Along with a major focus on the regulatory scoping exercise for autonomous ships, the landmark 100th session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 100) held on 3-7 December, pushed further regulatory work on shipping safety, with the adoption of amendments to the SPS Code and the STCW Code, as well as the approval of draft amendments and guidelines.
Adoption of amendments
The MSC adopted Amendments:
- to the Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships (SPS Code), including a revised chapter 8 on life-saving appliances; a requirement for special purpose ships to comply with the provisions of chapter IV of SOLAS; and a revised Form of Safety Certificate for Special Purpose Ships and Record of Equipment for Special Purpose Ship Safety Certificate (Form SPS).
- to sections B-V/a, B-V/b, B-V/c, B-V/d, B V/e, B V/f and B-V/g of the STCW Code, which relate to consequential amendments following earlier amendments to the STCW Convention and Code relating to the Polar Code.
Draft amendments to the 2011 ESP Code forwarded to MSC 101
The Committee decided to hold in abeyance the adoption of amendments to update the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (2011 ESP Code), pending further work on the new consolidated Code by the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 6), which is expected to be adopted by the IMO Assembly at its 31st session.
Approval of draft amendments
The MSC also approved draft amendments:
- to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), with a view to subsequent adoption. The draft amendments include draft revised chapters 17 (Summary of minimum requirements), 18 (List of products to which the Code does not apply), 19 (Index of products carried in bulk) and 21 (Criteria for assigning carriage requirements for products subject to the IBC Code), as well as draft new paragraph 15.15 (Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) detection equipment for bulk liquids). Further amendments are consequential to draft amendments to MARPOL Annex II. Associated amendments to the BCH Code were approved for adoption in conjunction with the adoption of the above IBC Code amendments.
- to forms C, E and P of the appendix to SOLAS 1974, for consistency throughout the forms contained in the appendix.
- to the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code regarding manual launching of a rescue boat (paragraph 220.127.116.11) having a mass not more than 700 kg in fully equipped condition and which is not one of the ship’s survival craft, allowing manual hoisting from the stowed position and turning out to the embarkation position by one person so that persons can be safely embarked.
- to the LSA Code regarding a lifeboat with two independent propulsion systems (paragraph 18.104.22.168) providing a flexibility for the requirement of sufficient buoyant oars and their related items to make headway in calm seas.
- to paragraph 2.2 of chapter 15 of the FSS Code, aiming to provide a unified understanding of arrangements for inert gas lines and related indicators and alarms for monitoring the pressure of the inert gas mains.
- to the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code).
Approval of guidance and guidelines
The MSC approved:
- MSC.1/Circ.1430/Rev.1 on the Revised guidelines for the approval of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems for ro-ro spaces and special category spaces (to update the guidelines in MSC.1/Circ.1430). The revision relates in particular to the position of sprinklers or nozzles, to ensure adequate performance, and to reliable control of fixed water-based fire-fighting systems.
Instructed relevant sub-committees to consider relevant parts of the draft interim guidelines for the safety of ships using methyl/ethyl alcohol as fuel prepared by CCC 5. The detailed interim guidelines provide requirements for the arrangement, installation, control and monitoring of machinery, equipment and systems using methyl/ethyl alcohol as fuel to minimize the risk to the ship, its crew and the environment, taking into account to the nature of the fuels involved.
- interim guidelines on the application of high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service. The interim guidelines are aimed at ensuring the safety of ships carrying or fuelled by LNG, by specifying the requirements for the utilization of high manganese austenitic steel in the design and fabrication of cargo and fuel tanks complying with the International Gas Carrier (IGC) and IGF Codes.
- interim guidance for conducting the refined MHB (CR) corrosivity test related to draft amendments to section 22.214.171.124.3 of the IMSBC Code concerning test for metals.
- new Global Counter Piracy Guidance, updated Gulf of Guinea Guidance, and BMP 5, and issued the suite of guidance as a new MSC circular on Revised Industry Counter Piracy Guidance.