What is on the agenda for MSC 99?
The 99th session of IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 99) will take place on 16-25 May, at IMO Headquarters in London, gathering stakeholders from all 173 IMO Member States, as well as SOLAS Contracting Governments which are not Member States. High on the agenda is the safe and efficient operation of autonomous ships.
09 may 2018
1. Regulatory scoping exercise on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships
The MSC will begin looking at how the safe, secure and environmentally sound operation of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) may be introduced in IMO instruments. The work at this session is expected to focus on the framework of the regulatory exercise (e.g. instruments to be considered) and a plan of work, including expected deliverables, coordination mechanisms and future work. It is anticipated that a Working Group will be established to develop a plan of work and terms of reference for an intersessional correspondence or working group.
The MSC, at its last session, recognized that IMO should take a proactive and leading role on this issue, given the rapid technological developments relating to the operation of ships in various autonomous/automated modes.  The scoping exercise is seen as a starting point and is expected to touch on an extensive range of issues, including the human element, safety, security, interactions with ports, pilotage, responses to incidents and protection of the marine environment.
2. Adoption of amendments
The MSC is expected to adopt, inter-alia, amendments to the following instruments:
§ Amendments to SOLAS regulations II-1/1 and II-1/8-1, concerning the computerized stability support for the master in case of flooding for existing passenger ships. Also set for approval are related Guidelines on operational information for masters in case of flooding for passenger ships constructed before 1 January 2014.
§ Amendments to SOLAS chapter IV, replacing all references to "Inmarsat" with references to a "recognized mobile satellite service" and consequential amendments to the 1994 and 2000 HSC Codes and the 2008 SPS Code.
-International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code
§ Amendments to update the Code in line with the latest recommendations from the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, which sets the basic requirements for all transport modes. The amendments include new provisions regarding IMO type 9 tank, a set of new abbreviations for segregation groups and special provisions for carriage of lithium batteries and of vehicles powered by flammable liquid or gas.
-International Code for the Application of Fire Test Procedures (FTP Code)
§ Amendments to annex 3 to the Code, concerning fire protection materials and required approval test methods for passenger ships and high speed craft.
3. Goal-based standards and safety level approach
Following the introduction of goal-based ship construction standards for bulkers and oil tankers (GBS) and a thorough initial verification process by IMO GBS audit teams, 12 Recognized Organizations have demonstrated that their rules conform to the GBS. The MSC will be updated on the second stage of conformity, the maintenance of verification with IMO’s GBS, which considers new rules and rule changes that have been introduced since the initial verification audit.
The MSC is also expected to continue its work on amendments to the GBS Verification Guidelines, based on the experience gained during the initial verification audits.
A GBS Working Group may be established to further develop draft interim guidelines on the novel approach to IMO rule-making applying the risk-based, goal-based standards safety level approach (GBS-SLA).
4. Polar Code – second phase
The Polar Code entered into force in 2017 under both the SOLAS and MARPOL treaties. The MSC is expected to consider how the Polar Code provisions might be applied in the future to non-SOLAS vessels, including cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage, fishing vessels and pleasure yachts, with a view to instructing the SDC Sub-Committee to commence the concrete work on the matter.
5. Piracy and armed robbery against ships
The MSC will receive an update on reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships. The Organization received reports of 203 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide in 2017, the lowest for over 20 years, confirming the current downward year on year trend, with a reduction of about 8% at the global level.
In the Gulf of Guinea, the number of incidents reported to the Organization decreased last year to 48 incidents recorded in the IMO GISIS database, against 62 in 2016. However, in the first four months of 2018, the number of incidents significantly increased in the region, with 36 incidents reported, against 17 in the same period in 2017.
6. Adoption/approval of guidance and guidelines
The MSC is expected to:
§ Adopt new and amended ships' routeing measures: in the Bering Sea and Bering Strait, aimed at reducing the risks of incidents - the first measures to be adopted in IMO for the Arctic region since the Polar Code entered into force on 1 January 2017; a traffic separation scheme and other routeing measures In Dangan Channel (China) and  In the vicinity of Kattegat (Denmark and Sweden); and Area to be avoided Off the coast of Ghana in the Atlantic Ocean (Ghana).
§ Approve Guidelines for wing-in-ground (WIG) craft, to apply to WIG craft carrying more than 12 passengers and/or having a full load displacement of more than 10 tonnes.
§ Adopt amendments to the model forms of the Certificates of Fitness clarifying the requirement for an approved loading and stability manual/booklet to be supplied to the ship, under the IBC, IGC, BCH, GC and EGC Codes.
§ Approve draft amendments to the IGF Code, relating to protection of the fuel supply for liquefied gas fuel tanks, aimed at preventing explosions.
§ Adopt a Statement of Recognition of Maritime Satellite Services provided by Inmarsat Global Ltd, for use in the GMDSS.
§ Consider the recognition of the Iridium mobile satellite system for use in the GMDSS.
§ Adopt Performance standards for shipborne Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) receiver equipment.
§ Approve the updated IMO e-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP).
§ Approve Interim guidelines for the harmonized display of navigation information received via communications equipment.
§ Approve updates to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual, including a new section related to search and rescue operations in areas remote from search and rescue facilities; and updates to the section on mass rescue operations.
§ Adopt amendments to the Revised Performance standards for integrated navigation systems (INS) (resolution MSC.252(83)) relating to the harmonization of bridge design and display of information.
§ Approve amendments to the Continuity of service plan for the LRIT system(MSC.1/Circ.1376/Rev.2) and the LRIT Technical documentation (MSC.1/Circ.1259/Rev.7 and MSC.1/Circ.1294/Rev.5).
§ Review and validate model course 3.24 on Security Awareness Training for Port Facility Personnel with Designated Security Duties.
§ Adopt revised guidelines on the prevention of access by stowaways and the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases, which will be jointly adopted by the Facilitation Committee.
§ Approve the consolidated Revised Emergency Response Procedures for Ships Carrying Dangerous Goods (EmS Guide).
§ Consider recommendations arising from the third session of the Joint FAO/IMO Ad Hoc Working Group on Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and related matters.
The following working and drafting groups may be established:
·         Working Group on Goal-based Standards;
·         Working Group on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships;
·         Working Group on Safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters;
Drafting Group on Amendments to Mandatory Instruments

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