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Thursday, September 20, 2018

REPORT FROM IMO’S MARINE SAFETY COMMITTEE (MSC 74)

IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) held their 74th session between 30 May and 8 June this year. The MSC 74 agenda included discussions of a number of post-Erika measures to  improve tanker safety, and follow-up actions to proposed measures were assigned to different IMO sub-committees.

The session covered an extensive agenda and a full report can be found below

Topics and discussions on the agenda included:

  • The Design & Equipment (DE) Sub-Committee was requested to consider the effects of heated high-density oils
  • Corrective regulatory measures in the aftermath of a casualty should be based on an authoritative investigation where the root causes of the accident are identified and analysed This was one of the measures proposed by INTERTANKO. MSC agreed to the measure, and recognized that the IMO would be justified to take urgent appropriate action if the exceptional circumstances of a casualty so dictate, e.g. as in the cases of the Estonia and Erika incidents.
  • Considerations of lessons learnt from the operation of single hull tankers and decisions on whether these apply to double hull tankers. MSC decided not to add this measure on the IMO agenda unless Member Governments submit specific proposals.
  • Identification of new measures specific to the operation of double hull tankers, due to their increased structural complexity.
  • Protection of fuel oil tanks
  • Ports of Refuge (Places of Refuge)
  • Establishment of a design philosophy aimed at higher structural standards.
  • Improved access to the interior of the hull of large bulk carriers and tankers to (see article above)
  • Review resolution A.744(18) to make survey procedures stricter and strengthen the effectiveness of the application of ESP requirements.
  • Standardised survey terminology
  • Improvement of surveyors’ qualifications
  • Human element issues, including training of seafarers, human resources and other operational measures which will minimize the risk of oil pollution from tankers
  • Continued promotion of uniform and effective implementation of rules, regulations and guidelines
  • Minimum harmonized survey requirements to ensure compliance with the applicable provisions on transfer of class (TOC)
  • STCW - Fraudulent Certificates
  • Piracy
  • Joint Lifeboat Report, submitted by INTERTANKO, SIGTTO and OCIMF

The latter report received full support from the plenary and despite a very full agenda for the next session of the Design & Equipment (DE) Sub-committee, the MSC agreed that the matter of lifeboat accidents needed to be included in the work programme of DE and should be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

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Report from IMO’s MariTIME Safety Committee (MSC 74)

IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) held their 74th session between 30 May and 8 June this year. The MSC 74 agenda included discussions of a number of post-Erika measures to  improve tanker safety, and follow-up actions to proposed measures were assigned to different IMO sub-committees.

MSC 74 covered an extensive agenda and a full report is given below:

Proposed measure 1: Identify and quantify the risks associated with the transport of high-density and persistent oils as cargo and possible options to prevent accidental spills or outflow of such oils.

The Design & Equipment (DE) Sub-Committee was requested to consider the effects of heated high-density oils, in principle and advise accordingly.

Proposed measure 2: Ensure that any corrective regulatory measures in the aftermath of a casualty are based on an authoritative investigation where the root causes of the accident are identified and analysed.

This was one of the measures proposed by INTERTANKO. MSC agreed to the measure, and recognized that the IMO would be justified to take urgent appropriate action if the exceptional circumstances of a casualty so dictate, e.g. as in the cases of the Estonia and Erika incidents.

Proposed measure 3: Consider the lessons learnt from the operation of single hull tankers and decide whether these apply to double hull tankers, taking into account their particular design features, especially regarding ageing double hull tankers; and also to consider any other safety measures which might be necessary.

MSC decided not to add this measure on the IMO agenda unless Member Governments submit specific proposals.

Proposed measure 4:Invite consideration of protection of fuel oil tanks.

This measure is already on the IMO agenda and considered by the DE Sub-Committee as “Protection of fuel tanks”. Any provisions developed should only apply to new ships, in particular those carrying large amounts of fuel.

Proposed measure 5:Examine the need to establish principles for coastal States, acting either individually or on a regional basis, to review their contingency arrangements regarding the provision of ports of refuge.

This is already on the IMO Agenda and will be dealt with by the Committee for Search and Rescue (COMSAR).

