MSC 82 - Final report on Navigation, LSA equipment, LRIT, VDR/S-VDR & BRM

Final reports from the 82nd session of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) from Istanbul in the first week of December (see also Weekly NEWS No. 49/2006).


Survey of shipborne long-range identification and tracking of ships (LRIT) equipment


As regards performance standards for shipborne long-range identification and tracking of  ships (LRIT) equipment, the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee at its 82nd session (MSC 82) agreed that it would be appropriate that such equipment be surveyed by radio inspectors, and adequate provisions are to be included in the Survey Guidelines under the High Speed Subcarrier Committee (HSSC) in future. The Committee instructed the Flag State Implementation Sub-committee (FSI 15 - June 2007) to act accordingly and to report to MSC 83 (October 2007).


Navigational matters


The Committee decided that the adopted new traffic separation schemes and amendments to the existing traffic separation schemes and the routeing measures other than traffic separation schemes, see below, shall be implemented six months after their adoption, i.e., on 1 July 2007 at 0000 hours UTC.


Traffic Separation Schemes (TSSs)


Norway: A new Traffic Separation Scheme was adopted including recommended routes off the coast of Norway from Vardø to Røst. The new TSS consists of eight TSSs and seven recommended routes connecting them, off the coast of Norway. The new TSSs will be mandatory for all tankers, vessels carrying hazardous cargo and all cargo ships of 5000 GRT and upwards engaged in international voyages. A map of the area and the new TSSs can be accessed here.


United Kingdom: Various new TSSs and amendments to existing TSSs in the waters around the United Kingdom were adopted, such as a new TSS in the SUNK area and associated routeing measures in the northern approaches to the Thames Estuary and in the Minches off Neist Point.The Committee also adopted amendments to the existing deep-water route west of the Hebrides, and recommended routes in the Minch.


United States: The existing TSS in the approaches to Boston will be slightly moved in order to minimise ship strikes in what is a dense right-whale area. The existing TSS runs through an area where the right-whales have one of their most important food-grounds. With the amendments, ship strikes will be less likely and shipping will therefore pose a lesser threat to this diminishing species. INTERTANKO supported this proposal. 


Tunisia: The existing TSSs "Off Cani Island" and "Off Cape Bon" will be slightly moved outwards (north), to increase the protection of the environment in an event of a ship disaster.


The English Channel: Various minor changes and amendments will be made to the existing TSSs and the area to be avoided around the EC 2 Light buoy will be abolished.


Adriatic Sea: Various amendments will be made to the TSSs in the Adriatic Sea and an area to be avoided in the approaches to Venice will be established.


New Zealand: A precautionary area will be established off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand.


Strait of Gibraltar: In order to establish safe routeing measures for traffic bound to or from the port of Tanger-Med, various amendments to the existing TSS and the inshore traffic zone have been adopted. A precautionary area will also be amended.


Ship Reporting Systems


The establishment of new, and amendments to existing, Ship Reporting Systems (SRSs) were adopted by MSC 82.


Galapagos Islands: A new mandatory SRS for the Galapagos Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), GALREP, will enable the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre located in the Galapagos to obtain accurate information on ships and give alert promptly to ensure an immediate response, if necessary.


Great Belt Traffic Area: An expansion of the existing mandatory SRS was adopted.


Gulf of Finland: Amendments will be made to the existing mandatory SRS in order to facilitate accurate information to and from ships, especially under ice conditions.


Emergency wreck marking buoy


The Committee approved "SN.1/Circ.259 - Emergency wreck marking buoy"

The new buoy is designed to provide a high visual and radio aid to navigation recognition. The buoy has the following characteristics:

·         A pillar or spare buoy.

·         Blue and yellow stripes (minimum 4 / maximum 8).

·         Alternating blue/yellow flashing light, where the blue and yellow 1 second flashes are alternated with an interval of 0.5 seconds

A picture of the new buoy (from Trinity House) may be seen here.


Amended and new performance standards for navigational equipment (ECDIS and shipborne Galileo receiver equipment)


In accordance with resolution A.886(21), the Committee adopted:

  • Revised performance standards for Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS)
  • Performance Standards for shipborne Galileo receiver equipment

The resolutions containing the Performance Standards have not yet been issued by the IMO Secretariat, but will be made available in the Weekly NEWS in due course.


