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Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 104), 4-8 October 2021

MSC 104 will be held remotely, from 4-8 October 2021

Time: 11.00 am to 14:00 pm London Time each day.



The MSC will consider a draft Assembly resolution consolidating issues related to crew change, access to medical care, ʺkey workerʺ designation and seafarers’ vaccination to further highlight the relevance of these problems, with a view to adoption at the 32nd session of the IMO Assembly (6-15 December).

The draft Assembly resolution on comprehensive action to address seafarers’ challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found in document MSC 104/17/1.

Piracy and armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activity

The MSC will consider a draft update of IMO Assembly resolution A.1069(28) on Prevention and suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships and illicit activity in the Gulf of Guinea. The resolution is expected to be finalized and approved for adoption by the the 32nd session of the IMO Assembly.

The draft revised resolution can be found in document MSC 104/8/1.

The Committee will also be updated on IMO initiatives in the Gulf of Guinea.

Domestic ferry safety

The Committee will consider matters pertaining to domestic ferry safety. A related working group is expected to be established, with a view to finalizing recommendatory Model Regulations on Domestic Ferry Safety, for adoption at MSC 105 in April 2022.

Goal-based ship construction standards (GBS)

The Committee is expected to consider the report of the combined GBS audit on the rectification of non-conformities of IACS and DNV-GL ship construction rules.

The International Goal-based Ship Construction Standards for Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers (“the Standards”) describe the goals and establish the functional requirements that the rules for the design and construction of bulk carriers and oil tankers of an organization recognized by the Administration, or the national rules of an Administration, shall  conform to, as defined in SOLAS regulations II-1/2.27 and II-1/3-10. Additionally, the Standards establish that the abovementioned rules shall be verified as conforming to the goals and functional requirements.

The verification is achieved by conducting regular GBS audits of the ship construction rules of organization recognized by the Administration who had already been verified to conform to the Standards. Those ROs or Administration seeking to have their ship construction rules verified to be GBS-conform for the first time will have to undergo an initial GBS audit, in accordance with the Revised guidelines for verification of conformity with goal-based ship construction standards for bulk carriers and oil tankers (resolution MSC.454(100))

The next scheduled GBS audits will be conducted in early 2022 when the first three-year maintenance audit cycle begins.

Amendments to mandatory instruments

The MSC is expected to consider for adoption:

  • draft amendments to chapters II (Conditions of assignment of freeboard) and III (Freeboards) of annex I (Regulations for determining load lines) of annex B to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol, concerning amendments to the acceptable arrangements of scuppers and discharges, as well as satisfactory condition of equilibrium after flooding, respectively; and
  • draft amendments to chapter 2 (Ship survival capability and location of cargo tanks) of the International Gas Carrier Code (IGC Code), concerning watertight doors on cargo ships, with the entry into force date of 1 January 2024.

Modernization of the GMDSS – approval of amendments to SOLAS and related instruments  

Following a comprehensive review of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) by the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR), the MSC is expected to approve, for adoption at the next session, a set of draft amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention, including amendments and revisions to existing related instruments.

The aim is to enable the use of modern communication systems in the GMDSS whilst removing requirements to carry obsolete systems concerning the modernization of the GMDSS.

The revision of the relevant regulations in SOLAS chapters II-1, III, IV and V and preparation of related and consequential amendments to other existing instruments is the result of a decade of detail-oriented work by IMO, in particular by the NCSR Sub-Committee.

Safety of navigation and safety of life at sea depend on the integrated satellite and terrestrial radiocommunication systems to support ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship distress, urgency and safety communications at sea, which is known as the GMDSS in general. Mandatory requirements for the GMDSS are laid down in the SOLAS Convention.

The MSC is expected to approve, for adoption at MSC 105, draft amendments to:  

  • SOLAS chapters II-1, III, IV and V, and the appendix (Certificates)
  • the 1988 SOLAS Protocol;
  • the 1994 and 2000 HSC Codes;
  • the 1983 and 2008 SPS Codes; and
  • the 1979, 1989 and 2009 MODU Codes.

