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Cablegate: Imo: Report of the 86th Session of the Maritime

Published: Thu 27 Aug 2009 04:04 PM
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R 271630Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3314
INFO COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS LONDON 002001
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT IMO PHSA UK
SUBJECT: IMO: REPORT OF THE 86TH SESSION OF THE MARITIME
SAFETY COMMITTEE: MAY 27 - JUNE 5, 2009
1. Summary. The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held its 86th session (MSC 86) at IMO Headquarters in London under the chairmanship of Mr. N. Ferrer (Philippines) on May 27 - June 5, 2009. Regarding armed response to piracy, the MSC recommends that seafarers should not carry or use firearms and that the use of armed security teams on board merchant ships was a matter for flag states (para 8). One-hundred and three member states, two associate members, two United Nations specialized agencies, eight intergovernmental organizations and thirty-eight nongovernmental organizations participated in the MSC meeting. Major accomplishments of MSC 86 were:
A. Adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regarding materials containing asbestos, bilge pumping arrangements, new electronic navigational systems and equipment and material safety data sheets. The Committee also approved the guidelines on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and guidelines on infant life jackets;
B. Approved a circular on a revised guidance to vessels when submitting security related information;
C. Approved SOLAS amendments and an international construction standard for the mandatory application of goal-based standards (GBS) for bulk carriers and oil tankers;
D. Approved four Circulars (two on testing, one on survey and certification of ships, and one on the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) Coordinator's role in review and audit of the system.) In addition the Committee deferred development of the continuity of service plan until MSC 87, keeping the present procedure in place in the meantime. The Committee also commenced steps to transfer responsibility for the International Data Exchange (IDE) operation from the U.S. Coast Guard to a permanent solution, and authorized the LRIT Ad hoc group to meet between MSC 86-87 to resolve issues between Committee sessions;
E. Approved the procedures amending existing mandatory instruments. These procedures will be forwarded to the 59th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) for concurrent approval; and
F. Revised the counter-piracy guidance in MSC Circular 622 for governments, MSC Circular 623 for industry and to the code of practice for investigating incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea contained in Assembly Resolution A.922(22). END SUMMARY
Adoption of SOLAS Amendments ----------------------------
2. The Committee agreed to adopt the following SOLAS amendments to be accepted on 1 July 2010 and enter into force on 1 January 2011.
A. SOLAS chapters II-1 Regulation 3-5 regarding new installation of materials containing asbestos. The Committee forwarded to the Ship Design and Equipment Sub-Committee (DE) the comments made by the United Kingdom that the definition of new installation of materials needed further clarification;
B. Amendments to SOLAS chapters II-1 Regulation 35-1 bilge pumping arrangements;
C. Amendments to SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 19 regarding the mandatory carriage requirements for additional ship-borne navigational systems and equipment known as Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS); and
D. SOLAS Chapter VI Regulation VI/5-1 regarding the requirement to carry MSDS when carrying oil or oil fuel.
Measures to Enhance Maritime Security -------------------------------------
3. The Committee took the following actions:
A. The Committee approved a circular on a revised guidance to companies on the submission of security related information prior to the entry of a ship into port (MSC.1/Circ.1305) to include the IMO Company identification number.
B. The Committee agreed to review, at its next session, a proposed form for the transmission of the security-related information proposed by the Facilitation Committee's (FAL) Correspondence Group on Electronic means for the clearance of ships.
C. The Islamic Republic of Iran provided information on positive steps it has made in implementing the security-related instruments and noted failures identified during verification of at least one member state. Without naming the member state it is expected that the comments raised by the Islamic Republic of Iran were directed to the United States.
D. Several organizations with consultative status representing the welfare of seafarers noted the difficulties in relation to shore leave, access to ships, and increased work load of seafarers caused by the implementation of security regulations.
E. Several member states including Belgium identified a number of problems and difficulties encountered with the issuance of Continuous Synopsis Records (CSR) and proposed the Committee should issue a circular stressing the need to observe the guidelines for the maintenance of CSR. The Committee agreed that it was not possible to develop such a circular during the session but urged all member states to strictly adhere to the provisions and bring forward further cases where the provisions had not been observed.
