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Thursday, October 18, 2018

FIRST WEEK OF IMO'S MARINE SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING

The International Maritime Organisation’s Maritime Safety Committee met this week for its 73rd meeting. Although the meeting will not be concluded until next week, progress has already been made on the installation of Voyage Data Recorders and on the elimination of sub-standard ships.

The International Maritime Organisation’s Maritime Safety Committee met this week for its 73rd meeting. Although the meeting will not be concluded until next week, progress has already been made on the installation of Voyage Data Recorders and on the elimination of sub-standard ships.

Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)

After a lengthy debate by the Committee regarding the installation of VDRs on existing ships, it was decided that the proposed amendments to SOLAS Chapter V/20 should remain as proposed. In summary VDR is not required to be fitted to existing cargo ships and will only apply to new cargo ships constructed on or after 1 July 2002.

Elimination of sub-standard ships and the minimisation of oil pollution

A Working Group has been established to rationalise a list of proposals put forward by the Marine Environment Protection Committee in the wake of the Erika. The list aims to improve tanker safety, eliminate substandard ships and to minimise oil pollution. Although the vast majority of suggestions are already being dealt with by the numerous Committees and sub/Committees within the IMO, there are a number of valid inclusions that will benefit the harmonisation of industry and legislative reactions following shipping accidents. In particular, the Working Group accepted the INTERTANKO proposal of ensuring that any regulatory measures taken after a casualty were based on a professional investigation where the root cause of the accident is identified and analysed. Furthermore, the Working Group agreed that the IMO should examine coastal states contingency arrangements regarding the provision of Ports of Refuge. Other proposals by the Working Group include a focus on the risks associated with the transportation of high density oils as cargo (including bunkers), the responsibility of shipyards for the construction and repair of ships, and a host of requirements associated with the survey and certification of ships. The latter point focused heavily on the responsibility and action of Class, through the representation of IACS.

A full report of the outcome of the meeting will be given in next week’s Weekly NEWS following the meeting’s conclusion.