Following the introduction of the four submissions by Spain, ICS, INTERTANKO and Germany, the floor was opened for discussion. Delegates from 29 countries spoke on the issue with the overwhelming majority in favour of action by IMO, although the rights of the States under both national and international law (UNCLOS) were given due respect. In general the following was agreed:

1)     The issue should be termed ‘Places of Refuge’ with the NAV sub-Committee, as the co-ordinating Committee, to define this term at NAV 47 taking into account the terms ‘ports of refuge’, ‘sheltered waters’ and ‘safe havens’.

2)     Safety of life at sea is paramount although one should not forget the importance of the environment, with this latter element being of greater importance than the ship itself.

3)     The political message sent out by this body should illustrate the importance that the IMO places on ‘places of refuge’.

4)     A list of concerns and issues raised at this meeting during the vast number of interventions is to be sent to NAV 47.

5)     It is noted that suitable areas may require regional co-operation as one coastal state’s solution could be another’s problem.

6)     Specifically, the Chairman suggested that the way forward for this was:

a)     Appoint NAV as co-ordinating Committee

b)     NAV to be given authority to appoint other bodies for input, e.g. OPRC Working Group, COMSAR and DE.

c)     Request NAV 47 to prepare Terms of Reference for MSC 75 to consider and approve.

d)     NAV to consider drafting guidelines for the designation of places of refuge, guidelines on the assessment of risk involved when a ship requests a place of refuge, and also guidelines for Masters in circumstances in which a place of refuge would be requested. This latter point would also include information to port and harbour masters, and other interested individuals.

e)     Request Legal Committee to look into matters of insurance, bonds, international law and also the rights of national States.

The Secretary General, present during the debate, spoke of his pleasure regarding the outcome of this issue and reiterated that the IMO was indeed the area in which to handle such international issues. Furthermore, the Secretary General explained that the development of Guidelines, albeit on a voluntary basis would be a strong first step in the development of a solution to this problem.

Proposed measure 6: Establish how and to what extent the responsibility of shipyards for the construction and repair of ships in conformity with national regulations, class rules and relevant international standards should be determined.

MSC decided that IMO does not deal with shipyard responsibilities as these lay with classification societies and national Administrations; but noted INTERTANKO’s opinion that IMO should be aware and, therefore, concerned about the possibility of the lack of proper control of, and commitment for, a proper quality of ship manufacturing.

Proposed measure 7:Identify any new measures specific to the operation of double hull tankers, due to their increased structural complexity.

MSC Committee decided that there was no need to deal with the issue at this point in time, although it might be appropriate to discuss it in the future once concrete proposals are made. It was also considered that a possible course of action could be an FSA (Formal Safety Assessment) study on double hull tankers.

Proposed measure 8: Establish a design philosophy aimed at achieving a higher structural standard.

MSC decided that the subject was important but should initially be taken up by classification societies, namely IACS; and noted that IACS was working on the establishment of required residual strength, adequate frequency and extent of surveys and the establishment of minimum scantling requirements.

Proposed measure 9: Examine ways to improve the design of large bulk carriers and tankers to enable the interior of their hulls to be more easily surveyed and inspected, taking into account MSC/Circ.686.

The issue is already on the IMO agenda as a result of a submission by the Bahamas. MSC 74 has adopted a revised SOLAS regulation II-1/12-2 on “Access to and within spaces in the cargo area of oil tankers and bulk carriers”. (See next item).

Proposed measure 10:Review resolution A.744(18) to make survey procedures stricter and to strengthen the effectiveness of the application of ESP requirements. Special consideration should be given to items related to planning of survey and repairs, splitting of surveys, surveyor attendance during thickness measurement, deferral of repairs and survey reporting.

This is already on the IMO agenda.

Proposed measure 11: Define standard terminology and procedures to accurately describe the extent of problems/defects identified during surveys, which should be made mandatory for all survey reports.

MSC noted the outcome of consideration of this measure by the Standard of Training & Watchkeeping) (STW) and DE Sub-Committees, in particular that IACS was currently in the process of developing a common terminology for surveys which should be considered by IMO once the results were made available by IACS.

