The IMO Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction held its 7th session (SDC 7) from 3 – 7 February 2020 under the Chairmanship of Mr Kevin Hunter (UK), assisted by his Vice Chair, Mrs Turid Stemre (NORWAY). In accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Maritime Safety Committee, Mr Hunter, whose five-year term of office expired on completion of SDC 7 was not eligible to stand for re-election as Chair for the next calendar year. However, he took much pleasure in the Sub-Committee’s choice of his successor, the well-deserved elevation of Mrs Stemre. Following that, Mr Jaideep Sirkar (USA) was elected as Vice-Chair for 2021.
Three Working Groups (WG), and one Drafting Group (DG) were formed and chaired as follows:
|WG1||Carriage of Industrial Personnel, Mrs T Stemre (NORWAY)
|WG2||Subdivision and Damage Stability, Mr J Person (USA)
|WG3||Safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters, Mr I Lancaster (NEW ZEALAND)
|Finalisation of second generation intact stability criteria, Prof. Szozda (POLAND)|
The meeting was attended by representatives from 74 Member Governments, 1 Associate Member of IMO, 2 Intergovernmental Organisations and 26 Non-Governmental Organisations.
Items of particular interest to InterManager Members are as follows:
Address by Secretary General. Mr Kitack Lim, the Secretary General of IMO, welcomed delegates to the seventh session of the Ship design and Construction Sub-Committee and in mentioning matters related to the Coronavirus, stated that he had just released IMO Circular letters No. 4203 and 4204, which can be downloaded from IMODOCS. The circulars provide important information and guidance for delegates and seafarers, based on recommendations developed by the World Health Organisation to minimise risks from the virus.
He next went on to speak about this year’s World Maritime Day to be celebrated at IMO Headquarters on 24 September, with a parallel event in Durban, South Africa from 28 to 30 October. The theme, Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet has been chosen to raise awareness of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the SDG’s, which will showcase the work that IMO is undertaking to achieve the SDG targets. The transition towards a sustainable future has already started through measures such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, lowering the sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil, the protection of the Polar regions and the wider participation of women in the maritime community.
Mr Lim spoke of the Torremolinos Declaration, signed by 48 States in Spain last October, publicly indicating their determination to ratify the 2012 Cape Town Agreement by 11 October 2022, the tenth anniversary of its adoption. This internationally-binding instrument aims to facilitate better control of fishing vessel safety by flag, port and coastal States.
Turning to items on the agenda for the meeting, he highlighted some of the key technical issues to be considered, which included:
- The Second generation intact stability criteria, noting that after more than 20 years of hard work, this will be the last opportunity to complete the output;
- The new draft SOLAS chapter XV and the draft International Code of Safety for Ships Carrying Industrial Personnel, the IP Code, completion of which is paramount as the maritime offshore and energy sectors are expanding and have created a growing demand for industrial personnel to be safely carried and transferred from ships to other ships and/or offshore facilities; and,
- The Second phase of the Polar Code, focussing on ships not governed by the SOLAS Convention, for example fishing vessels and pleasure yachts. Assembly resolution A.1137(31) urges Member States to implement, on a voluntary basis, the safety measures of the Polar Code by non-SOLAS ships operating in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Rounding off his address, the Secretary General expressed confidence that the Sub-Committee would tackle the issues by making sound, balanced and timely decisions and wished them every success in their deliberations.
AMENDMENTS TO THE EXPLANATORY NOTES TO SOLAS CHAPTER II-1 SUBDIVISION AND DAMAGE STABILITY REGULATIONS (RESOLUTION MSC.429(98)). The sub-Committee recalled that it had finalised the draft amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 to ensure consistency between parts B-2 and B-4 with regard to watertight integrity, subsequently approved at MSC 101. Following that, MSC had agreed to consequently amend the associated provisions in the Revised Explanatory Notes to the SOLAS chapter II-1 subdivision and damage stability regulations, tasking the Correspondence Group (CG) on Subdivision and Damage Stability (SDS) to further develop the draft amendments to the Explanatory Notes and to submit its report to this session.
