+44 (0)1708 380400
Chat on WhatsApp
Key points from IMO MSC 104
  • Post by: Key points from IMO MSC 104
  • Date: 12-10-2021

The IMO Maritime Safety Committee 104 took place from 4 to 8 October, considering a wide variety of issues that bother the shipping industry.

This is a review of the topics that were discussed. More specifically:

Improvement of ferry safety

The Committee established a Working Group on Domestic Ferry Safety with appropriate terms of reference. Having considered the subsequent report of the Group, the Committee approved it in general and took action as follows:

  • Noted the diverse yet relevant views on technical and legal aspects covering the provisions in the draft model regulations as reflected in the report;
  • Approved the Model Regulations on Domestic Ferry Safety as finalised by the Group;
  • Authorised the Secretariat to effect any necessary editorial changes to the finalised version and to prepare a draft MSC resolution on adoption of the Model Regulations for consideration by MSC 105;
  • Approved an updated plan of work;
  • Concurred with the view of the Group that a Correspondence Group on Domestic Ferry Safety is currently not necessary.

New Goal-based ship construction standards

The Committee had for its consideration document MSC 103/7/1 (Secretary-General), containing the GBS audit report on the rectification of non-conformities stemming from the first GBS maintenance audit in 2018 and, in the case of DNV, the non-conformities confirmed with respect to the re-verification audit.

Having considered the report of the auditors, the Committee agreed with the recommendations that the non-conformities had been duly rectified and that IACS CSR and the DNV rules now demonstrate continued conformance with the Organisation’s goal-based ship construction standards for bulk carriers and oil tankers.

Maritime security

The Committee encouraged SOLAS Contracting Governments to:

  • Review and update the information contained in the Maritime Security (MS) module of GISIS, in particular that related to port facility security plans;
  • Consider using the new option for electronic transfer of information into and from the MS module of GISIS so as to reduce the administrative burden of the nominated national point(s) of contact;
  • Develop effective MS security governance structures, including national MS committees and strategies, and to strengthen these where they already exist;
  • Continue to effectively implement, in partnership with industry, IMO security measures, including SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code, requesting IMO’s technical assistance, as appropriate;
  • Consider donating to IMO’s International Security Trust Fund (IMST Fund) to support the continued delivery of technical assistance under the global programme for the Enhancement of Maritime Security.

Cyber risk management for ships and ports

Two documents were submitted for consideration, that by IAPH inviting attention to the first edition of the IAPH Cybersecurity Guidelines for Ports and Port Facilities, suggesting that they be referenced in the next version of the Guidelines on maritime cyber risk management under additional detailed guidance and industry standards; and, an information paper by France providing a brief overview on recent French initiatives aimed at addressing cybersecurity issues in the maritime sector. In considering both documents, the Committee:

  • Requested the Secretariat to update the industry guidance listed in para 4.2 of MSCFAL/Circ.3/Rev.1 to include the IAPH first edition, subject to concurrent decision by the FAL Committee;
  • Noted that such inclusion should not be taken to mean that the Committee had endorsed every detail, rather it recognised the helpfulness of the IAPH Guidelines and promoted their availability;
  • Noted with appreciation, the overview on recent French initiatives aimed at addressing cybersecurity issues in the maritime sector.

Piracy and armed robbery

Updating resolution A.1069(28). MSC 103 acknowledged progress made on this draft Assembly resolution update, Prevention and suppression of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in the Gulf of Guinea, and agreed to finalise it at MSC 104 for approval, with a view to submission to A.32 in December for adoption, noting two outstanding issues highlighted by the Working Group on Piracy at MSC 103.

The first issue related to the footnotes containing the definition of “piracy” and “armed robbery against ships” referred to in the title and the content of the draft.

The second issue was a request from some Member States to include a reference to the EU pilot case of the Coordinated Maritime Presence (CMP) concept in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), which was included in square brackets to allow the Committee to gain a better understanding of the concept before deciding on the suggestion.

Following advice by the IMO’s Legal Affairs and External Relations Division on the first issue and by the IMO Secretariat on the second issue there followed an extensive discussion in which many views were expressed. This resulted in the Committee:

  • Agreeing to delete all footnotes with the definition of “piracy” and “armed robbery against ships” referred to in the title and the draft text, and instead to include a reference to those definitions in the preambular part of the draft resolution;
  • Agreeing to delete the square brackets and retain the text relating to the CMP concept pilot case in the GoG in operative paragraph 7(c);
  • Agreeing that the words “consistent with International law, in particular the rights of coastal states in the area” at the end of existing operative paragraph 7(c) and the removal of the square brackets around the paragraph; and, moving the existing operative paragraphs 6 and 7 (as amended) after existing operative paragraph 3, and changing the paragraph numbering thereafter accordingly.

Human element

Draft international safety code for ships carrying industrial personnel (IP code). The Committee considered document MSC 104/11/3 (Bahamas et al), providing comments on the report of HTW 7 (HTW 7/16) and particularly highlighting that, in the provisions of the draft IP code, there are no requirements for crew members regarding crowd management training (as provided in section A-V/2, paragraph 3, of the STCW Code).

Such ships could carry a large number of people (industrial personnel) and there is a risk of having to take action promptly in an emergency situation.

The co-sponsors therefore proposed that the HTW Sub-Committee be requested to consider this matter with a view to developing appropriate mandatory training for crews on IP certified ships.

After discussion, with an emphasis that finalisation of the IP Code should not be delayed, the Committee instructed HTW 8 to consider the matter, taking into account the Bahamas document and the comments made at this session, with a view to advising MSC 105 as to whether or not crowd management training would be necessary for seafarers on:

  • IP certified ships, and develop draft provisions, as appropriate; or
  • All cargo ships, in which case a new output would be necessary.

New outputs

As far as remote surveys are concerned, the Committee agreed to include a new output on “Development of guidance on assessments and applications of remote surveys, ISM Code audits and ISPS Code verifications” in the biennial agenda of the III Sub-Committee for 2022-2023 and the agenda for III 8, with a target completion year of 2024.

However, Maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) sparked a healthy debate following which:

  • The Chair was requested to prepare, together with the Secretariat and in consultation with the submitters of proposals and commenting documents, also the former Chair of the MASS Working Group, a road map, including scope, steps and timelines, as well as coordinating work with other IMO bodies, for detailed consideration at MSC 105;
  • Included in the biennial agenda of the Committee for 2022-2023 and the provisional agenda for MSC 105 a new output on “Development of a goal-based instrument for MASS” with a target completion year of 2025;
  • Agreed that the first step in this new output would be the finalisation of a road map to enable a common understanding of the steps to follow; and, time permitting, the Committee could also embark on the development of instruments already at MSC 105;
  • Agreed that the ultimate goal would be the preparation of a mandatory instrument to address MASS operations;
  • Agreed to re-establish the Working Group on MASS at MSC 105 to commence the work on the new output, including finalisation of the aforementioned road map.

The next meeting, MSC 105, has been provisionally scheduled to take place from 20 to 29 April 2022.