The following is a brief update of the main issues discussed:

1. The Ongoing feasibility study in the retro-fitting of VDR's to existing cargo ships

INTERTANKO attended the Technical Working Group on this issue.

One of the high priority tasks for this group was the ongoing work regarding the feasibility study into retro-fitting VDRs to existing cargo vessels. Further to the work at this session a correspondence group has been established, co-ordinated by Germany, to tackle this matter from a practical point of view between now and the forthcoming session of NAV/49 in about 1 years time. The current completion date for the IMO feasibility study is 1 January 2004 and it is therefore important that this issue be resolved before then.


Comité International Radio-Maritime (CIRM) submitted a "J" paper to this session of NAV that indicated current costs for retrofitting a fully compliant VDR to an existing vessel to be in the region of $60,000 to $75,000 but this does not include installation which was estimated to be in the region of $12,000 - $17,000.


INTERTANKO has registered with this correspondence group and will be actively participating in its work. Further, it is hoped that INTERTANKO will be able to work closely with the UK and CIRM to further study the practical applications for a reduced VDR. There appeared to be a general consensus from the group that a reduced VDR was possible and the aim would be cost reduction, but the details of what the reduced VDR would consist of has still to be resolved.


2.Guidelines for the Installation of AIS

The technical working group prepared draft guidelines for the installation of Shipborne AIS, with the aim that these guidelines should be implemented on a voluntary basis. This draft circular will be submitted to MSC 76 for approval


3. Maritime Security Issues


Long range Tracking and reporting


The working group discussed the matter of long range tracking and reporting as discussed at the last session of the Intersessional Working Group on Maritime Security

 and agreed that:

The system would be intended to

a/ Enhance security of coastal states by supplying information to enable the coastal state to take appropriate action

b/ Enable the identification and tracking of ships at sea

c/ Provide the competent authority of the coastal state with the identity and position of the vessel

d/ Ensure that the information provided is in a secure and confidential manner with due regard to commercial sensitivity


e/ Should not provide information to other ships

f/ Should be capable of working with different densities of traffic.

These deliberations will be reported to MSC/76  (Marine Safety Committee) and further discussed at the next session of Maritime Safety Intercessional working group.


Ship Security Alert

The working Group further developed draft amendments to chapter XI-2 Regulation 5 of SOLAS regarding Special Measures to Enhance Maritime Security for the purpose of transmitting a security alert to a Competent Authority to indicate when the security of the vessel is under threat consisting of:

a. Two fixed activation points

b. Connected to the Radio systems to enable automatic transmission without the need for manual tuning of frequencies etc

c. Activation would be a covert alert system i.e it will not cause any alert to be given on the vessel that it is activated.

d. The signal should carry a unique code indicating that the alert has not been generated in accordance with GMDSS distress procedures.


This will be discussed in more details at the forthcoming Diplomatic Conference on Maritime Security.


4. Integrated Bridge Systems (IBS) - Operational aspects

The group developed a draft MSC circular on the guidance for the operational use of IBS with a view that this will be submitted to MSC 76 for approval and further agreed to invited STW (Standards of Training & Watch keeping Sub-Committee) to develop appropriate model courses/standards for training in the operational use of IBS


5. Routeing of Ships Proposals to amend Resolution A.579(14) and A.620(15)

Navigation through the entrances to the Baltic Sea by extending recommendations to make increased use of the locally established Pilotage services by extending the draft

The working Group agreed to change the proposed implementation date to 1st December 2003 to allow the 23rd session of the Assembly which could revoke the current resolutions. MSC 76 will be asked to approve the final changes to these resolutions, The matter relating to Pilotage concludes that Under national laws pilotage is mandatory in territorial waters.


6.Anchoring Mooring & Towing Equipment

It was requested at DE/45 for IMO members comments regarding detailed consideration at NAV/48 for proposals to incorporate in the SOLAS convention, requirements for anchoring and mooring equipment fittings and associated structures, with a target completion date of 2003, primarily :-


.1 suitable arrangements* shall be provided on all ships for anchoring mooring and towage operations conducted as part of their normal and emergency operations

.2 Each fitting or item of equipment provided under this regulation shall be clearly marked with any restrictions associated with its safe operation, taking into account the strength of its attachment to the ships structure

*refer for guidance to the rules of classification societies, national standards and to the guidelines published by the oil tanker Industry”.


It was in this regard that  INTERTANKO stated although we shared the concerns raised by the DE sub-Committee regarding tanker and maritime safety and firmly believed the shipping Industry should endeavour to work together to improve maritime safety, we do recognise the concerns raised regarding the lack of standard guidelines for fitting mooring equipment to a vessels structure as well as standard methods for under deck stiffening and tie downs for ship builders to work too.

.2  however, after extensive enquiries with Classification Societies, Consultants and others we have found that to complete such proposals for existing ships would be a very cumbersome project due to difficulties in obtaining the required information either from the ship yards and/or the Classification Societies

.3 Moreover our investigations have not shown any compelling reasons that such proposed requirements as mentioned in the above 2.2 should be applied to existing vessels, and if this was to be applied retrospectively then this should only be after a comprehensive review of the justifications and implications of the proposal by all the parties involved.

5. However we certainly recognise the full value of applying such requirements to new buildings

In summary the INTERTANKO Position is that these proposals should not be applied  retrospectively to existing vessels without a review of the implications and justifications to do so.


It was stated that IMPA were conducting a study into this matter and were polling its members to determine the extent of cases where bollards had been inadvertently removed from the decks of vessels due to excessive high loads from tugs. Therefore it was agreed that INTERTANKO, IMPA and IHMA would co-ordinate its efforts to investigate how big a problem this was and thus examine the justifications for claiming the proposal should be applied retrospectively.


Contact: Howard Snaith on e-mail: 


7. Bay of Fundy TSS to protect the right whale


A proposal to change the Traffic Separation Scheme for the Bay of Fundy, put forward by Canada and supported by INTERTANKO was approved by the sub-Committee. The new positioning of the separation scheme will mean the protection of the right whale population in the area with little adverse effects to navigation. Further details of the changes to the scheme can be found here.


8. Places of refuge


INTERTANKO participated in the Working Group on places of refuge which focused on the drafting of the Guidelines to masters and coastal States regarding the use of places of refuge. In addition to this the Working Group also revised the Resolution on the establishment of Maritime Assistance Services in order to address the matter within coastal States and act as the focus point during a situation requiring a place of refuge. A full report of the issue and the final outcome will be given in next Weekly News as the sub-Committee was to finalise discussion on the matter on Friday 12 July.