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ICOMIA releases its report from the IMO's 6th session of the subcommittee on SDC

Published on: 21 February 2019


ICOMIA have released its report from the IMO’s 6th session of the sub-committee Ship Design and Construction (SDC), held between Monday 4 – Friday 8 February. The items of interest to the leisure and superyacht industries are as follows:

Non-Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) vessels operating in polar waters – three papers were submitted on this agenda item as follows:

  • SDC/6/8 Canada and New Zealand “Draft guidelines for safety measures for fishing vessels 24 metres and over operating in polar waters"
  • SDC 6/8/1 New Zealand “Draft guidelines for safety measures for pleasure yachts of 300 GT and above not engaged in trade operating in polar waters"
  • SDC 6/8/2 FOEI, et al. “Comments on documents SDC 6/8 and 6/8/1"

Following the introduction of the three papers on this item, a large number of delegations came out in support of continuing the work and most were in favour of a correspondence group followed by a working group at SDC 7. There was a preference for prioritising the work on fishing vessels.

Second generation intact stability criteria – as outlined in previous reports, current stability regulations address a vessel’s static stability. Recognising that ships spend much of their time under way, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has been working on assessing stability to cover the vessel whilst in motion. Five loss of stability failure modes have been identified as follows:

  • Pure loss of stability
  • Parametric roll
  • Surf-riding / broaching
  • Dead ship condition
  • Excessive accelerations

There will be three levels of criteria to demonstrate compliance with increasing complexity of calculation. If the lowest level (level 1) is passed, then there is no need to continue with level 2. However if level 2 is required and not passed then the vessel is subject to further complex studies such as direct stability assessment techniques or operational limitations or operator guidance.

Safe mooring operations – Good progress was made on this topic with the sub-committee agreeing to the draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-8. These can be found at annex 1 to the report of the working group in attached document SDC 6/WP. 3. In summary, the amendments address the following:

  • They apply to all vessels over 3000 GT constructed on or after 1 January 2024
  • Mooring arrangements will need to be designed to ensure occupational safety and safe mooring and to be based on IMO guidelines. The ship-specific towing and mooring arrangement plan will need to be kept on board
  • Vessels under 3000 GT should comply with the regulations as far as possible

There is a requirement for all vessels, including existing vessels, to inspect and maintain mooring equipment.

In support of the SOLAS amendments, the sub-committee approved the following draft guidelines:

  • Guidelines on the design of mooring arrangements and the selection of appropriate mooring equipment and fittings for safe mooring
  • Guidelines for inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment including lines
  • Revised guidance on shipboard towing and mooring equipment

British Marine members can download the full IMO reports from the British Marine website here.

British Marine members with queries on the report can contact the Technical team on