IMO MSC 97 - highlights

Dec 02 2016

This brief provides some of the highlights of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee’s (MSC) 97th session, which met between 21-25 November, 2016 where it might affect the tanker sector, courtesy of ABS.

Adopted Amendments to mandatory Instruments -

•Foam-type fire extinguishers - Resolution MSC.409(97) contains amendments to SOLAS II-2, regulation, which specifies that, for all ships, the 135 litre wheeled foam-type extinguishers is not required in machinery spaces of category A containing oil-fired boilers which are protected by a fixed water-based local application fire extinguishing system. This takes into account that such a fixed system provides for a safety performance level that is equivalent to the 135 litre wheeled foam-type extinguisher.

• ESP Code Revisions - Resolution MSC.412(97) revises the Enhanced Survey Program (ESP) Code by clarifying how close-up surveys and thickness measurements are to be performed for oil tankers and bulk carriers.

STCW 1978, Amendments for Polar Operation -

*The committee adopted resolution MSC.416(97), which amends the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 and resolution MSC.417(97) which amends Part A of the STCW Code, both with respect to Polar operation. 

As these amendments are scheduled to enter into force on 1st July, 2018, new circular STCW.6/Circ. 12 contains recommended provisions for applying these amendments on entry into force of the Polar Code on January 1, 2017. 

The amendments:

• Require Masters, chief mates and officers in charge of a navigational watch on ships operating in open waters in Arctic waters and/or the Antarctic area (ie Polar Waters) to hold a certificate in basic training for ships operating in Polar Waters after satisfactorily completing approved basic training and meet the specified standard of competence.  

• Require Masters and chief mates on ships operating in Polar Waters, to hold a certificate in advanced training for ships operating in Polar Waters, other than open waters after satisfactorily:  meeting requirements for certification in basic training for ships in Polar Waters ; completing at least two months of approved seagoing service in the deck department, at management level or while performing watchkeeping duties at the operational level; and completing approved advanced training for ships operating in Polar Waters and meet the specified standard of competence.

• Provide for transitional provisions which allow seafarers, who commenced approved seagoing service in Polar Waters prior to 1st July, 2018, to meet alternative basic training or advanced requirements by 1st July, 2020.

Masters and deck officers on ships operating in Polar Waters are required to demonstrate competence in:

• Contribute to safe operation and manoeuvring of vessels operating in Polar Waters.

• Monitor and ensure compliance with legislative requirements.

• Apply safe working practices, respond to emergencies.

• Ensure compliance with pollution - prevention requirements and prevent environmental hazards.

• Planning and conducting a voyage in Polar Waters.

• Manage the safe operation of vessels operating in Polar Waters.

• Maintain safety of the ship's crew and passengers and the operational condition of life-saving, firefighting and other safety systems.

Approved Amendments  -

• Goal-Based Standards – The Committee progressed draft revisions of the guidelines for verification of conformity of classification society rules with IMO’s goal-based ship construction standards for bulk carriers and oil tankers. 

The draft revisions were based on experience gained during the initial implementation and verification audits by IMO, which led to MSC 96 concluding that the rules submitted by each of the 12 IACS member societies conform to the goals and functional requirements of the Goal-based Ship Construction Standards.  

The revised guidelines are planned to be completed for adoption at MSC 100, in November, 2018, and would apply to verifications carried out on or after November, 2019 of documentation submitted for initial verification and for rule/documentation submitted as a result of rule revisions.

The revised process of rule verification maintenance is tailored for three categories of rule revisions that are developed due to: 1. application of corrective actions emanating from previous verification audits; 2. continuous improvement process, including revisions addressing observations stemming from previous verification audits; and 3. experience gained and the due consideration by the Administration or the recognized organization of rules which have been verified as conforming to the Standards.


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