Goal Based Standards (GBS) for New Ship Construction --------------------------------------------- -------
4. The Committee made substantial progress on this agenda item, focusing on the development of GBS for the construction of bulk carriers and oil tankers. A working group was established and chaired by the United States The Committee approved SOLAS amendments and an international construction standard to make goal-based construction standards for bulk carriers and oil tankers mandatory. Additionally, the Committee agreed in principle to a pragmatic verification process based on self-assessment by the rule developer and audit of the rules by the IMO. The Committee discussed funding options for GBS audits but was unable to reach a decision at this session. Accordingly, the Committee agreed to finalize the Guidelines and further consider funding issues at MSC 87.
Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) ---------------------------------------------
5. The Committee took 30 decisions in furtherance of implementation of LRIT, the most important of which were: four Circulars, two on testing, one on survey and certification of ships, and one on the LRIT Coordinator's role in review and audit of the system. It agreed that Search and Rescue (SAR) services should be able to receive LRIT data during phases rather than distress, but delayed implementation of this decision until MSC 87. It agreed that the continuity of service plan should be completed by MSC 87. Finally, it authorized one or more sessions of the LRIT Ad hoc group between MSC 86 to MSC 87 to decide any necessary issues arising during implementation of the system. At this session, in the margins, substantial progress was made on executing contracts (US - form PO) to acquire data from other Data Centers (DC) (Marshall Islands, Panama, European Maritime Safety Agency on behalf of the European Union (EU) member States, and Liberia) ships between U.S. National Data Center and other DCs or their contracting governments.
Capacity-building for implementing measures -------------------------------------------
6. The committee approved the guidelines recommended by the Drafting Group on the assessment of capacity-building implications for the implementation of new and/or, amendment to existing instruments. The guidelines will be forwarded to MEPC for concurrent approval. The procedures outlined in the approved guidelines are an iterative assessment process that begins at the acceptance of the preliminary proposal and runs in parallel up to the process of its implementation to promote universal ratification and compliance. The Committee agreed to interpret and/or, amendments to existing instruments8 in the Assembly resolution on capacity building (Resolution A.998(25)) to include only those instruments that have not yet entered into force.
Formal Safety Assessments (FSA) -------------------------------
7. At the request of the Committee, the FSA Experts Group convened to initiate a review of the FSA carried out by SAFEDOR and submitted by Denmark. The FSAs submitted for review included cruise ships, Roll-on Roll-off Passenger (RoPax) Ships, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers and containerships. Within terms of reference asking the Group to evaluate conformance with the IMO FSA Guidelines, as well as the resulting recommendations, the Group received presentations from the submitter and were provided an opportunity to ask questions and seek additional information. Following this preliminary review, the Group will meet and correspond intersessionally to continue its review.
Piracy and Armed Security Teams -------------------------------
8. The Committee completed revisions on the guidance to governments and industry on counter-piracy measures and on the investigation of piracy incidents. With respect to the carriage and use of firearms on merchant vessels, the revised guidance confirms that seafarers should not carry or use firearms and that the use of armed security teams on board merchant ships was a matter for flag states to determine in consultation with ship owners and companies, not the IMO. A. The Committee revised the counter-piracy guidance in MSC Circular 622 for governments, MSC Circular 623 for industry and to the code of practice for investigating incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea contained in Assembly Resolution A.922(22). Hostage survival guidance issued by the United Nations (UN) was included as an annex to Circular 623. A new Circular promulgating industry Best Management Practices (BMP) developed through the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, along with guidance proposed by France for fishing vessels, was drafted. B. The revised guidance provides that the carriage and use of firearms for personal protection or protection of a ship should be strongly discouraged and that the use of armed security teams (private or government) on board merchant ships was a matter for flag states to determine in consultation with ship owners and companies, not the IMO. Proposals by some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) (led by BIMCO) to develop detailed IMO standards for the use of armed security personnel, to address issues such as legal status, relation with the ship,s master and indemnification, and certification/level of training, were not supported. USDEL successfully defeated proposals to provide for advance notification to coastal states of ships embarking armed security teams. C. On the use of the ship,s Automatic Identification System (AIS), the guidance acknowledges a master's discretion to turn off AIS for security reasons but the discretion has limits. Off the coast of Somalia, the MSC Circular issuing the industry best management practices will provide that ships should seek current guidance from the Maritime Security Center-Horn of Africa on the use of AIS. There was a brief discussion whether the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code was limited to protecting against terrorism or whether it included piracy, and, therefore, whether compliance with the revised MSC piracy guidance was required within the ISPS Code, but no action was taken. Finally, the guidance provides for seafarers and their families to receive appropriate counseling assistance during and after a hostage incident.
