IACS-Industry meeting of 14 January 2004 in preparation for DE47 and MEPC51 IMO meetings

Eight IACS member Societies were represented together with the Permanent Secretary of IACS, who chaired the meeting. Industry bodies represented were: ICS, BIMCO, INTERCARGO, OCIMF and INTERTANKO.

The purpose of the meeting was to review and discuss papers tabled by IACS and by Industry associations to the forthcoming Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE47, to be held from Wednesday 25 February 2004 till Friday 5 March 2004) and to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC51, to be held from Monday 29 March 2004 till Friday 2 April 2004).

The following issues relevant to tankers were discussed:

Permanent Means of Access (PMA): On this issue the position of IACS and of the Industry associations is identical, and the work done over the last year in the IACS-Industry Joint Working Group on PMA has resulted in the documents that have now been submitted to IMO by the industry and separately by IACS, and which call for the necessary amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-6 so that the regulation is practical, cost-effective and safe.

Anchoring, Mooring and Towing Equipment: Following calls by the industry, IACS has now introduced a Unified Requirement (UR A2) which will regulate, for newbuildings contracted for construction after 1 January 2005, the strength requirements for shipboard fittings and supporting hull structures associated with towing and mooring. There are Administrations who are requesting that IMO should regulate equivalent requirements for existing ships, which would mean a lot of additional work in measuring, calculating, surveying, and marking all relevant fittings. ISTEC has debated this issue and has concluded that the safety justification for introducing this requirement for existing ships is very weak. It is anticipated that most industry associations will take the same view when the subject is discussed at DE47.

Revision to IACS’s Unified Requirements UR Z10.1 (surveys for single hull tankers to include technical requirements for CAS), UR Z10.2 (surveys for bulk carriers), and the new UR Z10.4 (regulating surveys for double hull tankers). These IACS’ URs are adopted by IMO as revisions to its Resolution A744, which regulates the extent of surveys, thickness measurements etc. The industry representatives noted that the new unified IACS survey requirements for double hull tankers (which in all likelihood will also be adopted by IMO) have not been presented and discussed with the industry, and IACS has not had the chance to receive the necessary feedback from ship operators.

MARPOL Regulations 13G and 13H on the phase-out of single hull tankers, and on carriage requirements for Heavy Grades of Oil: A draft submission by INTERTANKO to MEPC51 was discussed. This submission notes that there are no IMO guidelines as to how the phase-out will be enforced, and from some informal discussions held so far with classification societies and with flag Administrations it appears that a uniform system does not exist to date. The matter is further complicated by the fact that a tanker which is phased out in reality is only phased out of Annex I cargoes and therefore it might continue trading with Annex II cargoes.

Protection of Pump Rooms with Double Bottoms and Provision of Emergency Response Service: A proposal is under consideration at IMO that tanker newbuildings must have their pump room protected by double bottoms and that all tankers must have suitable ERS arrangements. INTERTANKO, after discussions at ISTEC, has submitted a paper to DE47 supporting both proposals but requesting an exemption for those cases where the bottom of the pump room is raised above the base line of the ship (mainly twin screw tankers).

Other subjects discussed in this meeting included problems regarding Float Free Freefall lifeboats, issues arising from the different proposals for the Protection of Fuel Tanks, and a proposal by an Administration that Emergency Towing Arrangements are mandated for all ships (currently only tankers above 20,000 DWT are obliged to be fitted with ETS).

Contact: Dragos Rauta