Proposed measures 12: Improvement of surveyors’ qualifications; 13: Consider making mandatory the use of exclusive surveyors for statutory surveys; and 14: Develop an interpretation of SOLAS regulation I/14(e) to clarify that extension of the period of validity of certificates can only be granted in very specific circumstances.

These items will be dealt by the Flag State Implementation (FSI) Sub-Committee.

Proposed measures 15: Consider human element issues including training of seafarers, human resources and other operational measures which will minimize the risk of oil pollution from tankers; 16: Consider whether there is a need to develop additional requirements for the proper handling of ships and prudent seamanship in adverse weather conditions; and 17: Consider what additional safety measures may be necessary for ships navigating in narrow waterways and/or areas of dense traffic.

These Items are on the STW Sub-Committee agenda.

Proposed measures 18: Continue to promote the uniform and effective implementation of rules, regulations and guidelines by all parties concerned for the safe transport of cargoes in general, and of polluting cargoes in particular; 19: Review the guidelines on the performance and control of classification societies to enhance supervision by flag State; 21: Develop new provisions on change of flag; and 22: Improve the uniformity of inspection and reporting practices for port State control and promote exchange of information

These items are on the FSI Sub-Committee agenda

Proposed measure 20: Develop minimum harmonized survey requirements to ensure compliance with the applicable provisions on transfer of class.

This item is on the FSI Sub-Committee agenda.

MSC agreed:

-  that since the existing transfer-of-class society procedures are not applicable to all recognized organizations, development by IMO of transfer-of-class provisions are necessary, in particular to ensure that the ‘gaining’ recognized organization takes responsibility and remedial action with respect to any outstanding conditions/items left at the time of the transfer;

-  to decide at its next meeting whether a new item on “Development of provisions on transfer of class” should be included in the FSI work programme. 

 

STCW - Fraudulent Certificates

Cardiff University’s paper on Fraudulent Certificates (MSC 74/6/2) was the focus of the discussion at this session of MSC. Essentially, two aspects of the paper were selected as matters that the IMO should act upon should they decide to take this issue onto their agenda;

i.                    Forged, fake or fraudulent certificates, and

ii.                   Valid certificates obtained in a fraudulent manner.

Both the above were suggested by Denmark and Greece. Denmark also noted that the problem originated from the issuing countries. In reply, both India and the Philippines explained how they were tackling the problem. The UK suggested that the MSC should recommend to the STW sub-Committee that they look into the matter further taking into account the full report from Cardiff University (the submission at this session was only a summary).

Chairman summed up as follows;

1.      The Committee’s concern about this issue to be noted

2.      Recommend STW has further discussion on the full report in January 2002.

3.      Recommend that STW set up a WG in accordance with 2.

4.      Pool other questions raised during this discussion and introduce a system of reporting/identifying offenders (Vanuatu explained that they were unhappy that other flags were not identifying offenders and also were not banning them on their ships – this was the line of action that Vanuatu had taken).

5.      Recommend that STW discuss whether this issue be a permanent agenda item for the sub-Committee.

6.      India and Philippines to make submissions on their interventions and hence explain further the action they are taking to combat this problem.

7.      Recommend that States and NGO’s submit papers on this for STW.

8.      STW to report back with recommendations to MSC 75.

NOTE:

INTERTANKO has being in discussion with OCIMF regarding guidelines to members for combating certificate fraud and will report further on this shortly.

Piracy

The following papers were discussed in Plenary and commented upon as follows:-

MSC 74/17:

Note by the secretariat who commented that the number of acts of Piracy has increased in 2000 by 162 acts or 52% over 1999. During 2000 the most effected areas were the South China Sea, Malacca Straits, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Africa.

 Most attacks occurred in territorial waters and most involved violent groups of 5-10 people using guns. Three ships were hijacked, 2 destroyed and 1 is missing. In one incidence explosives were used.  A total of 72 crew members of the ships involved were killed and 129 wounded, 3 remain missing.

The Chairman noted that the increase (52%) since the last report to IMO is an alarming trend that needs to be addressed. He drew the attention of the committee to the fact that violent acts occur and that the number of crew killed, injured or missing can not be tolerated any longer. He called on the industry and governments to eradicate these violent acts. India and the Philippine coast guard were commended for their work.