General Cargo Ship Safety -------------------------
9. The Committee agreed that the FSA study on general cargo ships should be reviewed by the FSA Experts Group after the full study has been finalized. It is anticipated that an update on the study will be provided to MSC 87. Several delegations emphasized that the study should investigate the root causes of casualties on general cargo ships.
Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC) --------------------------------------------- ------
10. The Committee considered matters from the thirteenth session of the DSC Sub-Committee and took the following actions: A. The Committee approved the procedure for the adoption of future amendments to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code; B. The Committee instructed the Sub-Committee to review and amend as necessary the lists of solid bulk cargoes for which a fixed gas fire-extinguishing system may be exempted or for which a fixed gas fire-extinguishing systems is ineffective (MSC/Circ.1146); C. The Committee agreed to consider at DSC 14 amendments to the Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS) Code to include dimensions for lashing position design, the need for an appropriate FSA, and application and definition to new and existing ships; and D. The Committee approved the circular regarding corner fittings, on Amendments to the Guidance on serious structural deficiencies in containers (CSC.1/Circ.137).
Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR) --------------------------------------------- -----
11. The Committee considered matters from the thirteenth session of the COMSAR Sub-Committee and took the following actions: A. The Committee approved the Revised Joint IMO/ International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)/ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Manual on Maritime Safety Information (MSI) (MSC.1/Circ.1310); B. The Committee instructed the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV) to consider issues related to the status of the current Automatic Identification System (AIS) frequencies and to consider future spectrum requirement with respect to e-navigation and advise COMSAR 14 accordingly; C. The Committee instructed DSC 14 to consider the issue of tracking and identification of cargo containers and advise COMSAR 14 accordingly; D. The Committee endorsed the re-establishment of the Joint IMO/ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Experts Group; E. The Committee endorsed the action requesting the Secretariat to issue the List of rescue coordination centers (RCCs) associated with Inmarsat land earth stations (LESs) (COMSAR.1/Circ.47) and recognizing the routine nature of the information, authorized the Secretariat to revise and issue annual updates to this list, without bringing it first to the attention of the Sub-Committee for approval; F. The Committee approved draft amendments to the technical specifications for communications within the LRIT system and the amendments to MSC.1/Circ.1297 and agreed that SAR services should be able to request and receive LRIT information in case other than those specified in regulation V/19-1.12. The implemented date for these amendments will be decided, at the Committee's next session; G. The Committee approved the terms of reference and provisional agenda for the sixteenth session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)/IMO Joint Working Group on Harmonization of Aeronautical and Maritime SAR; and H. The Committee endorsed the action in requesting the Secretariat to issue the circular on AIS safety-related messaging (COMSAR.1/Circ.46).
Training and Watchkeeping (STW) -------------------------------
12. The Committee considered matters from the fortieth session of the STW Sub-Committee and took the following actions: A. The Committee requested the Secretary-General take appropriate action to convene the diplomatic conference in the Philippines in June 2010 to adopt the amendments to the STCW Convention and Code. The Committee approved, in principle, the preliminary draft revised text of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention and Code and authorized STW 41 to finalize the draft revised text for consideration at the diplomatic conference. The Committee approved the convening of an ad hoc intersessional meeting 7 to 11 September 2009 chaired by the United States to progress work on the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code.