In addition, the MSC is expected to approve, in principle, a further 11 draft MSC resolutions and two draft MSC circulars, with a view to final approval/adoption at MSC 105, as follows:

  1. draft MSC resolution on “System performance standard for the promulgation and coordination of maritime safety information using high-frequency narrow-band direct-printing”, revising and superseding resolution A.699(17);
  2. draft MSC resolution on “Performance standards for the reception of maritime safety information and search and rescue related information by MF (NAVTEX) and HF”, revising and consolidating resolutions A.700(17) and MSC.148(77), as amended;
  3. draft MSC resolution on “Provision of radio services for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)”, revising and superseding resolution A.801(19), as amended;
  4. draft MSC resolution on “Performance standards for search and rescue radar transponders”, revising and superseding resolutions A.530(13) and A.802(19), as amended;
  5. draft MSC resolution on “Performance standards for shipborne VHF radio installations capable of voice communication and digital selective calling”, revising resolution A.803(19), as amended;
  6. draft MSC resolution on “Performance standards for shipborne MF and MF/HF radio installations capable of voice communication, digital selective calling and reception of maritime safety information and search and rescue related information”, revising and consolidating resolutions A.804(19), as amended, and A.806(19), as amended;
  7. draft MSC resolution on “Performance standards for Inmarsat-C ship earth stations capable of transmitting and receiving direct-printing communications”, revising resolution A.807(19), as amended;
  8. draft MSC resolution on “Guidelines for the avoidance of false distress alerts”, revising and superseding resolution A.814(19);
  9. draft MSC resolution on “Performance standards for survival craft portable two-way VHF radiotelephone apparatus”, revising resolution MSC.149(77);
  10. draft MSC resolution on “Amendments to the performance standards for radiocommunication equipment (resolution MSC.80(70))”;
  11. draft MSC resolution on “Performance standards for a shipborne integrated communication system (ICS) when used in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)”, revising resolution A.811(19);
  12. draft MSC circular on “Participation of non-SOLAS ships in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)”, to be disseminated as MSC.1/Circ.803/Rev.1; and
  13. draft MSC circular on “Guidance for the reception of maritime safety information and search and rescue related information as required in the Global Maritime Distress.

Other matters

The Committee is expected to:

  • Adopt the draft MSC resolutions on “Amendments to the Performance standards for shipborne simplified voyage data recorders (S-VDRs) (resolution MSC.163(78), as amended)” and “Amendments to the Performance standards for shipborne voyage data recorders (VDRs) (resolution MSC.333(90))”;
  • Approve the draft revised text of the Interim Iridium SafetyCast service manual, for dissemination as MSC.1/Circ.1613/Rev.1;
  • Approve the draft MSC circular on “Guidance on the validity of VHF radiocommunication equipment installed and used on ships”, to be disseminated as MSC.1/Circ.1460/Rev.3; and
  • Approve the draft MSC circulars on “Guidelines for shore-based maintenance of emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs)”, to be disseminated as MSC.1/Circ.1039/Rev.1, and “Guidelines on annual testing of emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs)”, to be disseminated as MSC.1/Circ.1040/Rev.2.



The IMO’s MARPOL Annex IV Convention, which aims to control sewage pollution from ships, is being revised to ‘confirm the lifetime performance’ of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). Although the focus is on the new ships, some Member States and NGOs propose ‘concrete measures’ to improve the existing STPs on existing ships. [1, 2]. So how do existing STPs perform, and what does it take to improve them?

A survey of 127 ships showed a huge gap between rules and realities (table above). Merely three percent of STPs met the IMP’s STP performance standards [3]. If a standard was to be set to accommodate the 95th percentile of the best performing ships, it would be 10 times the concentration of untreated domestic sewage. It is evident that despite the availability of technologies type approved under the IMO’s approval regimes over a last decade or so, the IMO’s STP performance standards remain aspirational and unproven.

STPs are developed to pass type tests only. The performance standard has not been applied to actual discharges from ships. The lack of effective implementation has led to a situation far worse than poor treatment performance. Let’s hope this new initiative, backed by shipping NGOs, will help the maritime industry with a much-needed reality check – i.e., to find out to what degree the existing STPs can be improved, and to what extent the huge gap between rules and realities can be narrowed.

What does it take to improve your STP?

1) To have a good intention. There should be no penalties or brownie points. To crack open sea water valves, or to send to the lab a bottle of tap water in lieu of STP effluent, would invite bad regulation for the industry. To make an STP perform is never ‘care-free’ – commitment is needed.

2) Applications. Small ships face the most challenging conditions in terms of space, resources, and fluctuated sewage loading. Small ships are at the periphery of the approval and inspection regimes, and are most likely to have installed underperforming STPs [10]. Therefore, small ships are critical to establish the true boundary of an evidence-based, practicable and sustainable sewage regulation, and let’s hope they are well represented in this initiative.

3) Know your STP. To improve an existing STP, technical know-how is required. For example, to pursue good effluent qualities without measuring and assessing its effluent flow rate can be worse than meaningless, because it would encourage dilution. Not all STPs can be helped: STPs without a solids-separation step [7] and STPs using chlorination disinfection without de-chlorination [8] are still spreading on new ships.

