Positive outcomes from the 93rd Session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee
Brad Groves, AMSA’s General Manager Navigation Safety and International Division, led Australia’s delegation which included AMSA officers, a representative from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, and observers from Rio Tinto and BHP.
Session highlights included:
- Introduction of a mandatory IMO audit scheme. Amendments to SOLAS 74 and other IMO conventions make mandatory the use of the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code). Once they enter into force in 2016, the amendments will make the audit of IMO Member States mandatory.
- Approval of text of a draft new SOLAS Chapter XIV titled ‘Safety measures for ships operating in polar waters’. MSC 93 also approved, in principle, a draft International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (‘the Polar Code’). Some work on safety of navigation, communications and environmental matters remain, which has been referred to other committees for completion.
- Adoption of a new two-way shipping route along the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait. MSC formally adopted Australia’s 2013 proposal which now provides international recognition for the route.
- A revised long-term action plan for passenger ship safety was agreed. The plan includes proposed work on damage stability and survivability of passenger ships, operation of watertight doors, consideration of double hull requirements in way of engine rooms, damage control drills for passenger ships and enhanced damage stability training.
- Draft amendments to SOLAS Chapter VI to require mandatory verification of the gross mass of containers, either by weighing the packed container or by weighing all packages and cargo items and adding the tare mass were approved for adoption at MSC 94 (November 2014).
- A range of amendments to IMO conventions and codes come into force on 1 January 2016. They address sea trials requirements for steering gear, inert gas systems on new tankers, ventilation systems on new ships, fire protection requirements for new ships designed to carry containers on/above the weather deck, additional means of escape from machinery spaces, and requirements for vehicle carriers carrying vehicles that use compressed hydrogen/natural gas for propulsion.