Note of meeting of the International Maritime Organization Maritime Safety Committee IMO MSC100 – 3 to 7 December 2018
by Kim Fisher
This was a 5 day meeting of the Maritime Safety Committee under the chairmanship of Mr Bradley Groves (Australia) because the previous meeting this year had been an 8 day meeting in June. Since this was the 100th meeting, and also coinciding with the 70th anniversary of IMO, the opportunity was taken to hold some special events. A seminar was held on the first afternoon and Her Royal Highness Princes Anne was invited to address the meeting on the Wednesday,
The seminar dealt with the technology progression of maritime autonomous ships, the human element and smart marine ecosystems. Some impressive film was shown of a ferry making a totally autonomous voyage, berth to berth. These special events together with a long report from Ukraine on the issue of the capture by Russian forces of Ukrainian naval vessels somewhat restricted the time available for the meeting which consequently became rather rushed.
The substantive issue at the meeting concerned a regulatory scoping exercise for the use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). The previous meeting had set up a correspondence group to move the work forward and a report was available which showed just how complex the issue was. A Working Group at the meeting produced a simplified report and the work will now continue as a web based exercise for the next meeting. Since there is only one MSC meeting next year, a special 5 day intersessional meeting has been arranged for later in the year.
Another Working Group discussed the issue of safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters as an extension to the Polar Code but was not able to make much progress.
Much of the rest of the meeting concerned ship construction standards. New work items were agreed for the use of emergency personal radio devices in multiple casualty situations and for a revision of ECDIS guidelines for good practice.
At the end of the meeting the retirement was announced of Jo Angelo of the USA.
The next meeting of MSC is scheduled to take place from 5 to 14 June 2019. The intersessional meeting on MASS is scheduled to take place from 2 to 6 September 2019. A meeting of the subcommittee on navigation, communication, search and rescue (NCSR) is scheduled for 14 to 25 January 2019.