4) Scope of improvements. A certified STP should not be modified without the involvement of its maker and its approval authority. Hence the scope of improvement needs to focus on STP interface conditions, training, and operation and maintenance (O&M). Features to provide the basic visibility of STP operational conditions can be essential. Keep a record of the observations.

5) Benchmarking. To benchmark an STP, its effluent flow rate and turbidity are essential. Take regular photos of STP effluent for future reference. When an accredited laboratory is involved, please note the effluent sample point needs to be disinfected, residual chlorine (if applicable) and pH need to be tested immediately, sample bottles must be transported in cool boxes, and a signed chain of custody needs to be in place.

6) Interfaces. All waste streams into the STP should be evaluated. Make a note if food waste and its derivatives are connected to the STP [11]. Measure the daily flows and peak flows, and ensure they are within the certified capacity of the STP. Note grey water, when treated, can increase organic and hydraulic loadings to an STP. Keep the vent pipe clear.

7) Operation & Maintenance (O&M). Failing to operate an STP ‘in accordance with the manufacturers O&M manual’ has led to most STP-related detainments. So do get trained and do follow the O&M manual. Keep manufacturer approved spares and consumables. Check chemical shelf-life. Disinfection processes can be checked by the test kits specified in the O&M manual. Maintaining good solids separation by settlement, flotation or filtration is crucial for good effluent quality.

Seeing improvements? Now, observe the STP effluent again, and compare it with the benchmark in terms of flow rates and turbidity or any other parameters of concern. Make your findings known. Burying bad news encourages and sustains bad rules.

Better regulations are needed

Our aqua environment has improved over the past century, thanks to the effective regulations on-land that evolve over a ‘regulatory cycle’ (Figure below). The maritime industry also has a taste of success in Alaska [12,13], demonstrated by the performance of the advanced wastewater treatment systems (AWTS) that is a startling contrast to that of the STPs (Figure) [14]. The IMO’s MARPOL Annex IV is so incompatible with effective regulation that the AWTS’ performance cannot be defined under the IMO rules. In this context, any tangible improvements that can be achieved by this positive initiative should be most welcome by the maritime industry.


Source: maritime-executive


BIMCO is launching a new survey with the aim of gathering information from shipowners about the effectiveness of their anti-fouling systems (AFS). The information gathered will help BIMCO provide factual information to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) about biofouling management in practice.


The topic of biofouling is increasingly on the agenda at the IMO and several national governments. The existing IMO guidelines on biofouling (Resolution MEPC.207(62) – 2011 Guidelines for the control and management of ships’ biofouling to minimise the transfer of invasive species) are currently under review.

BIMCO is actively involved in the revision of the guidelines and is seeking to ensure that the revised guidelines remain practical for shipowners. To build our argumentation on facts, BIMCO has developed a questionnaire to collect shipowners’ views on the practices of biofouling management, especially the use and effectiveness of anti-fouling systems (AFS) and in-water cleaning.


Source: hellenicshippingnews


No other classification society in the world has the depth and breadth of experience of ABS across all major sectors of marine industry.

Since its inception in 1862, ABS has been a global leader in marine safety. With nearly 4,000 technical professionals positioned around the world, the ABS team has the experience, knowledge and professional judgment to assist members and clients in developing their marine projects.

Today ABS is on the cutting edge of technologies related to technical evaluation services, vessel performance, LNG as marine fuel and the latest design techniques. Our professionals are also up to date on the latest in regulatory requirements and best practices of the marine industry.

No matter the type of vessel or the location of construction, ABS professionals stand ready to help with the complete life cycle of your project.


Source: ww2.eagle


The Department of Partnerships and Projects (DPP) serves as the gateway for developing partnership opportunities with a wide range of external partners, including IMO Member States, UN agencies, financial institutions, NGOs, IGOs and the private sector.

The Department began operating on 1 March 2020 to increase the existing portfolio of donor-supported long-term projects supporting the technical cooperation objectives of IMO. The establishment of DPP reflects the strong and continuing commitment of IMO to helping its Member States achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and implement the Organization’s regulatory framework.

IMO has a long and successful track record of matching the requirements of developing and less-developed countries with resources made available by a range of governmental, institutional and corporate donors. Building on this, DPP also promotes a culture of collaboration and innovation, creating broader engagement and partnerships with maritime and ocean-related stakeholders.


Source: imo


The safety management system (SMS) is an organized system planned and implemented by the shipping companies to ensure the safety of the ship and marine environment.

SMS is an important aspect of the International safety management (ISM) code and it details all the important policies, practices, and procedures that are to be followed in order to ensure the safe functioning of ships at the sea. All commercial vessels are required to establish safe ship management procedures. SMS forms one of the important parts of the ISM code.

