RINA has published a report from the 106th session of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 106) that was held in London from November 2nd to November 11th, 2022.
RINA is a founding member of IACS (International Association of Classification Societies) and operates on behalf of 122 flag authorities. In addition to the provision of classification and statutory certification RINA delivers value added services to the shipping industry and is rated among the top performing classification societies.
The main decisions taken from the MSC 106 are summarized below on the basis of the information obtained while participating in the debate:
AMENDMENTS TO MANDATORY INSTRUMENTS
Amendments to the SOLAS Convention entering into force on 1 July 2024
New SOLAS Chapter XV “Safety measures for ships carrying industrial personnel (IP)” requires the following new ships (i.e. constructed on or after 1 July 2024) of 500 GT and above, carrying more than 12 IP, to comply with the new mandatory IP Code (see section below):
- cargo ships; and
- high-speed cargo craft certified according to 2000 HSC Code and carrying not more than 60 persons.
Existing cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft (i.e. constructed before 1 July 2024), authorized by the Administration to carry more than 12 IP in accordance with the “Interim recommendations on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages (Res. MSC.418(97))”, will be allowed to operate, provided that they comply with the requirements set in the new IP Code in relation to IP competences and training, safe transfer, life-saving appliances and dangerous goods by the first intermediate/third periodical (for HSC) or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 July 2024.
Cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft, irrespective of date of construction, which prior to 1 July 2024 have not been authorized by the Administration to carry more than 12 IP, shall comply and be certified in accordance with the new SOLAS Chapter and the IP Code prior to the carriage of more than 12 IP on board.
New mandatory IP Code
The new mandatory IP Code includes requirements - additional to those set in SOLAS Convention and HSC Code - for cargo ships and HSC carrying more than 12 IP.
IP are defined in the Code as “all persons transported or accommodated on board for the purpose of offshore industrial activities performed on board other ships and/or offshore facilities”.
The requirements in the Code are relevant to the IP competences and their training; their safe transfer; the ship’s design in term of stability, machinery, electrical installations; fire safety; life-saving appliances; and carriage of dangerous goods.
Cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft carrying more than 12 IP are required to carry onboard two additional Certificates: IP Safety Certificate; and Record of Equipment.
A second phase of regulatory IMO work will start in 2023 to address outstanding matters, such as: interaction between the IP and SPS Codes; new requirements for sleeping berths on high-speed craft; and provisions for passenger ships and high-speed craft carrying more than 60 persons.
Amendments to the ESP Code entering into force on 1 July 2024
The amendments to the ESP Code include – inter alia:
- tighter criteria for the annual examination of water ballast tanks, requiring the examination in case the coating is found to be less than GOOD, instead of POOR, as currently required;
- annual examination of double-side skin void spaces for bulk carriers exceeding 20 years of age and of more than 150 m in length, if the protective coating is found to be in POOR condition and is not renewed; and
- clarification that ESP does not apply to oil tankers carrying oil in independent tanks not part of ship's hull.
Amendments to the IBC Code entering into force on 1 July 2024
The amendments to the IBC Code - already adopted by MEPC 78 - introduce the possibility to use watertight doors of hinged-type, in line with the SOLAS requirements.
Amendments to the SOLAS Convention entering into force on 1 January 2026
The amendments to SOLAS Convention modify Chapter II-2, requiring:
- all ships (i.e. new and existing) to be provided prior to bunkering with:
- a declaration signed and certified by the oil fuel supplier’s representative, that the oil fuel to be supplied has a flashpoint not less than 60°C as required by SOLAS Reg II-2/4.2.1, including the test method used for determining the flashpoint; and
- a bunker delivery note for the oil fuel delivered to the ship containing either the flashpoint specified in accordance with standards acceptable to the IMO (e.g. ISO 2719:2016), or a statement that the flashpoint has been measured at or above 70º;
- the Administration to report all confirmed cases (flashpoint) where oil fuel suppliers have failed to meet SOLAS flashpoint requirements. Amendments to the 1978 SOLAS Protocol entering into force on 1 January 2026
The amendments introduce modifications to the Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate in line with the adopted SOLAS amendments due to the modernization of the GMDSS (see MNO No.190 on MSC 105).