India commented - very concerned at the increase in the Indian Ocean region. India observed that none of the incidents reported could be called armed robbery and most were petty theft without injury to the crew, and the incidents did not create delays to the vessel. India also noted that some crew were apparently coerced into these acts in order to cover losses incurred elsewhere as well claiming piracy when bartering for fish!! India assured the committee that the number of incidents will come down if all incidents are reported to the authorities.

 Indonesia commented on the importance attached by their Government to deal with this problem and their commitment to work together to eradicate this problem. They also called for IMO to play a greater role in removing the problem.

 France commented: Emphasized the importance of the work, but asked that the reports should be circulated in a special numbered series and not under the general IMO circular series which would help highlight the information. The Chairman advised that by April 2001 the symbol for Piracy circulars would be change to MSC.4 (followed by the circular number)

MSC 74/17/2 - ICS/ISF Submission:

Draft Assembly Resolution to be amended to incorporate as para 7 something like the following:- "FURTHER URGES all Governments responsible for ports anchorages and sea areas to inform MSC of specific security advice to vessels, to be made available for promulgation by the industry." (i.e. it will apply to all administrations rather than just to "high risk" ones since the  identification of "high risk" was contentious with Brazil insisting the their ports were not "high risk").

MSC 74/17/3 - Phantom Ships

The committee generally supported this matter and it was agreed that this would be referred to the next session of FSI who would address the points raised in this paper and suggest solutions . FSI would then forward this to MSC 75 for approval. FSI would also take into account comments made by Cyprus who stated that if the amendment was going to be under SOLAS then what would happen to the ships to which SOLAS did not apply.

It was also agreed that FSI would address the matter of issuing a circular on the matter as they would deal with the text of the amendment.

The Chairman also made reference to the fact that the standard text for Piracy attacks and alerts was passed to COMSAR 5 who reviewed this text and concluded that the standard text did not need revising.

Joint Lifeboat Report, by INTERTANKO, SIGTTO, OCIMF

The following is a copy of the paper jointly submitted to MSC 74 in relation to our report.

 1 The Committee is invited to note an information paper issued by SIGTTO, OCIMF and INTERTANKO, advising on the results of a survey into lifeboat safety compiled from reports submitted by a large number of member companies to these organisations.

2 This survey updates a similar study from 1994 by OCIMF/ICS and shows that the

underlying causes of incidents do not appear to have changed significantly. The design and construction of lifeboats and their auxiliary equipment continues to play a significant part in incidents involving lifeboats.

3 One important improvement is the apparent reduction in the severity of injuries to

crewmembers – no fatalities were reported within the sample group. This may be due to the crews being more aware of the risks inherent in lifeboat operations and ensuring that drills and maintenance routines are adapted to exclude personnel from risk where possible. This awareness, however, may have led to a reduction in the scope of such exercises.

4 The report findings urge the maritime community to consider an immediate review of

standards for the design, manufacture and maintenance of lifeboats particularly with regard to the safety of secondary operations such as recovery and training exercises. The validity of these findings is strengthened by the apparent repetition of similar recommendations made in the 1994 report and by similar submissions and report findings from other national delegations, notably Australia and Canada during DE 44.

5 SIGTTO, OCIMF and INTERTANKO recognise that existing legislation and guidelines address such design issues in a general manner, but the apparent wide range of interpretations of “acceptable standards” gives serious cause for concern.

Action requested of the Committee

The Committee is invited to note the foregoing and take action as appropriate.

We are pleased to advise that the submission received full support by the plenary and despite a very full agenda for the next session of DE the committee agreed that the matter of Lifeboat accidents needed to be included in the work programme of DE and should be dealt with as a matter of urgency. It was agreed that 3 sessions of DE would be allowed for this issue (i.e. 3 years) as this was felt to be sufficient time. ICS raised a point of concern regarding what should be done in the interim period, i.e. in the short term until a permanent solution was sought. It was agreed that DE would draft an MSC Circular advising seafarers of the concerns and dangers of launching and recovering lifeboats and precautions to be taken.

Please click here to view the Joint Lifeboat Accident report