MSC 83 - Code of International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident

As advised in Weekly NEWS No. 31/2007 of 3 August 2007, INTERTANKO co-sponsored a submission MSC 83/15/2 to MSC 83 this week jointly with, Brazil, China, Cyprus, Greece, Philippines, South Africa, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the International Shipping Federation (ISF), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO and INTERCARGO.


The submission raised concerns pertaining to the draft code of the international standards and recommended practices for a safety investigation into a marine casualty or marine incident. The focus was on some of the provisions in draft Chapter 12 (Obtaining evidence from seafarers), specifically on the formulation of some of the wording which reads:


“Further, a Seafarer from whom evidence is sought shall be informed, or allowed access to legal advice, regarding:

(a) Any potential risk that they may incriminate themselves in any proceedings subsequent to the Marine Safety Investigation;

(b) Any right not to self-incriminate or to remain silent;

(c) Any protections afforded to the Seafarer to prevent the evidence being used against them if they provide the evidence to the Marine Safety Investigation."

The collective co-sponsors held the view that this is open to a number of interpretations. The use of the word or suggests that there are alternatives, some of which may not be compatible with international human rights instruments, and which could be used to undermine the fundamental rights and freedoms of seafarers, as established by instruments of international law addressing human rights, and also in various IMO Instruments.

We are pleased to advise that the MSC agreed to the changes proposed in MSC 83/15/2. 


Consequently MSC 83:


·          Agreed to approve the draft code of the International Standards and recommended Practices for safety investigation into marine casualty or marine incident (Casualty Investigation Code) with a view to adoption at MSC 84.

·          Approved the draft amendments to SOLAS Chapter XI-I making mandatory the Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for Safety Investigation into Marine Casualty or Marine Incident, with a view to adoption at MSC 84.


Contact: Howard Snaith