Home / Shipping News / International Shipping News / Improvements to safety of shipping

Improvements to safety of shipping

Autonomy, distress systems, and fuel cell and oil fuel safety topped the agenda at last week’s IMO Maritime Safety Council 105th meeting.

The outputs of the bi-annual meeting are keenly watched by the shipping industry as its decisions have far-reaching impacts for ship owning, operating and servicing.

In a technical briefing, DNV GL noted the meeting highlights as:
1) Adoption of amendments to modernise the requirements of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

2) Approval of draft SOLAS amendments to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of oil fuel

3) Approval of interim guidelines for the safety of ships using fuel cell power installations

4) Approval of the draft new SOLAS Chapter XV and the draft new mandatory code for the carriage of industrial personnel (IP Code)

5) Agreement on a roadmap for the development of a non-mandatory code for maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS)

Class society ABS explained that amendments agreed to modernise GMDSS were aimed
at enabling the use of modern communication systems, while removing requirements to carry obsolete systems. Based on the proposed SOLAS amendments concerning GMDSS, several consequential amendments to IMO instruments were also approved by the Committee and a large number of resolutions and circulars were adopted in relation to updating standards for radiocommunication equipment. The Resolutions will enter into force on January 1, 2024.

The Committee also discussed the cost implications for maritime safety information and search and rescue information providers when it comes to disseminating information over multiple recognised mobile satellite service providers. “In a previous session, concerns were raised that increases in commercial competition would eventually lead to recognition of new mobile satellite service providers, and this would come with consequential costs for the maritime safety information providers as they seek to transmit information across multiple communications networks,” reported ABS. However, after discussion, the Committee did not decide on a particular option to address those potential costs.

Fuel focus
To ensure continued safety, MSC 105 approved draft amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-2, Regulations 3 and 4, requiring ships carrying oil fuel to be provided with a bunker delivery note, prior to bunkering, stating that the flashpoint of the actual fuel batch is in conformity with SOLAS.

DNV also noted that the Committee considered guidelines for sampling procedures to address situations where indicative test results suggest that the oil fuel supplied may not comply with the flashpoint requirement. A correspondence group will take forward those sampling guidelines and consider harmonisation with the existing regime for the control of fuel oil suppliers.

Recognising that technological innovation and alternative fuels and/or energy sources for international shipping will be integral to achieving the overall decarbonisation ambitions set out in the initial IMO strategy on greenhouse gas emissions, MSC 105 approved interim guidelines for the safety of ships using fuel cell power installations. “The goal of the interim guidelines is to provide an international standard for the arrangement and installation of fuel cell power installations on board ships,” said DNV.

The guidelines cover different aspects – from the fuel inlet to the fuel cell space to the exhaust gas system. For the fuel storage and the fuel supply to the fuel cell space, specific chapters of the IGF Code apply.

Man vs machine
Looking at the safety of personnel, the Committee approved the draft Code of Safety for Ships Carrying Industrial Personnel, or IP Code. “In support of expanding maritime offshore and energy sectors, the IP Code is intended to supplement existing IMO instruments in order to provide international safety standards for the carriage of industrial personnel onboard cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft,” said ABS.
Using SOLAS and the 2000 HSC Code as a basis for regulatory compliance, the IP Code provides goals, functional requirements, and additional regulations aimed at facilitating the safe carriage and transfer of industrial personnel by addressing additional risks connected to such operations.

“The prospect of autonomous ships operating internationally with little or no human intervention has revealed the need for a regulatory framework for such ships, including their interaction and co-existence with conventional manned ships. The current regulatory framework generally assumes manning and human intervention,” said DNV.

MSC 105 agreed to develop a non-mandatory, goal-based code for MASS, potentially entering into force on January 1, 2028 as a mandatory code through SOLAS and other IMO instruments, as relevant. This would initially be applicable to cargo ships while in development and would eventually be applicable to passenger vessels once finalised and made mandatory.

A roadmap for the development work was also approved, which included consideration of key principles, purpose and objectives for the new goal-based code, the consideration of its scope and structure, and the consideration of a common understanding of MASS terminology.

The Committee agreed to establish an intersessional correspondence group to begin development of the non-mandatory goal-based MASS Code.

MSC meets twice a year, with the next meeting planned for Oct 31-Nov 4. A number of agenda items on the 105th meeting agenda were pushed to the MSC 106th session meeting, including measures to enhance maritime security, piracy and armed robbery against ships, and unsafe mixed migration by sea.
Source: The Baltic Exchange

Recent Videos

Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide Online Daily Newspaper on Hellenic and International Shipping