
DG1 Drafting Group on Amendments to Mandatory Instruments
Minimum propulsion power to maintain maneuverability of ships in adverse conditions
The 2013 interim guidelines for the minimum power requirements of ships in case of heavy seas will be submitted to the MEPC 71 and once finalized will be forwarded to the Maritime Safety Committee for considering that all safety aspects have been addressed and covered.
Compliance with the 0.50% m/m sulphur content of fuel oil requirement from 2020
A study on fuel oil availability undertaken on behalf of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) found that there are no major barriers to producing enough compliant fuels to meet the 0.50% sulphur content requirement by 2020 and therefore it was decided the effective date to be the 1 January 2020. Although PPR 4 sub-committee has been instructed to consider all matters related to the implementation of this decision, the Committee considered that this decision should have been reported to MSC as the most relevant Committee to consider the safety issues of the implementation of such decision. It was requested that MEPC to report the outcome of the PPR 4 to MSC.
There is also an ongoing correspondence group that deals with the development of technical provisions for the safety of ships using low-flashpoint fuels that reports to the CCC sub-committee that agreed to amend the IGF Code regarding fuels cells but no decision was made for low-flashpoint fuels.
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Safety standards for the carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages
The Committee agreed that there is an urgent need for an interim solution pending the development and entry into force of a new chapter of SOLAS along with a new code to address the carriage of industrial personnel. The preferred way forward was option 1 of MSC97/6 in which it is pointed out that a definition of industrial personnel needs to be created by means of an MSC resolution, specifically stating that industrial personnel are not passengers within the meaning of SOLAS regulation I/2 (e) and identifying the applicable interim standards within this resolution.
The WG 1 was instructed to finalize the draft MSC resolution providing interim recommendations on safe carriage of more the 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages including the definitions of industrial personnel and industrial activities that clarify the aspects (scope of personnel and activities) and types of ships to be covered in addressing the safety standards. It was also instructed to finalize the road map for further developments, time frame and long/short-term objectives.
Having considered the report of the WG, the Committee approved it in general and, in particular, to:
- Adopt the draft MSC resolution on Interim Recommendations on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel onboard vessels engaged on international voyages
- Endorse the group’s view that the proposed definitions of industrial personnel and industrial activities should be the basis for the development of the mandatory instrument
- Approve the road map for further development and instruct the SDC to follow that when developing the draft new code and the new SOLAS chapter XV
- Encourage the Member States and international organisations to submit concrete proposals for consideration at SDC 4.
Goal-based new ship construction standards
The Committee established the WG on Goal-based Standards instructing the WG to prepare draft amendment to part A of the GBS Verification Guidelines, to update the revised timetable and schedule of activities for the implementation of the GBS verification scheme and to consider potential financial arrangements for the maintenance of verification audits.
Having considered the report of the WG 2, the Committee:
- Noted the progress made by the Group on the preparation of draft amendments to the GBS Verification Guidelines
- Endorsed the WG’s recommendation to invite Member States and international organizations to submit proposals related to the concept of an ongoing systematic verification of rules, i.e. “Periodic Verification”, in the revised GBS Verification Guidelines
- Endorsed the WG’s view that the remaining work concerning the amendments to the GBS Verification Guidelines should focus on unresolved issues
- Approved the revised timetable and schedule of activities for the implementation of the GBS verification scheme
- Noted the information and data available, including the experience gained during the initial verification audits in relation to the financial arrangements in place
- Noted the views expressed by the auditors after the initial verification audits regarding financial matters
- Endorsed the WG’s recommendation to invite Member States and international organisations to submit proposals regarding financial arrangements for the maintenance of verification.
