The IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) held its 101st session from June 5 to 14, 2019. After its conclusion, the meeting decided on many important issues during this session. Among others, these include fuel quality and safety, maritime autonomous surface ships, and the approval and adoption of various instruments.
The Arctic Council’s Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum convened for the third time since its inception in 2017, in London from 3-4 June, under Iceland Chairmanship. The aim of the Forum is to support the effective implementation of IMO’s International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code).
The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is meeting for its 101st session. Its agenda is including maritime autonomous surface ships, polar shipping, and goal-based standards among other agenda items. Numerous draft amendments will be adopted, regarding dangerous cargo, autonomous ships, polar shipping and fuel oil safety.
IMO announced that it has been granted observer status at the Arctic Council. This will enable the organization to build on previous cooperation with the Arctic Council and engage in close collaboration on various issues related to shipping in the Arctic, and especially in search and rescue, pollution response and maritime safety and protection of the marine environment.
According to the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Water (Polar Code), and further amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), Marshall Islands require deck officers on RMI-flagged vessels operating in Polar waters to be Polar certificated.
The Government of Hong Kong proposed to make a new regulation under the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers) Ordinance to include the latest seafarers’ training requirements as described in the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters of the International Maritime Organization into local legislation. Hong Kong has also proposed to amend the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Air Pollution) Regulation.
In light of the Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE 6) meeting conducted by IMO’s Sub-Committee on 4-8 March 2019, the participants agreed to draft interim guidelines on life-saving appliances and arrangements for ships operating in polar waters, to ensure they meet the needs for survival in the harsh and specific conditions in Polar waters.
IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 6), which took place on 4-8 February 2019, considered a first set of draft recommendations for fishing vessels and pleasure yachts operating in Polar waters, but are not already covered by the mandatory Polar Code, the so-called ‘non-SOLAS’ ships.
IMO is working to prevent accidents that occur when ships are being moored at their berth in a port. A SOLAS regulation that focuses on better protecting seafarers and shore-based mooring staff from injuries during mooring operations, is set to be finalized by the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction.
IMO’s Polar Code aims to ensure that ships operating in the Arctic and Antarctic areas consider extremes of temperature and make sure critical equipment remains operational. Draft guidance for navigation and communication equipment intended for use on ships operating in polar waters is expected to be finalized by the current session of the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue.
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