Maritime Safety Committee’s 100th Session in December 2018: Highlights

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(Image Courtesy: IMO)

Regulatory scoping exercise on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships

The MSC will continue the scoping exercise to look at how the safe, secure and environmentally sound operation of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) may be introduced in IMO instruments.

The Committee will consider the report of a correspondence group, which was tasked with testing of the framework and methodology for the scoping exercise. A working group is expected to be established during the session.  It is anticipated that the framework for the scoping exercise will be further developed and finalized.

The Committee is also expected to consider proposals related to the development of interim guidelines for MASS trials.

Goal-based standards and safety level approach

Following the adoption of Goal-based ship construction standards for bulkers and oil tankers (GBS) and the successful initial verification of 12 Recognized Organizations by IMO GBS audit teams, MSC will consider the final report of the audit team that conducted the first maintenance of verification audit in order to ensure continued conformity of the rules with the GBS.

The Committee will also consider the initial verification audit report of a further recognized organization, Türk Loydu.

The experience gained in conducting GBS audits has highlighted the need to update the procedural requirements guiding the audits and MSC is expected to finalize draft amendments to the Revised guidelines for verification of conformity with goal-based ship construction standards for bulk carriers and oil tankers; as well as draft Interim guidelines for development and application of IMO goal-based standards safety level approach.

A GBS Working Group is expected to be established.

Approval of revised guidelines on fatigue 

The MSC is expected to approve revised IMO Guidelines on Fatigue, which have been thoroughly reviewed and updated by the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW 5), taking into account the latest research studies.

The Guidelines provide information on the causes and consequences of fatigue, and the risks it poses to the safety and health of seafarers, operational safety, security and protection of the marine environment. The aim is to assist all stakeholders to contribute to the mitigation and management of fatigue.

IMO has considered the issue of fatigue for several decades, adopting Assembly resolution A.772(18) on Fatigue factors in manning and safety, in 1993. This was followed by the development of comprehensive Guidance on fatigue mitigation and management (MSC/Circ.1014), which was issued in 2001.

Safety of ships in polar waters

The Committee is expected to establish a working group to further consider how to move forward with developing mandatory and/or recommendatory measures for ships operating in polar waters but not currently covered by the Polar Code.

The Polar Code is mandatory for certain ships under the SOLAS and MARPOL Conventions. SOLAS Chapter V (safety of navigation) applies to all ships (with some specific exceptions). Otherwise, SOLAS does not apply to some categories of vessels, including cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage; pleasure yachts not engaged in trade; and fishing vessels (sometimes termed “non-SOLAS ships”).

Sulphur 2020 limit

The Committee will be invited to consider submissions concerning the potential need for guidance and advice related to possible safety issues relating to the implementation of the 0.50% limit of the sulphur content of fuel oil (outside emission control areas). The new 0.50% limit (reduced from 3.50% currently) on sulphur in ships’ fuel oil, which will be in force from 1 January 2020 under IMO’s MARPOL treaty, will greatly benefit the environment and human health.

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73) in October, having considered the related outcome of the Intersessional Meeting on Consistent implementation of regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI (ISWG-AP 1) held in July, approved ship implementation planning guidance and Guidance on best practice for fuel oil suppliers.

The MEPC invited MSC 100 to consider the outcome of the intersessional meeting concerning the safety implications associated with the use of low-sulphur fuel oil and take action, as appropriate, noting the initiative of industry organizations to develop industry guidance and possibly training materials.

Adoption of amendments

The MSC is expected to adopt the following amendments:

  1. Draft amendments to update the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (2011 ESP Code), including a series of technical and editorial revisions, as well as revisions related to criteria for grooving corrosion and various updated tables and diagrams.
  2. Draft amendments to the Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships (SPS Code), including a revised chapter 8 on life-saving appliances; a requirement for special purpose ships to comply with the provisions of chapter IV of SOLAS; and a revised Form of Safety Certificate for Special Purpose Ships and Record of Equipment for Special Purpose Ship Safety Certificate (Form SPS).

Approval of draft amendments, guidance and guidelines

The MSC is expected to:

  1. Approve draft amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), with a view to subsequent adoption. The draft amendments include draft revised chapters 17 (Summary of minimum requirements), 18 (List of products to which the Code does not apply), 19 (Index of products carried in bulk) and 21 (Criteria for assigning carriage requirements for products subject to the IBC Code), as well as draft new paragraph 15.15 (Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) detection equipment for bulk liquids). Further draft amendments are consequential to draft amendments to MARPOL Annex II.
  2. Approve draft amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code regarding ventilation on totally enclosed lifeboats, in order to ensure a habitable environment is maintained in such survival craft. The draft new paragraphs (4.6.6 and 4.6.7) on means of ventilation for totally enclosed lifeboats, and on openings and closings, would require a totally enclosed lifeboat to be provided with means to achieve a ventilation rate of at least 5 m3/h per person for the number of persons which the lifeboat is permitted to accommodate, for not less than 24 hours.
  3. Approve draft amendments to the LSA Code focused on manually-launched “rescue boats that are not one of the lifeboats” on cargo ships. The draft amendments (to paragraph 6.1.1.3) also include a requirement for means to bring the rescue boat against the ship’s side and hold it so that persons can be safely embarked.
  4. Approve draft Revised guidelines for the approval of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems for ro-ro spaces and special category spaces (to update the guidelines in MSC.1/Circ.1430). The revision relates in particular to the position of sprinklers or nozzles, to ensure adequate performance, and to reliable control of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems.
  5. Instruct relevant sub-committees to consider relevant parts of the draft interim guidelines for the safety of ships using methyl/ethyl alcohol as fuel prepared by CCC 5. The detailed interim guidelines provide requirements for the arrangement, installation, control and monitoring of machinery, equipment and systems using methyl/ethyl alcohol as fuel to minimize the risk to the ship, its crew and the environment, taking into account to the nature of the fuels involved.
  6. Consider draft amendments to the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code) in particular proposed modifications to regulation 9.5.6 relating to the leakage detection requirements for pipes carrying liquefied fuel
  7. Approve draft interim guidelines on the application of high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service. The interim guidelines are aimed at ensuring the safety of ships carrying or fuelled by LNG, by specifying the requirements for the utilization of high manganese austenitic steel in the design and fabrication of cargo and fuel tanks complying with the International Gas Carrier (IGC) and IGF Codes.
  8. Approve Interim guidance for conducting the refined MHB (CR) corrosivity test related to draft amendments to section 9.2.3.7.3 of the IMSBC Code concerning test for metals.

Sea News, November 14

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