Plenary considered the report of the CG on Subdivision and Damage Stability (SDC 7/3), which contained draft amendments to the Revised Explanatory Notes to the SOLAS chapter II-1 subdivision and damage stability regulations (resolution MSC.429(98)) and the draft amendments to section 3 of Unified Interpretations of SOLAS chapter II-1 and XII, of the technical provisions for means of access for inspections (resolution MSC.158(78)) and the Performance standards for water level detectors on bulk carriers and single hold cargo ships other than bulk carriers, resolution MSC.188(79) and MSC.1/Circ.1572, respectively.
Having considered the above matters, the Sub-Committee re-established the SDS Working Group and instructed it to finalise the draft consolidated Revised Explanatory Notes, finalise the amendments to section 3 of MSC.1/Circ.1572 on watertight requirements in SOLAS chapter II-1, part B-1, and advise whether there is a need to develop guidance for SOLAS regulation II-1/22.3 related to opening of watertight doors during navigation.
The subsequent report submitted by WG2 was approved by the Sub-Committee in general, and in particular, it:
- Agreed to the draft consolidated Explanatory Notes and the associated draft MSC resolution, with a view to submission to MSC 102 for subsequent adoption;
- Agreed to the draft amendments to section 3 of MSC.1/Circ.1572, also sent to MSC 102 for approval;
- Noted the view that MSC.1/Circ.1572 will need to be reviewed and updated when the future SOLAS chapter II-1 amendments enter into force on 1 January 2024;
- Noted the Group’s conclusion that there is no need to develop guidance for SOLAS regulation II-1/22.3 related to opening of watertight doors during navigation on cargo ships;
- Agreed to the draft new SOLAS regulation II-1/25-1, with a view to submission to MSC 102 for approval and subsequent adoption;
- Authorised the Secretariat to complete the corresponding check/monitoring sheet for the draft new SOLAS regulation II-1/25-1;
- Invited proposals to MSC 102 for a new output regarding SOLAS regulation II-1/25; and,
- Agreed to the draft amendments to regulation 28.3.1 of MARPOL Annex 1, regulation 27(13)(a) of the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, paragraph 220.127.116.11 of the IBC Code and paragraph 18.104.22.168 of the IGC Code, which should only be applied to new ships, for submission to the Committees for approval, as appropriate, and subsequent adoption.
SAFETY MEASURES FOR NON-SOLAS SHIPS OPERATING IN POLAR WATERS. The Sub-Committee recalled that MSC 100 had endorsed the Roadmap outlining, inter-alia, the work to be undertaken by SDC 6 and SDC 7 on matters related to the title above. Further, MSC 101 agreed to include this output on the agenda for NCSR 7, taking into account the outcome of the Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing held in Torremolinos, Spain from 21 to 23 October 2019, and to advise the Committee accordingly. Subsequent to that, Assembly 31 adopted resolution A.1137(31) on ‘Interim safety measures for ships not certified under the SOLAS Convention operating in polar waters’, urging Member States, on a voluntary basis to implement the safety measures of the Polar Code, as far as practicable, for ships not certified under the SOLAS Convention operating in polar waters, including fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over and pleasure yachts of 300 gross tonnage and above not engaged in trade.
