MSC 96 | IMO Reports | Annual General Assemblies

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Unity for Safety at Sea

MSC 96

The IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, opened the MSC by congratulating delegates for reaching agreement on Climate Change at the MEPC. Included in his opening address were the following comments: “As you are well aware, today, over 80% of world trade is carried by shipping. Without shipping, importing and exporting goods on the scale necessary to sustain the modern world would simply not be possible.

There are more than 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo. The world fleet is registered in over 150 nations and manned by more than a million seafarers of virtually every nationality.”

“With regards to the carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages, there is an urgent need to ensure the safe and efficient transfer of technicians serving and servicing installations in the growing offshore alternative energy sectors.  Therefore, it is of utmost importance that this issue, is dealt with in an efficient and urgent manner.”

Agenda Item 7 on Carriage of Industrial Personnel.

a) There were several Papers and many Interventions for and against modifying SOLAS and relevant Codes.   IFSMA made an intervention:

"IFSMA is of the view that any change to SOLAS should be avoided and that it would be simpler and easier to amend the relevant codes as is clearly outlined in Paper 96/7/6 submitted by the ITF and highlighted by the wise words of IMCA and also of Singapore.”

b) There were a lot of common themes in the Papers and interventions and the Chairman summed up the Item by instructing WG1 (IFSMA represented by Morten Kviem) to:

i ) further consider the development of a new chapter of SOLAS in the long term solely regulating Industrial Personnel and a new Code addressing the carriage of more than 12 Industrial Personnel onboard vessels engaged on International Voyages,

ii) in the short term, as an interim measure, investigate and suggest amendments to existing Codes, and

iii) prepare a Road Map, identifying priorities, time frames, responsibilities and long and short term Objectives for consideration by the Committee by Thurs 19 May 2016.

Report from the IFSMA Representative attending Working Group 1:

The discussion within the group often drifted outside the terms of reference. Much of the time was spent discussing details which eventually were left to future consideration in relevant sub-committees. The terms of reference were in some aspects a little unclear. There was a lengthy discussion trying to figure out the relationship between the “short-term objectives” and the “interim solution”.

There are two main topics in this issue: The status of the personnel, they are neither crew nor passengers; and the technical requirements for the ship. There was unanimous support for a requirement for medical fitness, and there was agreement that some basic safety training would be required for the industrial personnel.

The discussion about technical requirements for the ships revealed that this is a complex issue. One of the first questions is whether the requirements should be based on cargo ship or passenger ship regulations. The 2008 SPS Code can also be a basis for the new code. Another complicating factor is the fact that some of the IP ships will be covered by the HSC Code. The detailed work concerning technical requirements will be coordinated by the SDC sub-committee.

A “road map” with planned times was produced. Some delegations wanted the process to be quicker, but the plan agreed by the majority is probably the most realistic with final adoption in 2020 and entry into force in 2024.

Plenary did not accept the proposals from the Working Group, so the issue will also be discussed at MSC 97. The Norwegian delegation will be contacted for discussion about the way forward.

In plenary on discussing the Working Group 1 report:

Major Intervention against the conclusions from Ireland who stated that there were a considerable number of issues that could be interpreted in different ways by ships particularly the definition of Industrial Personnel. ITF agreed with Ireland. There was then a considerable number of Interventions supporting that the Draft new Chapter to SOLAS be agreed - some quite vociferous interventions. Panama recommended the removal of Para 2.2 to remove ambiguity from the Draft Chapter.

The Chairman stated it was the most difficult issue he had to sum up. No clear majority therefore we should take up the removal of Para 2.1 but this will still not get business done therefore it will go to MSC 97 with legal opinion and reconsider the Paper. Vanuatu then proposed that the Committee discuss the removal and whether it could move ahead as there needs to be a solution as this issue had been going on for years. Following a number of other interventions the Chairman got agreement to send this to MSC 97 with 2 submission, 1) on the Interim Issue and 2) the Roadmap for a long term solution.

Agenda Item 5 - Goal Based Ship Construction Standards for Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers.

a)  Papers and Interventions did not require any Intervention by IFSMA and most delegates agreed with the Secretariat Papers and in particular that of IACS.  With agreement of the Committee, the Chairman directed to Secretariat to prepare a report for the Committee by Friday 13th May 2016 showing the progress and way forward.

b)  WG2 to take forward all the Observations from the audit teams in Paper 96/5/2 and propose a way ahead and any issues for a WG at MSC 97.  

c)  The GBS Trust Fund Paper 96/5/4 on the current state of Finances was agreed.

d)  The Paper on the Revised Timetable and Schedule 96/5/6 was generally agreed with a few small amendments suggested by the Committee.  The Paper would therefore be updated by the WG to take forward to MSC 97.

a) Netherlands introduced Paper 96/5/3 which proposed the restructure of SOLAS Chapter 3. UK intervened that this was not necessary as the current Chapter 3 is unambiguous and that any changes to Chapter 3 should be restricted to the provision or guidance on the functional requirements of GBS.

f) IFSMA Intervention:

“Thank you Chair. IFSMA representing shipmasters thanks the submitters of these very useful papers, but wishes to be associated with the wise words of the distinguished delegate of the UK. We should proceed with caution. We make this statement in the interests of all seafarers. Thank you Chair.”

g) This was agreed by the Chair and the WG was instructed accordingly

h) Papers on development for Maritime Cyber Security were submitted and it was agreed that these should be sent to the WG for consideration and combining in a single document.

i) 2 Papers on issues ongoing in Crimea were submitted by Ukraine and Russia, 96/4/4 and 7 respectively. These are political in nature. After many interventions in support from Delegates the Chair decided that the Paper from Ukraine should not go to the WG and that it was not within the terms of reference of the IMO to take this matter forward.

j) WG3 on Maritime Security was established (David Appleton representing IFSMA).

Report from IFSMA attendee to Working Group2 ‘Goal Based Standards’:

Initially, the WG determined the timetable to November 2018 to complete the schedule of activities for the implementation of the GBS Verification Scheme.

The WG then turned to development of interim guidelines for development and application of IMO GBS safety level approach.  There was little discussion on substantive issues resulting in the work being that of a Drafting Group.

IFSMA questioned the use of risk based approach and what would be considered acceptable as an alternative to FSA. A number of delegations made no contribution to the discussion.

A number of delegations have concern over this approach to regulation suspecting since it may be used to lower standards. A lengthy discussion on the application of the safety level approach to IMO rule-making process took place.

It was considered that the Correspondence Group established by SSE3 was appropriate to develop the Draft functional requirements of SOLAS Chapter III.

The WG considered the issues to be considered at MSC 97.

AGENDA ITEM 18 - unsafe mixed migration by sea

Various reports from other meeting were given. The Committee instructed the Secretariat to prepare a circular on “Interim measures for combating unsafe practices associated with the trafficking, smuggling or transport of migrants by sea"

AGENDA ITEM 6 - Passenger Ship Safety

a) CLIA has developed two industry best practices on fire protection that are being applied to the global cruise ship industry - see Paper 96/6/1.

b) After recent fire incidents on the ro-ro deck of ro-ro passenger ships, INTERFERRY members have collected best practices that have been shared with the wider ferry community - see Paper 96/6/2 .

c) This Agenda Item will now be removed from the high level input from MSC and will be removed from future Agendas.

AGENDA ITEM 3 - Amendments to Mandatory Instruments

Paper 96/3/4 on DRAFT GUIDANCE ON METHODOLOGIES FOR ASSESSING OPERATIONAL CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATIONS IN ICE. Canada was concerned about not including an exemption for Ice Breakers escorting ships in Brash Ice. Norway proposed to leave the Guidelines as they are and that it should be reviewed in 4 years. An intervention was made by IACS and IFSMA in support of Norway and the paper was approved despite Canada’s Intervention. IFSMA Intervened with a statement:

“Thank you Mr Chairman. IFSMA representing Shipmasters fully supports the content of Paper 96/3/4 submitted by Norway as written. In doing so IFSMA recognises the unique experience of Norway with having territory and sea areas in both polar regions”

AGENDA ITEM 9 - Implementation of IMO Instruments

Paper MSC96/9/2 - Dissemination of Lesson Learned from Marine Casualties. IFSMA made an intervention as follows:

“Thank you Mr Chairman. ISFMA fully supports the Paper 96/6/2 Submitted by China and IMLA and believe this proposal of finding a methodology to effectively disseminate Finalised Lessons Learned from marine casualties, as highlighted by the delegation of the Netherlands, would be of real benefit to Shipmasters and all Seafarers.”

This received a lot of support from all including the NI who Intervened in support, but that the dissemination of Lessons Learned should be on Finalised Lessons Learnt as highlighted by the Netherlands and not Draft Lesson Learnt as written in the Paper. This proposal should be sent to the next III meeting in July for III to report to MSC 97 in Nov to decide how this could be taken forward at the HTW meeting in Jan 2017.

IFSMA will ensure it is present at III in July and HTW in Jan 2017 to provide input and influence.

AGENDA ITEM 12 - Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping

Denmark informed the Committee that it was moving to a fully electronic Certification and that Paper Certificates would no longer be used by its registered Vessels.

Paper 96/12/2 - Highlighted by USA and ICS that some Flag States had been asking for additional documentation of 3rd party courses when inspecting STCW Certificates such as Training Course Completion Certificates. This is not required by STCW and that appropriate guidance, such as a circular, should be developed at that meeting to provide clarity on the provision of documentary evidence in accordance with the STCW Convention. Universal support for this was given by the Committee delegates and the Chairman of MSC directed it should be considered by the HTW Sub-Committee at its next session.

AGENDA ITEM 14 - Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue.

Republic of Korea highlighted the problem of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent firing and launching of Missiles and Ballistic Missiles without warning and in accordance with UNSCR and IMO’s resolution for Safety of Ships and SOLAS an the issue of appropriate Navigational Warnings. DPRK replied defending their actions. Further condemned by FRA, AUS, USA, and others. No Nation supported DPRK. Noted by MSC.

