Editor’s note: This post was updated March 4, 2020 at 9:01 a.m. to correct items in the section on subdivision and damage stability.
The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) held its seventh session at IMO headquarters in London, United Kingdom, from Feb. 3-7, 2020. Captain Robert Compher, Chief of the US Coast Guard’s Office of Design & Engineering Standards (CG-ENG), led the US delegation, comprised of members from US Coast Guard, US Navy, US Department of State, US National Transportation Safety Board, and technical advisors from the private sector.
The key topics of discussion at SDC 7 were:
- The further development of a mandatory code for the carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel.
- Issues related to subdivision and damage stability, to include the development of requirements for water level detectors on non-bulk cargo ships with multiple holds.
- The finalization of second generation intact stability criteria.
- The development of guidelines for certain non-SOLAS vessels operating in polar waters.
- The further development of amendments to the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2019 (ESP Code).
The Sub-Committee made significant progress on the draft Code of Safety for Ships Carrying Industrial Personnel, and the associated SOLAS amendments (a new chapter XV) that are now likely to enter into force Jan. 1, 2024. Specific topics addressed in this session include the scope of application, matters related to high-speed craft, training required of industrial personnel, and the simultaneous carriage of industrial personnel and dangerous goods. SDC 7 referred the finalized sections on the simultaneous carriage of industrial personnel and dangerous goods to the appropriate other subcommittees for their review, and invited MSC 102 to consider the application of the new SOLAS chapter to ships currently transporting industrial personnel in accordance with the interim recommendations. The Sub-Committee again established a correspondence group, coordinated by Norway, whose focus will be to develop the sections of the Code applicable to ships certificated under SOLAS Chapter X (the High Speed Craft Code).
Issues related to subdivision and damage stability
The Sub-Committee finalized items on the following topics:
- Consolidated “Revised Explanatory Notes” to the SOLAS Chapter II-1 to resolve inconsistencies related to damage stability and watertight integrity requirements, for submission to MSC 102 for adoption, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2024.
- Draft new SOLAS regulation II-1/25-1 to require water level detectors and alarms on cargo ships with multiple cargo holds, for submission to MSC 102 for approval and subsequent adoption, with an entry into force date of Jan. 1, 2024.
- Draft amendments to MSC.1/Circ.1572 regarding watertight door requirements in SOLAS chapter II-1 for submission to MSC 102 for approval.
- Draft amendments to regulations in MARPOL Annex 1, the Load Lines Protocol, and the IBC and IGC Codes related to watertight doors were finalized for submission to MSC 102 for approval, and subsequent coordination with MEPC for adoption.
Second generation intact stability criteria
The Sub-Committee finalized the Interim guidelines for submission to MSC 102 for approval. The Interim guidelines consist of vulnerability criteria for five stability failure modes, specification of direct stability assessment, and preparation of operational measures. The Sub-Committee re-established a correspondence group, coordinated by Japan, to develop explanatory notes for the Interim guidelines for finalization at SDC 8.
Guidelines for certain non-SOLAS vessels operating in polar waters
The Sub-Committee developed and agreed to the draft guidelines for fishing vessels greater than 24 meters and pleasure yachts greater than 300 gross tons operating in polar waters. These draft guidelines will be submitted to MSC 103 for approval.
Amendments to the ESP Code
The Sub-Committee agreed to draft further amendments to the 2011 ESP Code (resolution MSC.461(101) adopted by MSC 101), amending thickness measurement requirements at the first renewal survey on double hulled oil tankers. The amendment would align the thickness measurement requirement of double hulled oil tankers to that of bulk carriers, such that thickness gauging during a vessel’s first renewal survey would be limited to “suspect areas” identified by the attending surveyor. These amendments will be submitted to MSC102 for approval. The Sub-Committee also invited interested Member States and international organizations to develop and submit a proposed framework to regulate the use of Remote Inspection Techniques as an alternative to close-up survey requirements to be discussed at SDC 8 scheduled for January 2021.
Finally, the Sub-Committee elected Ms. Turid Stemre of Norway and Mr. Jaideep Sirkar of the United States as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively for SDC for the calendar year 2021.
SDC 8 is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 25-29, 2021.
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