Consideration was given to the report of the CG on Safety Measures for non-SOLAS ships Operating in Polar Waters (SDC 7/4) together with a commenting document by FOEI, WWF, and Pacific Environment during which many disparate views were expressed. Following the discussion, WG3 was established, its subsequent report approved in general, and in particular, the Sub-Committee:
- Invited HTW 7 to comment on paragraph 11.5 of the draft Guidelines for fishing vessels, regarding the correctness of the terminology used and to identify any conflicts of the text with existing IMO instruments, with a view to advising MSC 103 directly;
- Agreed to the draft Guidelines for fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over operating in polar waters pending comment from HTW 7;
- Noted the Groups advice that pleasure yachts of 300 GT and above, but less than 500 GT, engaged in trade, i.e. commercial yachts and cargo vessels 300 GT to 500 GT, are not covered in the draft pleasure yacht guidelines, or under the SOLAS Convention. The Committee was therefore invited to note this ‘regulatory gap’ whilst interested Member States and international organisations were encouraged to submit proposals addressing the identified gap;
- Agreed to the draft Guidelines for pleasure yachts of 300 GT and above not engaged in trade operating in polar waters and associated MSC circular with a view to submission to MSC 103;
- Noted that there are no consequential amendments needed to ‘Cold Water Survival Guidelines’ (MSC.1/Circ.1185/Rev.1) and that, if required, guidance for survival on the ice and remote cold areas could be developed at a future stage; and,
- Noted that there is no need to re-establish the correspondence group.
FINALISATION OF SECOND GENERATION INTACT STABILITY CRITERIA. It was recalled that, at SDC 6, agreement had been reached to consolidate the three separate draft interim guidelines on second generation intact stability criteria (i.e. draft interim guidelines: on vulnerability criteria, on specification of direct stability assessment procedures and on preparation of operational limitations and operational guidance) into a single set of guidelines to include all five stability failure modes, with a view to finalisation at SDC 7.
Following that agreement at SDC 6, the IS Correspondence Group was set up and its subsequent report was considered by the Sub-Committee. Part 1 of the report contained the draft Interim guidelines on second generation intact stability criteria (Interim guidelines) for the intact stability assessment of ship dynamics in waves as a consolidated draft instrument comprising three sets of interim guidelines, as prescribed, namely guidelines on vulnerability criteria, for direct stability failure assessment and for operational measures.
Submissions by Japan and China were discussed, that of Japan commenting on the draft Interim guidelines and by China reporting on an applicability study on the weakness criteria for existing ships, together with six Information documents.
Part 2 of the IS Correspondence Group report with regard to the draft Explanatory Notes on the draft Interim guidelines on second generation intact stability criteria (Explanatory Notes) were then discussed. Following this, the Sub-Committee approved part 2 of the report in general and instructed the Drafting Group to further develop the Notes.
Having considered the above matters, the Sub-Committee established the Drafting Group on Intact Stability, instructing it to finalise the draft Interim guidelines on second generation intact stability criteria, further develop the draft Explanatory notes and prepare draft terms of reference for the intersessional CG on Intact Stability for the further development of Explanatory Notes on the second generation intact stability criteria.
On receipt of DG 1’s report, the Sub-Committee approved it in general, and in particular:
- Noted the Groups discussion on the finalisation of the draft Interim guidelines on the second generation intact stability criteria;
- Noted that the Group agreed to remove all footnotes and references to the draft Explanatory notes in the draft Interim guidelines in order to retain the flexibility of amending the notes;
- Noted the view of the Group that providing feedback to the Organisation on the experience gained in implementing the draft Interim guidelines should be encouraged to assist in keeping them under review;
- Agreed to the draft Interim guidelines on the second generation intact stability criteria and the associated draft MSC circular, with a view to approval by MSC 102;
- Noted the discussion on the development of the draft Explanatory notes on the criteria;
- Endorsed the Group’s recommendation that the draft Explanatory notes should be issued as a standalone circular for facilitating their amendment;
- Endorsed the recommendation that the structure of the draft Explanatory notes should be in a similar manner to the paragraphs/sections of the draft Interim guidelines for facilitating their use; and,
- Agreed the draft terms of reference for the Correspondence Group on Intact Stability with a view to further progressing the work on the preparation of the draft Explanatory notes, and to take action, as appropriate
It is worthy of note that 4. above is the culmination of 20 years work, such was its complexity.