Amendments to the IGC and IGF Codes entering into force on 1 January 2026
The amendments introduce the use of high manganese austenitic steels in the IGC and IGF Codes (Tables 6.3 and 7.3, respectively) and make reference to the revised guidelines on the application of high manganese austenitic steel for cryogenic service (MSC.1/Circ.1599/Rev.2).
DRAFT AMENDMENTS APPROVED IN VIEW OF THEIR ADOPTION AT MSC 107
The draft amendments to the following IMO Conventions and Codes - described in detail in the Annex - were approved in view of their adoption at MSC 107 in June 2023:
- SOLAS Chapters II-1, II-2, V, XIV and Forms (note that amendments to Ch. II-1, Ch. II-2 and Ch. XIV will be applied retroactively);
- 1994 and 2000 HSC Codes, in line with the above-mentioned SOLAS Ch. II- 2 retroactive requirements;
- LSA Code, including new ventilation requirements for totally enclosed lifeboats installed on or after 1 January 2029;
- Polar Code, in line with the above-mentioned SOLAS Ch. XIV retroactive requirements;
- SPS Code, modifying the Form to address the discrepancy with the expression used in the LSA Code regarding the type of immersion suits; and
- STCW Convention and Code.
RECOMMENDATORY INSTRUMENTS ADOPTED/APPROVED
Clarifications on gaskets containing asbestos
It is clarified that for gaskets containing asbestos in good condition and installed between 1 July 2002 and 1 January 2011, the Administration may - as an equivalency to SOLAS – allow, instead of removal, to implement a risk-based maintenance and monitoring programme of onboard materials containing asbestos. Such gaskets should subsequently be removed when planned repairs or removal of the relevant system (containing these gaskets) are carried out.
Revised Guidelines for the approval of fixed dry chemical powder fireextinguishing systems for the protection of ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk (MSC.1/Circ.1315/Rev.1)
The Guidelines have been revised to improve the fire-extinguishing capabilities of dry powder systems. The modifications include, inter alia:
- revision of the definition of “dry chemical powder”, allowing all kinds of solid chemical products to be used provided that they pass the approval test;
- deletion of the requirement for use only chemicals based on the salts of potassium;
- specifications on how to test dry chemical powder (e.g. characteristic of the fire test; acceptance criteria for extinguishment in the fire test; approval of the fire-extinguishing system).
The Revised Guidelines will apply to fixed dry chemical powder fire-extinguishing systems installed on or after 1 July 2023, while the systems approved on the basis of the previous Guidelines (MSC.1/Circ.1315) and installed before 1 July 2023 will be permitted to remain in service as long as they are serviceable.
Performance standards for ECDIS
The revised performance standards for electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) include the next technical generation of Electronic Navigational Charts (S-101 ENC) and references to IHO product specifications S-98, S-100 and S-101. Such revised performance standards will apply to ECDIS equipment installed on or after 1 January 2029, while those installed between 1 January 2026 and 31 December 2028, may conform with either these revised performance standards or the previous ones in Res. MSC.232(82).
It is clarified that the expression “installed on or after 1 January 2029” means:
- any installation date on the ship, for ships with the building contract placed on or after 1 January 2029 or - in the absence of the contract - constructed on or after 1 January 2029; or
- a contractual delivery date for the equipment or - in the absence of a contractual delivery date - the actual delivery date of the equipment to the ship on or after 1 January 2029, for ships other than those above.
MARITIME AUTONOMOUS SURFACE SHIPS (MASS)
The Committee progressed the development of the draft non-mandatory MASS Code which is expected to be finalized by 1 July 2024. Recognizing the large amount of work still to be done, it was agreed to split the Code in sections to be assigned to volunteering IMO delegations for development.
The adoption of the mandatory MASS Code - based on the approved nonmandatory one – is expected to be by 1 July 2026 in view of its entry into force on 1 January 2028.
