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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

REPORT ON THE OUTCOME OF TRANSPONDER AND VOYAGE DATA RECORDER ISSUES AT IMO LAST WEEK

Under the revision of Chapter V of SOLAS, at the IMO, during last weeks Marine Safety Committee meeting, the two above issues were addressed. INTERTANKO had submitted papers on both issues. The result of the lengthy discussions, which took half the day to resolve are as follows:

For Transponders the INTERTANKO proposed compromise solution was accepted following an impasse.  North European Countries, along with the US and Canada wanted the speedy implementation of transponders to a timetable which would have caused concern for owners about the availability of equipment.  The alternative was during the first dry dock subsequent to the regulation coming into force, however this was considered too far in the future and liable to manipulation through the timing of the dry dock.  Japan, with support from others, had held out for the dry dock option on account of the perceived need for hot work during installation.  However, an intervention from the manufacturers of the equipment that hot work was not required scuppered this position. As a consequence the INTERTANKO ISTEC agreed position of fitting the transponder at the next Safety Equipment Survey after 1st July 2003 was accepted by delegates.

For Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs) the debate was between those that wanted it for all ships and those that wanted them for new passenger and passenger RoRo ships only.  Again the ISTEC  prepared compromise was accepted, with the proviso that Administrations can revert to the issue at the next MSC meeting should they wish.  Thus the carriage requirement, as it stands, will be for new ships, and existing passenger and passenger RoRo ships only.  The INTERTANKO initiative at IMO, to not require the fitting of VDRs to existing tankers, as was proposed in the draft regulations, will save owners the manufacturers admitted cost, of over $75,000 plus the cost of fitting this equipment.  Experience at IMO, tends to suggest that manufacturers’ projections on cost, for equipment can often be doubled by the time they are type approved and on the market with a mandatory carriage requirement.