The 9th session of the IMO’s Sub-committee on Navigation, Communications, Search and Rescue (NCSR 9) took place from 21 to 30 June. Navigation and voyage planning requirements for fishing vessels, pleasure yachts and small cargo ships operating in polar waters were finalized.
fter the end of the meeting, DNV published a summary, analyzing what was agreed. More specifically:
Guidelines on places of refuge for ships
NCSR 9 finalized a draft revision of the “Guidelines on places of refuge for ships in need of assistance” to incorporate experiences and developments since its adoption in 2004.
A draft Assembly resolution containing the revised guidelines will be submitted to MSC 106 (November 2022) for approval and adoption.
Modernization of the GMDSS
The modernization implies generic requirements, independent of specific service providers, as well as removal of carriage requirements for obsolete systems and a re-organization of the SOLAS requirements to communication equipment. The definitions of the sea areas A1 to A4 have been amended to reflect that the geographical area of coverage may vary between various satellite service providers.
Maritime Safety Information in the GMDSS
NCSR 9 finalized a draft second revision of the NAVTEX Manual (MSC.1/Circ.1403/Rev.1). The manual describes the structure and operation of the NAVTEX service, which is an international direct printing service for promulgation of MSI and urgent safety-related messages to ships. The draft revision is expected to become effective on 1 January 2023, subject to approval by MSC 106 (November 2022).
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NCSR 9 finalized a draft “Guidance for ships carrying large numbers of crew or passengers in the event of a multiple casualty evacuation”. The guidance will be submitted to MSC 106 (November 2022) for approval.
Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS)
NCSR 9 finalized a draft second revision of the “ECDIS guidance for good practice” (MSC.1/Circ.1503/Rev.1) to improve the unified implementation of ECDIS type approval when approving ECDIS’s software and relevant updates. The revision also removes obsolete references to the Data Presentation and Performance Check (DPPC) dataset of IHO in relation to anomalies.
NCSR 9 finalized a draft revision of the “ECDIS performance standards” (resolution MSC.232(82)) to include references to the IHO product specifications S-98, S-100 and S-101 into the current performance standards to allow for the introduction of the next technical generation of Electronic Navigational Charts (S-101 ENC).
The revised performance standards will be applicable to ECDIS equipment installed on or after 1 January 2029. In a transitional period, from 1 January 2026 to 1 January 2029, ECDIS equipment may conform to either the current performance standards (resolution MSC.232(82)) or the newly introduced ECDIS performance standards based on S-101.
NCSR 9 finalized draft SOLAS amendments to make electronic inclinometers for the measurement of heel angles compulsory for container ships and bulk carriers of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards. The draft requirements are not intended for cargo ships occasionally carrying cargoes in bulk and general cargo ships carrying containers on deck.
The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2026, subject to approval and adoption by the MSC.
Long-Range Identification and Tracking System (LRIT)
NCSR 9 agreed on the following draft amendments to improve the performance of the LRIT system for identification and tracking of ships:
- “Revised Performance standards and functional requirements for the long-range identification and tracking of ships” (resolution MSC.263(84), as amended);
- “Long-range identification and tracking system – Technical documentation (Part I)” (MSC.1/Circ.1259/Rev.8);
- “Guidance on the survey and certification of compliance of ships with the requirement to transmit LRIT information” (MSC.1/Circ.1307);
- “Continuity of service plan for the LRIT system” (MSC.1/Circ.1376/Rev.4).