CARRIAGE OF INDUSTRIAL PERSONNEL (IP) ON BOARD VESSELS ENGAGED ON
INTERNATIONAL VOYAGES. SDC 6 re-established the IP Correspondence Group (CG) with appropriate terms of reference (TORs) and had instructed it to submit a report to this session. The IP CG was instructed to further develop the draft IP Code whilst the further development of the draft new SOLAS chapter XV was deferred, pending clarification on the application requirements. The draft IP Code uses a goal-based approach and, therefore builds on a tiered structure consisting of goals, functional requirements and underlying regulations, in accordance with ‘Generic guidelines for developing IMO goal-based standards’ (MSC.1/Circ.1394/Rev.2). With regard to the outcome of MSC 101, it confirmed the use of an aggregated number of persons comprising passengers, special personnel and industrial personnel as the qualifying criteria for the application of the draft IP Code.
Having considered part 2 of the report of the IP WG established at SDC 6 (SDC 7/6), the Sub-Committee, bearing in mind that the IP Correspondence Group had already considered the matters outlined in the report during its deliberations, approved part 2 of the report in general.
The Sub-Committee considered the report of the IP CG (SDC 7/6/1), containing the draft International Code of safety for ships carrying industrial personnel (IP Code), together with four other submissions. A number of views were expressed with respect to grandfathering provisions, training and certification of industrial personnel and life-saving appliances on board ships subject to the IP Code, which the IP WG was instructed to take into account when finalising the draft SOLAS chapter XV and the draft IP Code.
The Sub-Committee issued appropriate terms of reference to the IP WG and following its deliberations, approved the subsequent report in general, and in particular;
- Endorsed the Group’s agreement that the draft new chapter XV of SOLAS will apply to ships constructed on or after the date of entry into force of the new chapter and to ships constructed prior to the entry into force date starting to carry industrial personnel after the entry into force date;
- Endorsed the Group’s recommendation to invite MSC 102 to consider the application of the draft new chapter XV of SOLAS to ships currently transporting industrial personnel in accordance with the provisions of the ‘Interim Recommendations on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages’ (resolution MSC.418(97);
- Agreed to a two-phase approach to the work on the development of mandatory provisions addressing safety standards for the carriage of industrial personnel, in case the work on matters related to high-speed craft is not finalised at SDC 8, for referral to MSC 102 for endorsement;
- Noted the progress made on the development of the draft new SOLAS chapter XV related to high-speed craft;
- Agreed in principle to the draft new SOLAS chapter XV;
- Noted that the Group did not prepare part III of the check/monitoring sheet for the process of amending the (SOLAS) Convention;
- Endorsed the Group’s view that there is no need for any specific input from the HTW Sub-Committee on the requirements for training of industrial personnel in the draft IP Code;
- Endorsed the Group’s recommendation to refer the draft amendments to the goals, functional requirements and regulations for the carriage of dangerous goods in the draft IP Code;
- Endorsed the Group’s recommendation to refer the draft amendments to the goals, functional requirements and regulations for the carriage of dangerous goods in the draft IP Code to ESPH 26 for agreement ;
- Endorsed the Group’s recommendation to request ESPH 26 to send any comments and/or proposed modifications to the draft IP Code, for matters under their purview, directly to SDC 8; and,
- Re-established the Correspondence Group, instructing it to further develop the draft IP Code, further consider the draft new SOLAS chapter XV on matters related to high-speed craft, also the draft part V (Additional regulations for ships certified in accordance with SOLAS chapter X) of the draft IP Code.
DEVELOPMENT OF AMENDMENTS TO SOLAS CHAPTER II-1 TO INCLUDE REQUIREMENTS FOR WATER LEVEL DETECTORS ON NON-BULK CARRIER CARGO SHIPS WITH MULTIPLE CARGO HOLDS. Following discussion, this item was passed to WG2 with instructions to take into account comments made and decisions taken in plenary, to finalise the draft new SOLAS regulation II-1/25-1 on Water level detectors on multiple hold cargo ships other than bulk carriers based on the annex to document SDC 7/7 submitted by the USA. Document SDC 7/7/1 submitted by China, questioned the need to require cargo hold water level detectors for such ships, arguing that no cost-effectiveness analysis for the installation of the detectors was provided and research carried out by China found that 100% of the sample ships are not installed with them, also that bilge alarms on such ships are believed to be sufficient to detect any water ingress. Hence, the installation of cargo hold water level detectors for cargo ships with multiple cargo holds other than bulk carriers, should be based on a risk assessment of damage stability requirements in SOLAS chapter II-1.