Fire Protection (FP) --------------------
13. The Committee considered matters from the fifty-third session of the FP Sub-Committee and took the following actions: A. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1312 on Revised Guidelines for the performance and testing criteria, and surveys of foam concentrates for fixed fire-extinguishing systems; B. The Committee approved draft amendments to chapter 1 of the Fire Safety Systems (FSS) Code, in order to make it clear that amendments to the Code; C. The Committee approved the draft amendments to chapter 10 of the FSS Code, regarding sample extraction smoke detection systems; D. The Committee approved the draft new chapter 16 of the FSS Code on matters related to fixed hydrocarbon gas detection systems; E. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1314 on Application of SOLAS regulation II-2/10 and chapter 12 of the FSS Code related to emergency fire pump capacity; F. The Committee adopted resolution MSC.284(86) on Amendments to the Revised Guidelines for approval of sprinkler systems equivalent to that referred to in SOLAS regulation II-2/12 (resolution A.800(19)) to clarify the application of the amendments to the Revised Guidelines adopted by resolution MSC.265(84); G. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1315 on Guidelines for the approval of fixed dry chemical powder fire-extinguishing systems for the protection of ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk; H. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1316 on Guidelines on determining the no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) and lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) values for halocarbon fire-extinguishing agents, referred to in MSC.1/Circ.1267 on Amendments to the Revised Guidelines for approval of equivalent fixed gas fire-extinguishing systems, as referred to in SOLAS 74, for machinery spaces and cargo pump-rooms (MSC/Circ.848); I. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1317 on Application for existing approvals according to the Revised Guidelines for the approval of equivalent fixed gas fire-extinguishing systems, as referred to in SOLAS 74, for machinery spaces and cargo pump-rooms (MSC/Circ.848); J. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1319 on Recommendation for the evaluation of fire performance and approval of large fire doors; K. The Committee approved the draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2, which would make the 2010 Fire Test Procedures (FTP) Code mandatory, for consideration, with a view to adoption, at MSC 88, in conjunction with the adoption of the draft Code; L. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1320 on Guidelines for the drainage of fire-fighting water from closed vehicle and roll-on roll-off spaces and special category spaces of passenger and cargo ships, to assist Administrations in the implementation of the amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/20, adopted by resolution MSC.256(84); M. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1321 on Guidelines for measures to prevent fires in engine-rooms and cargo pump-rooms; N. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1322 on Unified interpretations of SOLAS chapter II-2; and O. The Committee approved the draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-2/4.5.7, regarding gas measurement and detection for consideration, with a view to adoption, at MSC 87.
Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) ----------------------------
14. The Committee considered matters from the thirteenth session of the BLG Sub-Committee and took the following actions: A. The Committee approved amendments to the revised standards for the design, testing and locating of devices to prevent the passage of flame into cargo tanks in tankers (MSC/Circ.677 and MSC.1/Circ.1324) and B. The Committee approved a circular on missing information on apparatus groups in column " of chapter 17 of the International Bulk Carrier (IBC) Code (MSC.1/Circ.1325).
Ship Design and Equipment (DE) ------------------------------
15. The Committee considered matters from the fifty-second session of the DE Sub-Committee and took the following actions: A. The Committee approved, subject to MEPC,s concurrent decision, the draft Assembly resolution on Adoption of the Code on Alerts and Indicators, 2009 for submission to the twenty-sixth session of the Assembly for adoption; B. The Committee approved the draft Assembly resolution on Adoption of the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units, 2009, for submission to the twenty-sixth session of the Assembly for adoption; C. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1326 on the clarification of SOLAS regulation III/19, providing guidance on lifeboat launching during abandon ship drills; D. The Committee approved draft amendments to the Life-Saving Appliances (LSA) Code, concerning new requirements for on-load release mechanisms and the assumed weight of persons, to be applied to liferafts and to SOLAS chapter III, concerning replacement of existing on-load release mechanisms; E. The Committee approved draft amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances (resolution MSC.81(70)), concerning the increase in the assumed weight of persons to be applied to life-saving appliances; F. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1327 on Guidelines for the fitting and use of fall preventer devices (FPDs); G. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1328 on Guidelines for the approval of inflatable liferafts subject to extended service intervals not exceeding 30 months; H. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1329 on Guidelines for uniform operating limitations of high-speed craft; I. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1330 on Guidelines for maintenance and repair of protective coatings; J. The Committee approved the draft new SOLAS regulation on Corrosion protection of cargo oil tanks of crude oil tankers; and K. The Committee approved MSC.1/Circ.1331 on Guidelines for construction, installation, maintenance and inspection/survey of accommodation ladders and gangways.