OTHER RESOLUTIONS AND CIRCULARS APPROVED/ADOPTED
- Revised interim Guidelines on life-saving appliance and arrangements for ships operating in polar waters;
- Unified interpretations of SOLAS Chapter II-2;
- Revised standardized life-saving appliance evaluation and test report forms;
- Revised Performance standards and functional requirements for LRIT of ships;
- LRIT – 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;
- Continuity of service plan for the LRIT system (MSC.1/Circ.1376/Rev.5);ž
- GMDSS operating guidance for ships in distress situations;
- Procedure for responding to DSC distress alerts by ships;
- Guidance on distress alerts;
- Guidance on alerting of search and rescue authorities;
- Guidance for the dissemination of search and rescue related information through the international enhanced group call service;
- Guidance on the training on and operation of emergency personal radio devices in multiple casualty situations;
- NAVTEX Manual (MSC.1/Circ.1403/Rev.2);
- Guidance on the training on and operation of emergency personal radio devices in multiple casualty situations;
- ECDIS – Guidance for good practice (MSC.1/Circ.1503/Rev.2);
- Guidance framework for the application of casualty cases and lessons learned to seafarers' education and training;
- Member states' obligations in connection with search and rescue services under the SOLAS and SAR conventions in the context of armed conflicts; and
- Recommended cooperation to ensure the safety of life at sea, the rescue of persons in distress at sea and the safe disembarkation of survivors.
ANNEX - DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DRAFT AMENDMENTS APPROVED IN VIEW OF THEIR ADOPTION AT MSC 107
Draft amendments to SOLAS Convention
The draft SOLAS amendments include modifications to:
- Chapter II-2, prohibiting the use or storage of extinguishing media containing perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) on new ships (i.e. constructed on or after 1 January 2026) and requiring existing ships to deliver such substances to appropriate shore-based reception facilities not later the first survey on or after 1 January 2026.
- Chapter V, requiring container ships and bulk carriers of 3000 GT and upwards, constructed on or after 1 January 2026, to be fitted with an electronic inclinometer, or other means, to determine, display and record the ship's roll motion. Such requirement will not apply to cargo ships occasionally carrying cargoes in bulk and general cargo ships carrying containers on deck. No electronic and mechanical back-up systems for inclinometers will be required as they are not considered critical for safety of navigation.
- Chapter XIV, requiring fishing vessels of 24 m of length overall and above; pleasure yachts of 300 GT and upwards not engaged in trade; and cargo ships of 300 GT and upwards but below 500 GT, operating in polar waters to comply with the provisions relevant to safety of navigation and voyage planning, included in the Polar Code for non-SOLAS ships. For fishing vessels and ships of 300 GT and upwards but below 500 GT, it is left to the Administration to determine the extent of the application of the provisions on “Nautical information” (9-1.3.1) and “Navigational equipment functionality” (9-1.3.2).
- Forms of the Record of Equipment for Cargo Ship Safety (Form E), the Record of Equipment for Passenger Ship Safety (Form P), the Record of Equipment for Cargo Ship Safety (Form C), to address the discrepancy with the expression used in the LSA Code regarding the type of immersion suits.
- Forms of the Record of Equipment for Cargo Ship Safety (Form E), and the Record of the Equipment for Cargo Ship Safety (Form C) to add a new entry “Electronic inclinometer” in the “details of navigational systems and equipment”, in line with the above-described amendments to Chapter V.
Draft amendments to SOLAS Convention on onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches
New draft SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-13 “Lifting appliances and anchor handling winches” was approved in principle by MSC 102 (November 2020) in view of its adoption after the finalization of the relevant implementing Guidelines.