Voyage data recorder performance test certificate


Noting that the Flag State Implementation Sub-committee (FSI 14) and the Safety of Navigation Sub-committee (NAV 52) had agreed to the draft Guidelines for the annual testing of voyage data recorders (VDR) and simplified voyage data recorders (S-VDR) incorporating the "Form for the Voyage Data Recorder Performance Test Certificate", the Committee approved a proposal to amend both the draft Guidelines and the "Form for the Voyage Data Recorder Performance Test Certificate" and consequently approved the following circular:

"MSC.1/Circ.1222 - Guidelines on annual testing of voyage data recorders (VDR) and simplified voyage data recorders (S-VDR)".


Global VDR system


The Committee considered a proposal by Egypt to develop a system, standalone or integrated into an appropriate existing ship reporting system, such as LRIT, to transmit data collected by the voyage data recorder (VDR) from each ship on voyage to the administrative organisation where the data received is stored within a certain period of time, to be made available, when accidents occur, to the appropriate authorities or, in normal circumstances, to ship owners to monitor and evaluate ship's equipment performance and crew's response in different situations. Following a discussion, the Committee, having appreciated that the information provided is not sufficient to proceed on the issue as proposed by Egypt, did not agree to the proposal.


Bridge Resource Management - mandatory requirement for Masters and deck Officers?


The Singapore delegation suggested that the IMO's Sub-committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW Sub-committee) be instructed to look into the issue of making Bridge Resource Management (BRM) training mandatory for deck officers under the STCW Convention. Having recalled that the work programme of the STW Sub-committee contains an item on "Comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and the STCW Code", the Committee agreed to refer Singapore's suggestion to the STW Sub-committee for detailed consideration.


Life Saving Appliances (LSA) Code – Amendments


The Committee agreed with the proposal by Norway to modify or delete the draft new paragraph of Chapter IV requiring fast rescue boats to be fitted with an on-load release mechanism. The amendments to the LSA Code, proposed for adoption at the current session, should be deemed to have been accepted on 1 January 2008 and should enter into force on 1 July 2008.


Lifeboats - MSC.1/Circ.1206


An extensive debate regarding which parts of MSC.1/Circ.1206 (Lifeboat Maintenance/Service and Certification) should or should not become mandatory took place, in which the Committee, after having heard the concerns of the industry as well as those of the flag states, decided not to make the circular mandatory at this session but to refer it to the Design & Equipment (DE) Sub-committee for further consideration and advice.


INTERTANKO communicated to the Committee in its submission MSC 82/10/11 the various difficulties experienced by our members so far in this matter. It will accordingly continue to work on this important issue at the next session of the DE Sub-committee, which will take place in London, March 2007.


INTERTANKO is pleased with the outcome, as one of the difficulties our members have encountered is that some flag states have treated the circular as mandatory in the SOLAS Convention, which clearly is not the case. However, it is of our understanding that some flag states will continue to keep the circular mandatory in their national legislations.


Lifeboat drills


The Committee, after consideration of a proposal by Norway to clarify SOLAS Chapter III, regulation, decided to amend and adopt the SOLAS text so that it now reads as follows:

"In the case of a lifeboat arranged for free-fall launching, at least once every three months during an abandon ship drill the crew shall board the lifeboat, properly secure themselves in their seats and commence launch procedures up to but not including the actual release of the lifeboat (i.e., the release hook shall not be released).

The lifeboat shall then either be free-fall launched with only the required operating crew on board, or lowered into the water by means of the secondary means of launching with or without the operating crew on board. In both cases the lifeboat shall thereafter be manoeuvred in the water by the operating crew.

At intervals of not more than six months, the lifeboat shall either be launched by free-fall with only the operating crew on board, or simulated launching shall be carried out in accordance with guidelines developed by the Organization."


As the text now reads, crews on vessels that are equipped with equipment for simulated launch are not required to carry out real free-fall launches. If such equipment is not available onboard, the lifeboat operating crew must carry out the free-fall launch at intervals not exceeding six months.


Contact: Fredrik Larsson