Flag State Implementation (FSI) -------------------------------
16. The Committee considered matters from the seventeenth session of the FSI Sub-Committee and took the following actions: A. The Committee continued to note the development of the Code for Recognized Organizations (RO). In conjunction with this item, concern was expressed by several IMO Members on the implications of Article 10 of the European Parliament and Council Regulation on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organizations which entered into force on 17 June 2009. Sweden indicated they were deeply concern by the comments raised by Member States. The USDEL informed the Committee that they had communicated separately with the EU on this issue and had just recently received a reply which they found unsatisfactory and unresponsive to the concerns raised by many Member States. In the reply the EU acknowledged that Article 10 would apply to all classification work by all EU ROs, regardless of the flag of the ship. Several other delegations made further references to the provisions contained in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in particular, article 94 on flag state,s obligations and infringement in the historical relationship between flag Administrations and ROs, the creation of an oligopoly of EU ROs and the alternative opportunity which could have been used, by EU countries, to reach their objectives through the development of the Code for Recognized Organizations. The Committee expressed concern and invited interested Member States to submit information on developments relevant to this issue. B. The Committee approved, subject to MEPC,s concurrent decision, the draft circular on general guidance on the timing of replacement of existing certificates by the certificates issued after the entry into force of amendments to certificates in IMO instruments. C. The Committee approved, subject to MEPC,s concurrent decision, the draft amendments to the Code for the Implementation of Mandatory IMO Instruments, 2007 and the associated draft Assembly resolution for submission to the twenty-sixth session of the Assembly for adoption and invited the Council to note the above developments
Work program ------------
17. The Committee approved the provisional agenda for BLG 14, DSC 14, FP 54, FSI 18, COMSAR 14, NAV 55; DE 53; SLF 52; and STW 41. A. In particular, the Committee agreed to include, as a high priority, the following new work program items proposed by the United States; 1) For the FP and DE a proposal for non-mandatory guidelines regarding a visible element to the general emergency alarm on passenger ships to accommodate passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing; 2) For COMSAR, a proposal to revise the performance standards for float-free satellite Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) and a proposal to review the elements and procedures of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS); and 3) For NAV, a proposal to amend the World-Wide Radionavigation System. B. Additional new work programs items agreed to by the Committee include the installation of equipment for detection of radioactive sources and radioactive contaminated objects in ports; a revision to the provisions for helicopter facilities; means for recharging air bottles for air breathing apparatus; review of the principles for establishing the safe manning levels; amendments to the Loadline Convention; new symbols for AIS aids to navigation; application of amendments to SOLAS chapter III and the LSA Code; development of a mandatory Code for ships operating in polar waters; testing of watertight compartments; electrical installations; and amendments to shift the Winter Seasonal Zone off the southern tip of Africa further southward by 50 miles to allow tankers to round the Cape of Good Hope on their summer marks all year round.
Chairman election -----------------
18. The Committee unanimously re-elected Mr. Neil Ferrer (Philippines) as Chairman, and Mr. Christian Breinholt (Denmark) as Vice-Chairman, for 2010.
Next Session ------------
19. MSC 87 is scheduled for 12-21 May 2010 in London, United Kingdom. Major issues to be discussed at MSC 87 include adoption of amendments to SOLAS, maritime security, goal-based new ship construction standards, and long range identification and tracking (LRIT). The MSC will also consider the reports of nine subcommittees and establish working groups on goal-based new ship construction standards, LRIT, and maritime security or human element. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
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