Amendments to mandatory instruments
The Committee adopted a list of proposed amendments and the requisite MSC resolutions as follows:
- Regulation II–1/3–12 and chapters II–2 and XI-1 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention
- FSS Code (chapter 13)
- IGC Code paragraph 3.2.5
- 2011 ESP Code
- 2008 IS Code Part A
- 2008 IS Code Part B
- 1978 STCW Convention
- 1978 STCW Code Part A
- 1978 STCW Code Part B
The Committee also approved the draft MSC Circulars on Notification of an amendment to paragraph 3.2.5 of the IGC Code and on Unified interpretations relating to the application of SOLAS regulations II-2/10.2.2.4.1.2, II-2/10.7.3.2.3and ii-2/19.3.1 and paragraph 126.96.36.199 of chapter 12 of the FSS Code.
Draft amendment to SOLAS chapter II – 1 on subdivision and damage stability regulations
The Committee considered paper MSC 97/3/7 proposing modifications of the formula for the required subdivision index R set out in the draft SOLAS regulation II-1/6 taking into account the insufficient evaluation of adequacy and less flexibility of design smaller ships (i.e. carrying fewer than 2,000 persons onboard). Concerns were raised of reducing the level of safety which has already been compromised from the original proposed by EMSA FSA studies. Following an in-depth discussion and because of the diversity of the Member States views on the subject, the Committee agreed to hold the adoption of the draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 on subdivision and damage stability regulations until MSC 98.
LRIT audit frequency
Documents MSC 97/7/2 and MSC 97/7/6 proposed a reduction in the frequency of audits for the International Data Exchange (IDE) at the heart of the Long Range Identification & Tracking (LRIT) system introduced by IMO in the wake of 9/11. Currently a performance audit of IDE (which is operated by EMSA) is carried out annually. However, because no shortcomings or malfunctions have been identified since the IDE became operational in 2009, it has been proposed extending the audit cycle to once every three years, with the possibility of unscheduled inspections if necessary.
The Committee was divided on that proposal. Some voiced support with the caveat that the administrative burden of performing audits and the safeguards it provides must be ‘balanced and proportional’ while others expressed concerns that extending the audit cycle could introduce new risks or affect system efficiency.
After an in-depth discussion and having taken the view that a conclusion was unlikely to be reached, the Chair proposed further discussion to resolve the debate should take place outside the committee.
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Corrections to the IGF and IGC Codes
The Committee endorsed the decision of CCC 3 to request the Secretariat to prepare a corrigendum to annex 1 to the report of MSC 95 (MSC 95/22/Add.1), containing resolution MSC. 391(95) on Adoption of the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), with a correction to paragraph 11.7.1 of the IGF Code and approved the MSC circular on Unified interpretations to the IGF and IGC Codes.
If you are interested in getting involved, you can log in to the website and join the Alternative Fuels for Shipping SIG.
Additional performance and test standards for the equipment and systems on board ships operating in polar waters
The Committee instructed the SSE to review the LSA Code and the relevant IMO resolutions to adapt current testing and performance standards to the Polar Code provisions or develop additional requirements for life-saving appliances in operation in polar waters. SSE has also been instructed to develop guidelines on extinguishing media at polar service temperatures and consider necessary amendments to current standards for firefighters’ outfits.
Measures to enhance maritime security – Guidelines for Cyber Risk Management
The Committee considered a proposal for the development of mandatory guidelines for maritime cyber risk management and a recommendation that all Member States to develop their own maritime cyber security national action plan accordingly, derived from the main measures and procedures stated in the Guidelines that aimed at assisting in protecting and enhancing the resiliency of cyber systems supporting the safe, secure, and efficient operations of ships. The proposal didn’t find the required support and the Committee decided to wait before considering adopting mandatory guidelines for CRM.
Future IMO meetings
PPR 4 is scheduled to take place on 16 – 20 January 2017
HTW 4 is scheduled to take place on 30 Jan – 3 February 2017
SDC 4 is scheduled to take place on 13 – 17 February 2017
NCSR 4 is scheduled to take place on 6 – 10 March 2017
SSE 4 is scheduled to take place on 20 – 24 March 2017
MSC 98 is scheduled to take place on 7 – 16 June 2017
MEPC 71 is rescheduled to take place on 3 – 7 July 2017