The safety management system (SMS) therefore ensures that each and every ship comply with the mandatory safety rules and regulations, and follow the codes, guidelines,  and standards recommended by the IMO, classification societies, and concerned maritime organizations.


Source: marineinsight


The Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) is a development in the navigational chart system used in naval vessels and ships. With the use of the electronic chart system, it has become easier for a ship’s navigating crew to pinpoint locations and attain directions.

ECDIS complies with IMO Regulation V/19 & V/27 of SOLAS convention as amended, by displaying selected information from a System Electronic Navigational Chart (SENC). ECDIS equipment complying with SOLAS requirements can be used as an alternative to paper charts.

Besides enhancing navigational safety, ECDIS greatly eases the navigator’s workload with its automatic capabilities such as route planning, route monitoring, automatic ETA computation and ENC updating. In addition, ECDIS provides many other sophisticated navigation and safety features, including continuous data recording for later analysis.


Source: marineinsight


Helle Hammer, Chair of the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) Policy Forum, has argued that the shipping industry ‘urgently needs’ International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulation and Class rules on the implementation and use of new marine fuel types such as hydrogen and ammonia.

In a statement issued by the IUMI today (3 September), Hammer said: ‘We applaud IMO’s ambition and calls for a decarbonised shipping industry. As marine insurers, it is our job to help shipowners transition to low or zero carbon fuels safely and with all associated risks fully understood and managed.

‘As these new fuel types are largely un-tested, the insurance industry has no history or loss records to help it assess the potential risks involved. We need to learn about these new fuels and educate our clients accordingly.

‘As importantly, we need IMO regulation and Class rules on the implementation and use of these new fuels. This will ensure the safety of the crew and enable marine underwriters to assess and offer necessary financial protection for this new risk profile. Mindful of the time it takes for new regulation to come into force, we urge IMO and other regulators to begin work now.’

Hammer continued: ‘Environmentally friendly fuels carry their own risks, ammonia is both toxic and corrosive, and hydrogen has a wide flammability range and ignites easily. Whilst we welcome the proposed safety guidelines as a useful starting point, they are non-mandatory and so can only be an interim measure. We urgently need mandatory requirements to be developed and implemented to facilitate the transition to greener fuels.’

The IUMI noted that two recent submissions to IMO have proposed the development of safety guidelines for new fuel types and European Union (EU) Member States and the European Commission (EC) propose to include this in the work plan for the next phase of the development of the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases of other low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code).

Both the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and INTERCARGO have proposed to develop guidelines for safety of newly built vessels using ammonia as fuel. IUMI believes that guidance is also needed for the education and training of crew onboard, and to address safe and environmentally sound operations.


Source: bunkerspot


At the 32nd session of the Assembly of the IMO, Sweden seeks election to the Council of the IMO under the provisions of Article 17 (b) of the IMO Convention.

As a country located in the very northern part of the hemisphere with a long coastline, few land borders and a large archipelago, Sweden holds a long tradition as a maritime nation. Sweden is dependent on seaborne trade, 90 percent of the import and export being transported by sea. Shipping and ports are therefore of vital importance for the entire Swedish society.

The Swedish commitment to the IMO is long-standing and Sweden became a member of the Organization in 1959. As a firm believer in the objectives and the work of the IMO, Sweden has constructively and dedicatedly participated in the work of the Organization for over six decades.

If elected member to the IMO Council, Sweden will particularly focus on the following:

  • To promote the objectives of the World Maritime University which enables international maritime rulemaking and implementation.
    Read more about World Maritime University and global commitment.
  • To ensure continuous good governance and that the IMO is a transparent, efficient and inclusive Organization.
    Read more about Good Governance.
  • To prepare shipping to be fit for the future, e.g. by adapting to increased digitalization, climate change and external factors, and by promoting gender equality. Read more about Shipping fit for the future.
  • To continue to support the work of the IMO at all levels of the organization.
    Read more about Sweden and the IMO.


Source: transportstyrelsen


Compliance Planner provides you with a tailored list of requirements that your fleet needs to meet to achieve compliance. Data gleaned from the tool equips you with a single point of information to familiarize yourself with future legislation and identify the number of vessels affected by each requirement – enabling you to take timely action.

Covering all relevant upcoming compliance for regulations impacting your fleet, Compliance Planner reduces the effort spent mining large amounts of paperwork, saving you time and money.

Beyond, the application reduces the risk of missing key regulatory deadlines resulting in non-compliance and helps you to navigate to relevant content and tools to support your compliance needs.

Everything to help you and to keep your decision-making ahead of the regulatory curve.


Source: dnv


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