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Unity for Safety at Sea


The IFSMA delegation consisted of five delegates, Paul Owen, Allan Graveson, David Appleton, Jim Scorer and Morten Kviem.

Three Working Groups were established at the meeting, namely:

  • Working Group 1 on Life Saving Appliances

  • Working Group 2 on Fire Protection

  • Working Group 3 on lifting appliances and winches

The IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, addressed the opening of the meeting and included the following words: “Allow me to highlight one matter in particular, namely the work related to making the provisions of MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev.1 mandatory. This week, you are expected to finalize the draft amendments to SOLAS regulations III/3 and III/20 and the draft mandatory MSC resolution on Requirements for periodic servicing and maintenance of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear. This will conclude discussions of 6 years, since the initial discussions took place at MSC 88 in 2010. The finalization of this important work is crucial to strengthening the confidence among seafarers when engaging in lifeboat drills and, more importantly, when faced with an emergency, that the life-saving appliances and equipment placed at their disposal function faultlessly. Therefore, I would like to encourage you to complete this important work at this session.”Free-fall lifeboat launching arrangement.

Much time was spent on discussing the maintenance of lifeboats and their equipment, in particular "What is to be done?", "When is it to be done?" and the proposed draft MSC resolution should also address "How is it to be done?" and "Who does it?". In this connection 5 documents had been submitted and were considered by plenary.

IFSMA made an intervention on the subject of Free Fall Lifeboats in support of the ICS paper, supporting the need to address the issue. “Thank you, Chair. Good morning. IFSMA representing shipmasters supports ICS and other distinguished delegates in seeking a way forward that ensures the safety of all seafarers. This requires effective safe testing on-board and training ashore and afloat. Thank you, Chair.”

The Working Group: confirmed the decision of SSE 2 that the maintenance as well as weekly and monthly inspections could be carried out by the ship's crew; that annual thorough examination should be carried out by the manufacturer or a service provider authorized by the Administration, noting that a service provider may be an ship operator complying with the relevant criteria; and confirmed the decision of SSE 2 that repair and overhaul of equipment, including over-hauling and test carried out at least once every five years, should be carried out by the manufacturer or authorized service provider.

The Working Group prepared an MSC Resolution which will be passed to the Maritime Safety Committee for approval.

Anti-Crushing Devices for Watertight Doors

The other issue of particular interest to IFSMA was anti-crushing devices for watertight doors. Having considered the above comments, the Sub-Committee concluded that the aim of the EMSA 3 recommendations is "to minimize the use of watertight doors, both at the design stage and during the ship's operations" and, therefore, these recommendations, in particular "to improve on-board monitoring to quantify impact of WTDs explicitly" and "to improve training for emergencies and improve design guidelines", were not within the remit of this Sub-Committee.

During the discussions IFSMA made the following intervention:

“Thank you Mr Chairman,

IFSMA would like to thank the co-sponsors for submitting the document. (SSE3/11)Technology exists, and is commercially available that can prevent serious injury and death to seafarers during routine operations. This technology also maintains the current safety levels with regards to watertight sub-division through the use of safety over-ride functions.

If the proposal to introduce Anti Crushing Protection is successful, numerous lives will be saved and for that reason we fully support this proposal"

We were the first to make an intervention and were directly supported by NI, ITF and Malta. There was an extended discussion of more than an hour where several delegations including Japan, Norway, Liberia, Panama, ICS and CLIA attempted to derail with urges of caution, calls for further information and technical analysis, etc. What we have ended up with is that interested members will propose terms of reference for a correspondence group and it will be decided whether this goes ahead.

Many other mostly technical matters were covered by this Sub-Committee, the full report may be read on the IMO Documents Website.