AGENDA ITEM 23 - Work Programme Items

b) 96/23/6 - Modification of LSA Code for use of a hand-operated mechanism for launching of a rescue boat. There was sufficient confusion within the Paper and what the Paper wants to achieve. Initially decided it was not prudent for IFSMA to intervene. After much discussion, for and against, the Chair decided to take this forward into the Work Programme but with a wider remit. However, Germany suggested that more information should be provided by Governments on the subject. IACS then Intervened to clarify any misunderstanding in their Paper. In view of IACS clarification, IFSMA Intervened with:

“Thank you Mr Chairman. IFSMA thanks the Republic of Korea and IACS for their Paper. In view of the Intervention by IACS giving more clarity IFSMA now fully supports the Paper and that it should be taken into the SSE Work Programme. Thank you Mr Chairman”

The Chair, directed that the Paper be taken forward, as is, into the SSE Work Programme.

Paper MSC96/23/7 - E-navigation – New output on harmonized Maritime Service Portfolios

Widespread support for this important element in the future of Shipmasters at sea. IFSMA Intervened with:

“Thank you Mr Chairman. IFSMA, representing Shipmasters, welcome this important Paper and fully supports the need to harmonise MSP between shore and ship with the assistance of IALA in this work. Thank you Mr Chairman.”

The Chairman directed this be taken forward to NCSR and that IHO submit a Paper outlining the setting up of the Harmonisation Working Group.

Paper MSC96/23/8 - Recognition of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) as a future component of the World-Wide Radionavigation System (WWRNS) and development of performance standards for shipborne IRNSS receiver equipment . Fully supported by delegates. Taken into the programme.

Formal Safety Assessment including general cargo ship safety

Member Governments encouraged to upload more specific casualty information onto the GSIS system, including root causes, damage penetrations, etc. This will help with FSA studies. The IMO Secretary General intervened - GSIS started 15 years ago, now need to decide how to utilise this information.

Carriage of vehicle electric generators and electrically powered vehicles and fires. Agreed that the issue needs to be looked at. A proposal for a new output will be made at MSC 97.
Future Work Programme

Paper 23/10 USA “Proposal for a new output for amendments to SOLAS Chapter IV to accommodate additional mobile satellite systems recognized for use in the GMDSS”. Unanimously supported. Chair stated that first task for NCSR is to review SOLAS Chapter 4 & Appendix 1988 protocol, to accommodate additional satellite systems. Should be given priority, with a view to implementation by 1 Jan 2020.

Any Other Business

Polar Code:

New Zealand gave details of SAR incidents in their SAR region, difficulties , due to distances e.g. rescue planes have to land on Ice to refuel. (Details in final report)

Iceland – Similarly they gave details of SAR incidents (Details in final report)

Length of Boarding Ladder

MSC 96/24/6 – Proposed boarding ladders need only comply with up to 10° trim requirements (instead of 20°) for life-rafts under certain conditions. (See final report to confirm details). Chair – request further submission to next session.

Verification of Gross Mass of Packed Containers

With implementation of this requirement on 1 July 2016, there was an Intervention by NZ stating it should go ahead but that there be a pragmatic approach to the implementation by Flag states as there may be software issues and some Ports may not be ready by this date because of implementation problems.

Much discussion ensued all in favour however the issue remained what would happen with a failure and the also the Criminalisation of the Seafarer. IFSMA intervened with:

“Thank you Chairman. IFSMA fully supports the Nautical Institute with reference to Criminalisation of the Seafarer and also expresses its concerns. Thank you Mr Chairman.”

Chair summed up. 1) communications between Industry and Governments/Flags states over progress and 2) best practice should be shared. 3) Pragmatic introduction by Flag States and the implementation - with a 3 month window so that containers in transit reach their destination.

Report in MSC96/WP 9 - Measures to Enhance Maritime Security.

USA stated that the High Level Guidelines was good work but asked that they be issued as a Draft for agreement at MSC 97 and then to go to FAL 41 as Interim Guidelines. A number of Nations Intervened with differing views as to whether they should be issued as Interim Guidelines or remain as Draft for MSC 97 and FAL 41. However, it became clear that the majority came down in support of the issuing it as Interim Guidance now so that the Maritime Industry could get on with implementation in the knowledge they were Interim Guidelines which would not preclude their amendment of them further down the line. It should be noted that RU and China both supported the view of the USA. IFSMA Intervened with:

“Thank you Mr Chairman, IFSMA believes that the issuing of this as Interim Guidelines as in Option 1 would be of considerable benefit to Shipmasters. Thank you”

The Chairman decided that they should be issued as Interim Guidelines and reviewed again at FAL 41.

At the conclusion of the Maritime Safety Committee the IMO Secretary General took the floor to congratulate Delegates and Observers of the successful MSC. He brought up the subject of the agreed MSC Circular on Gross Mass of Packed Containers and how important this matter was for the safety of shipping.

For full reports see IMO Documents Website, login required, available to IFSMA Members upon request.