Considering that MSC 106 approved in principle both Guidelines for anchor handling winches and for lifting appliance, the relevant new SOLAS regulation is expected to be adopted at next MSC 107 (June 2023) with entry into force 1 January 2026, requiring:
- newly installed lifting appliances (i.e. on or after a date still to be decided) to be:
- designed, constructed and installed in accordance with the requirements of a classification society which is recognized by the Administration or a standard acceptable to the Administration;
- load tested and thoroughly examined after installation and before being taken into use for the first time and after repairs, modifications or alterations; and
- permanently marked and provided with documentary evidence for the safe working load (SWL);
- newly installed anchor handling winches to be designed, constructed, installed and tested to the satisfaction of the Administration based on IMO Guidelines;
- existing lifting appliances and anchor handling winches to be tested and thoroughly examined based on the IMO Guidelines not later than the first renewal survey on or after a date still to be decided;
- existing lifting appliances to comply with above-mentioned SWL requirements by the first renewal survey on or after a date still to be decided;
- all lifting appliances and anchor handling winches, regardless of installation date, and all loose gear utilized with any lifting appliances and anchor handling winches, to be operationally tested, thoroughly examined, inspected, operated and maintained, based on the IMO Guidelines.
Existing lifting appliances with valid certificates of test and thorough examination under another international instrument (e.g. ILO Convention No.152) acceptable to the Administration and issued prior to the entry into force of SOLAS regulation II-1/3-13, will be considered compliant with new SOLAS regulation, so as to avoid duplicative testing and thorough examination.
Draft amendments to the 1994 and 2000 HSC Codes
The draft amendments to the 1994 and 2000 HSC Codes include:
- prohibition of the use or storage of extinguishing media containing perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) on new craft (i.e. constructed on or after 1 January 2026), in line with the above-mentioned draft SOLAS amendments;
- requirement to deliver PFOS to appropriate shore-based reception facilities on existing craft not later than the first survey after 1 January 2026; and
- modifications to the Forms of the Record of Equipment to address the discrepancy with the expression used in the LSA Code regarding the type of immersion suits and anti-exposure suits.
Draft amendments to the LSA Code
The draft amendments to the LSA Code include new ventilation provisions for totally enclosed lifeboats (para.s 4.6.6 and 4.6.7) installed on or after 1 January 2029, requiring means of ventilation:
- to be able of achieving a ventilation rate of at least 5 m3/h per person for the number of persons which the lifeboat is permitted to accommodate and for a period of not less than 24 hours;
- to be operable from inside the lifeboat and arranged so that there is no stratification or formation of unventilated pockets;
- if powered, to have a source which is not the radio batteries, and where dependent on the lifeboat engine, to be provided with sufficient fuel;
- to have opening provided with mean of closing, operable from inside and able to be kept closed before and during the launching of the lifeboat; and
- to have inlet and outlet openings located and designed to minimize the ingress of water through the openings, without using the means of closing required.
The amendments also include specific requirements for the openings and their means of closing to be provided based on the type of totally enclosed lifeboat (i.e. free-fall lifeboat; lifeboat with a self-contained air support system; and fireprotected lifeboat).
Consequent amendments to the “Revised recommendation on testing of lifesaving appliances” (Res. MSC.81(70)) have been approved in principle with a view to subsequent adoption at MSC 107 in conjunction with the LSA Code modifications.
Draft amendments to the Polar Code
The draft amendments to the Polar Code include new provisions on safety of navigation (new Ch. 9-1) and voyage planning (new Ch. 11-1) to the following ships operating in polar waters: fishing vessels of 24 m of length overall and above; pleasure yachts of 300 GT and upwards not engaged in trade; and cargo ships of 300 GT and upwards but below 500 GT.
The decision to issue the certificate, showing compliance with the above requirements, has been left at the discretion of the flag Administration.
Draft amendments to the SPS Code
The draft amendments to the SPS Code include modifications to the Forms of the Record of Equipment regarding type of immersion suits to address the discrepancy with the expression used in the LSA Code.
Draft amendments to the STCW Convention
The draft amendments to the STCW Convention include modifications for allowing the use of electronic certificates.
Draft amendments to the STCW Code
The draft amendments to the STCW Code clarify the application of some existing terms and terminologies to the case of electronic certificates and endorsements.
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