Notwithstanding, the draft new SOLAS regulation II-1/25-1 drawn up by WG2, stipulates most notably that ‘Multiple hold cargo ships other than bulk carriers and tankers constructed on or after [1 January 2024] shall be fitted with water level detectors in each cargo hold intended for dry cargoes but Water level detectors are not required for cargo holds located entirely above the freeboard deck’.
PERFORMANCE STANDARD FOR PROTECTIVE COATINGS OF VOID SPACES ON ALL TYPES OF SHIPS. No documents were submitted regarding this item of the agenda, or that separately pertaining to the performance standard for protective coatings of void spaces on bulk carriers and oil tankers. The Sub-Committee agreed that, in the event there are no proposals submitted to SDC 8, the Committee will be invited to consider deletion of this output.
AMENDMENTS TO THE 2011 ESP CODE. The comprehensive revision of the 2011 ESP Code adopted by MSC 101 is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2021. Meanwhile, document SDC 7/10 by IACS proposes draft amendments to the Code to allow the use of Remote Inspection Techniques (RITs), such as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and real-time sensing devices that are carried by drones in the survey of existing ships as an alternative to a close-up survey. This sparked quite a debate, and having considered the views of the Sub-Committee, it was decided that, while the use of RIT for surveys under the 2011 ESP Code was generally supported, the matter requires a broader consideration and that the Organisation may consider taking an holistic approach in regulating RIT, including those aspects that may be considered under other instruments.
Proposals on the matter were invited of Member States by the Sub-Committee, whilst IACS stated that its members would welcome any contributions from Member States and observers for the development of a proposal to regulate the use of RIT. It is not the intention for IACS to water down the requirements of the 2011 ESP Code by allowing these techniques to replace surveyors’ work, rather to ensure that they have the freedom to use RIT whenever appropriate.
REVIEW OF MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS IN THE SOLAS, MARPOL AND LOAD LINES CONVENTIONS AND THE IBC AND IGC CODES REGARDING WATERTIGHT DOORS ON CARGO SHIPS. It was recalled that MSC 101 had considered document MSC 101/21/16 (Liberia et al), proposing the review of mandatory requirements in the SOLAS, MARPOL and Load Lines Conventions and the IBC and IGC Codes regarding watertight doors on cargo ships, addressing inconsistencies, and had agreed to include a relevant output in the biennial agenda of SDC for 2020-2021 and the provisional agenda for SDC 7. MEPC 74 will also be involved with regard to the instruments under its purview. MSC 101 further agreed that the amendments to be developed should apply to new ships and would enter into force on 1 January 2024, providing they are adopted before 1 July 2022. Two submissions were considered, after which the following views were noted:
- Watertight doors may be of the hinged-type but serious concerns remain with respect to the human factor and failure to close all watertight doors which can compromise watertight integrity during flooding;
- If watertight doors of the hinged-type are used, they should be of the single action type and require indication of their status locally and on the bridge (“closed/open”); and,
- The definitions of “normally closed” and “permanently closed”, as contained in MSC.1/Circ.1572, need to be considered when formulating requirements for watertight doors in different instruments.
Taking into account the views expressed above, the Sub-Committee agreed to consider the documents submitted for the development of requirements for hinged watertight doors, following which WG2 was instructed to finalise the proposed draft amendments, results of which are summarised at point number 8 of the ‘Actions Requested’ in its subsequent report, with exact detail at Annex 4 of same.
DATE OF NEXT SESSION. The eighth session of the Sub-Committee has been tentatively scheduled to take place from 25 to 29 January 2021.
Captain Paddy McKnight