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Tuesday, October 16, 2018


The 73rd meeting of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee concluded this week with the finalisation of amendments to over 20 resolutions. Items of particular interest members included:

Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)

After a lengthy debate by the Committee regarding the installation of VDR 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 1st July 2002.

The debate in question saw over forty states speak with an intervention by INTERTANKO with the floor being split 21/21. Australia and the USA were the main advocates of the VDR to be retro fitted to existing cargo vessels. A resolution has now been drafted which requests the navigation sub-committee to conduct a study into the feasibility, use, fullness and practicality of installing VDRs on existing cargo ships. This is to be completed by 1st January 2004 so that appropriate action can be taken. The resolution itself encourages ship owners to install VDRs so that the study may be enhanced by trail operations.

Harmonisation of Ships certificates

The committee noted that it would be prudent for the time been to consolidate, simplify, and unify certificates within the same convention, which would result in the following convention certificates: -

  1. Safety certificates (SOLAS 74 & Protocol 78 &
  2. Environmental certificates (MARPOL 73/74)

The committee noted that the work related to this matter would require some considerable time and effort and therefore established a correspondence group to consider the matter intersessionally. The outcome of the groups work would be submitted to the next sessions of MSC and MEPC for comments

Consideration & Adoption of Amendments to Mandatory Instruments

Items of interest under this heading relate to :-

  1. Ships Cargo Hoses
    Amendments to 5.7 of the IBC Code for the Pressure testing of ships cargo hoses,
    Similar amendments to those made to the IBC code were proposed and agreed to relating the BCH and GC code
  2. Tank venting Arrangements
    Amendments to 8.1.6 and 8.3.3. of the IBC code relating to chemical tankers built after 1/7/86 but before 1/7/02, and the requirement to comply with a new paragraph 8.3.3. of the IBC code  by the date of the 1st scheduled dry-docking after 1/7/02 but not later than 1/7/05. The new amended paragraph 8.3.3. refers to ships built on or after 1/7/02 and the requirement for a primary and a secondary means of allowing full flow relief of vapour to prevent overpressure or under pressure in the event of failure of one means. Alternatively the secondary measure may consist or pressure sensors fitted in each tank with a monitoring system in the ships cargo control room. Such facility should also provide an alarm facility.
    Cargo tank venting and gas freeing arrangements.
    Similar amendments to those made to the IBC code were proposed and agreed to relating the BCH code
  3. Personnel Protection
    IBC Code 14.2.9, where reference is made to the MFAG
    Similar amendments to those made to the IBC code were proposed and agreed to relating the BCH and GC code
  4. IBC Code 15.3 and changes to the carriage of Carbon Disulphide       under suitable inert gas padding.
  5. Operational requirements
    IBC code 16.3.3. where reference is made to the MFAG
    Similar amendments to those made to the IBC code were proposed and agreed to relating the BCH and GC code

Amendments to the Guidelines on the Enhanced Survey Programme (ESP)

This refers to the Guidelines on the enhanced programme of inspection during surveys of oil tankers contained in Resolution A.744(18) paragraph 2.2.2 of Annex B which previously read “Alternate inspections of the ships bottom not conducted in conjunction with the Enhanced Survey during periodical survey may be carried out with the ship afloat. Special consideration should be given to ships of 15 years of age or over before being permitted to have such inspections…”  Is to be replaced by the following text  “For ships over 15 years of age and over, inspection of the outside of the ships bottom should be carried out with the ship in dry-dock. For ships of less than 15 years of age alternate inspections of the ships bottom not conducted in conjunction with the Enhance Survey during the periodical survey may be carried out with the ship afloat…”

The contracting governments adopted the proposed amendments.

Amendments to the ISM Code

The committee considered and agreed to the proposal by Korea (MSC 73/3/16) suggesting the addition of a new paragraph 13.11 to the ISM code to establish the validity of new Docs and SMCs when the renewal verification has been completed more than 3 months before the expiry of the existing DOC and SMC  “When the renewal verification is completed more than 3 months before the expiry date of the existing DOC and SMC, the new SMC or DOC should be valid from the date of completion of the renewal verification to a date not exceeding 5 years from the date of completion of the renewal certificate”

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

INTERTANKO participated in a Working Group which was 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 Committee 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 Committee agreed that the IMO should examine coastal states contingency arrangements regarding the provision for Ports of Refuge.

Other proposals by the Committee included 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.

The Committee has now sent the relevant points to the sub-Committee’s for comment and action, if required, and suggested that papers be submitted for further input and comment from delegates.


In discussion on the amount of participation that the IMO should have on the EQUASIS database the Committee decided that, owing to a number of questions from member states, IMO should request observer status on the EQUASIS board. This will allow the IMO to further support the initiative.

Ship Recycling

Although an issue for IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), the MSC also requested delegates to look at and submit papers regarding the safety aspects of ship recycling. This is perhaps the strongest sign that the IMO are taking this issue onto its agenda in a more formal capacity and may well have some further influence when this issue is discussed at the next MEPC in April 2001.

Proliferation of Inspections

Having looked as though this matter may have been dropped to the bottom of the IMO’s agenda, the issue of multiple inspections was raised once again by the Secretary General with a report on the meeting held at the IMO and attended by INTERTANKO earlier this year. With the inspection problems faced following the Erika this issue will now be looked into once more. The Committee were keen for this issue to be followed up by the Committee with regards to communication with IACS and port state MoUs and has requested that a report of action be submitted to MSC 75.

Safety Of Navigation

Adoption of new Traffic Separation Schemes were agreed in the following locations

  1. Along the Peruvian Coast
    Landfall and approached to Talara Bay
    Landfall off Puerto Salaverry
    Landfall and approaches to Ferrol Bay
    Landfall and approaches to San Nicholas bay
  2. In the approaches to the River Humber

These will be implemented by 00:00 UTC 1st July 2001

In the wake of the “ERIKA” incident it was also proposed and agreed that there will be an adoption of a mandatory ship reporting system of Les Casquets and the adjacent coastal area which will be implemented at 00:00 UTC on 1st June 2001.