Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Making lifting and winching operations safer
The Sub-Committee agreed in principle to draft mandatory regulations to make lifting appliances such as onboard cargo cranes safer. The draft SOLAS regulation II-1/3-13 covers requirements for the application, design and construction, operation, inspection, testing and maintenance of onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches.
These rules are intended to help prevent accidents and harm to operators and damage to ships, cargo, shore-based structures and subsea structures, as well as the marine environment.
A correspondence group was established to finalize draft related guidelines for the safety of onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches.
Fire safety on ro-ro ships – draft interim guidelines agreed
As part of its ongoing work to minimize the incidence and consequences of fires in ro-ro spaces and special category spaces of new and existing ro-ro passenger ships, the Sub-Committee agreed to draft interim guidelines.
Draft guidelines cover prevention/ignition – including inspection and maintenance plans of ship’s power supply equipment and cables; detection/decision – including fixed fire detection and alarm system; extinguishing fires – including fixed fire-extinguishing measures and appropriate training and drills; containment – including fire integrity; and integrity of lifesaving appliances and evacuation.
Draft guidelines will be submitted for approval to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 101) to be held from 5 to 14 June 2019.
Meanwhile, the Sub-Committee on Human Element Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) was invited to consider sections relative to training and drills for seafarers, and advise the MSC, as appropriate.
The Sub-Committee agreed to continue its work at the next session, in relation to developing draft amendments to the SOLAS Convention and associated codes, following consideration of relevant casualty reports and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) FIRESAFE II study*.
Revising guidelines for the approval of fixed dry powder systems
The Sub-Committee began developing draft amendments to the Guidelines for the approval of fixed dry chemical powder fire-extinguishing systems for the protection of ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk (MSC.1/Circ.1315).
A correspondence group was established to identify appropriate test standards for acceptance of dry chemical powder for fixed fire-extinguishing systems; further develop the draft amendments to the Guidelines; and consider whether an implementation provision to the draft amendments to the Guidelines would be needed.
Goal-based standards safety-level approach for life-saving appliances
The Sub-Committee completed its work to develop functional requirements for SOLAS Chapter III on life-saving appliances and arrangements. It agreed that the goals, functional requirements and expected performance criteria for SOLAS chapter III be included as a new appendix 5 to the Guidelines on alternative design and arrangements for SOLAS chapters II-1 and III (MSC.1/Circ.1212).
For the goal: To save and maintain human life during and after an emergency situation, 12 functional requirements are listed with a series of expected performance criteria.
The amendments to MSC.1/Circ.1212 will be submitted to MSC 101 for approval.
Polar life-saving appliances – draft interim guidelines agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed to draft interim guidelines on life-saving appliances and arrangements for ships operating in polar waters, to ensure they meet the needs for survival in the harsh and specific conditions in such waters. For example, the guidelines cover specifications of the equipment needed and would require that lifeboats and rescue boats on ships proceeding to latitudes over 80°N should be fitted with a non-magnetic means for determining heading. The draft interim guidelines will be submitted to MSC 101 for approval.
Guidelines are intended to support the implementation of the mandatory Polar Code.
Ventilation requirements for survival craft
The Sub-Committee reviewed the draft amendments to the LSA Code in relation to ventilation requirements of totally enclosed lifeboats and made progress in developing draft amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances (Resolution MSC.81(70)), regarding the ventilation of survival craft. The aim is to ensure a habitable environment is maintained in such survival craft.
A correspondence group was established to further develop the draft amendments to the LSA Code and resolution MSC.81(70); prepare the necessary consequential amendments to other IMO instruments, e.g. MSC/Circ.980; gather and review research data on the microclimate in partially enclosed lifeboats and life-raft and identify and recommend the possible criteria for new ventilation requirements for partially enclosed lifeboats and liferafts; prepare draft amendments related to the testing of the means of ventilation for partially enclosed lifeboats and liferafts and the necessary consequential amendments to other IMO instruments; and consider the possible benefits of air quality monitoring for all survival crafts.
On-shore power supply
Plugging a ship into shore-side power – and turning off onboard generators – is one solution to reducing air pollution from ships, as well as limiting local noise.
Following discussion on operational and technical aspects of onshore power supply, the Sub-Committee re-established the correspondence group to further develop draft guidelines on safe operation of onshore power supply (OPS) service in port for ships engaged on international voyages, limited to operational requirements.
Onshore power supply to ships is also known as cold ironing, alternative maritime power and shoreside electricity.
Our picture shows a Carnival line up. Five Carnival ships are due in Durban in week commencing 24 May. (Photo: www.africaports.co.za )
No less than five Carnival Cruise ships are due to arrive in Durban between 26 and 28 May to take on bunkers and to restock depleted supplies.
These five ships are part of a group of 12 engaged in the humanitarian task of repatriating over 26,000 crew from the Carnival fleet and other companies, as well as personnel from entertainment centres ashore, who because of the coronavirus pandemic, have had their employment suddenly curtailed.
Hotel staff and entertainers
These are the entertainment staff, the onboard shop workers, beauty salon practitioners, waiters and bus boys, chefs and kitchen staff, cabin cleaners, pursers and front desk people all making up the staff working on board cruise ships.
With cruising curtailed these former employees are finally returning home to destinations like India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines after having remained on board their ships for more than two months, unable to go ashore or receive visitors ever since cruising operations were suspended in mid -March. Ahead they face another three or four weeks at sea before being allowed to disembark. However, there’s something of a problem.
Call to governments
IFSMA* calls upon Governments to adopt the ‘Framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic’ without delay to allow ship owners and management companies to change over their dangerously tired crews.
Governments must act now in order to avoid personal injury to, and mental breakdown of, seafarers and avoid the significant risk of accidents and consequential danger to life and the environment.
Concern at IFSMA
IFSMA is receiving an increasing number of reports from its ship masters’ associations around the world concerned for the welfare and safety of crews and the increased risk with which they are operating in an already high risk environment. Seafarers are feeling let down and abandoned by their Governments.
Following concerns from the maritime industry, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a circular to all Member States, the UN and agencies and IGOs and NGOs in consultative status with IMO. This document concerned recommendations to Member States about measures to facilitate ship crew changes in seaports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IMO Secretary General has received a framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the pandemic, proposed by a cross-section of global industry associations in consultative status with the IMO, for example: ICS, IAPH, BIMCO, IFSMA, and P&I Clubs as well as the International Air Transport Association (IATA).