What’s on IMO Agenda for MSC97

IMO is about to hold its 97th session of Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) next week, 21-25 November, at IMO Headquarters, in London including many topics on the agenda for either adoption or further discussion.

Specifically, the MSC is expected to adopt:

• Draft amendments to SOLAS, including amendments to subdivision and damage stability regulations in SOLAS chapter II-1, regulation II-1/3-12 on protection against noise, regulations II-2/1 and II-2/10 on firefighting, regulations III/1.4, III/30 and III/37 on damage control drills for passenger ships, and new regulation XI-1/2-1 on harmonization of survey periods of cargo ships not subject to the ESP Code.

• Draft amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and its related STCW Code, to include new mandatory minimum training requirements for masters and deck officers on ships operating in Polar Waters; and an extension of emergency training for personnel on passenger ships.

• Draft amendments to the 2008 International code on Intact Stability (IS Code), relating to ships engaged in anchor handling operations and to ships engaged in lifting and towing operations, including escort towing.

• Draft amendments to the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code), clarifying the distribution of crew in public spaces.

• Draft amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code), aligning the wheelhouse window fire-rating requirements in the IGC Code with those in SOLAS chapter II-2.

Interim recommendations for carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk

The MSC will be invited to adopt draft Interim recommendations for carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk, which have been developed as the International Gas Carrier (IGC) Code does not specify requirements for the carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk.

The recommendations are based on the results of a comparison study of similar cargoes listed in the IGC Code, e.g. liquefied natural gas and are intended to facilitate the establishment of a tripartite agreement for a pilot ship that will be developed for the research and demonstration of safe long-distance overseas carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk.

The draft interim recommendations contain general requirements and special requirements for the carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk by ship, such as the provision of portable hydrogen detector for each crew member working in the cargo area; selection of fire detectors for detecting hydrogen fire; and appropriate safety measures to prevent formation of an explosive mixture in the case of a leakage of hydrogen.

Carriage of industrial personnel

The MSC will further discuss the way forward with regards to developing new mandatory requirements for the safe carriage of industrial personnel (such as those in the burgeoning offshore sectors). The MSC will consider supplemental legal advice regarding the introduction of mandatory safety standards for the carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel; draft definitions of industrial personnel and industrial activities, including the clarification regarding the types of ships to be covered by the new mandatory instruments and recommendations; and a roadmap for further developments, specifying the priorities, time frames, responsibilities and long- and short term objectives.

At the last session, MSC 96 endorsed the draft outline for a new proposed SOLAS chapter related to the carriage of industrial personnel, and the outline of a proposed mandatory code. The new SOLAS chapter and the new code would be aimed at ensuring the safe and efficient transfer of technicians serving and servicing installations in the growing offshore alternative energy sectors. The new chapter and code would be developed by the Sub Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC).

Addressing cargoes which may liquefy

The MSC is expected to approve draft amendments to paragraphs 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) to emphasise the responsibility of the shipper for ensuring that a test to determine the transportable moisture limit (TML) of a solid bulk cargo as well as sampling and testing for moisture content are conducted. The draft amendments would then be put forward for subsequent adoption by MSC 98 together with the next set of draft amendments to the IMSBC Code.

Goal-based standards 

The MSC is expected to consider proposals to amend the GBS Verification Guidelines, based on the experience gained during the initial verification audits.

At its last session, the MSC confirmed that ship construction rules for oil tankers and bulk carriers submitted by 12 classification societies conform to the goals and functional requirements set by the Organization for new oil tankers and bulk carriers set out in the International goal-based ship construction standards for bulk carriers and oil tankers (resolution MSC.287(87)) which were adopted in 2010.

Navigation around offshore multiple structures

The MSC will be invited to adopt, subject to subsequent confirmation by the IMO Assembly, draft amendments on a recommendation to Governments to take into account safety of navigation when multiple structures at sea, such as wind turbines, are being planned.

The proposed amendment would add a new paragraph in the General provisions on ships’ routeing (resolution A.572(14), as amended) on establishing multiple structures at sea.

It recommends that Governments should take into account, as far as practicable, the impact multiple structures at sea, including but not limited to wind turbines, could have on the safety of navigation, including any radar interference.

Traffic density and prognoses, the presence or establishment of routeing measures in the area, and the manoeuvrability of ships and their obligations under the 1972 Collision Regulations should be considered when planning to establish multiple structures at sea.

Sufficient manoeuvring space extending beyond the side borders of traffic separation schemes should be provided to allow evasive manoeuvres and contingency planning by ships making use of routeing measures in the vicinity of multiple structure areas.

Updated SafetyNET and NAVTEX manuals

The MSC is expected to approve amendments to update the International SafetyNET and the NAVTEX Manuals.

SafetyNET is the international automatic direct-printing satellite-based service for the promulgation of Maritime Safety Information (MSI), navigational and meteorological warnings, meteorological forecasts and other urgent safety-related messages to ships, as well as search and rescue (SAR) information.
NAVTEX provides coastal shipping, via terrestrial means, with similar messages above by automatic display or printout from a dedicated receiver.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) have contributed to the updating of the manuals, which will be issued as joint IMO/WMO/IHO publications, replacing versions issued in 2010 and 2011.

Pilot ladder – unified interpretation

The MSC will be invited to approve a draft MSC circular on the revised unified interpretation of SOLAS regulation V/23.3.3 on Pilot transfer arrangements, which clarifies that SOLAS regulation V/ prescribes an operational instruction that limits the climb to not more than 9 m on a single ladder regardless of the trim or list of the ship. It also clarifies that a 15° list requirement does not apply when a combined arrangement of “an accommodation ladder used in conjunction with the pilot ladder” is used for “safe and convenient access to, and egress from, the ship”.

Source: Safety4Sea, IMO