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ICOMIA publishes a report from the IMO’s latest Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue (NCSR) sub-committee meeting

Published on: 29 April 2021

ICOMIA publishes a report

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) held its 8th session of the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue (NCSR) virtually between the 19th and 23rd of April 2021. An ICOMIA representative attends these meetings and has now released a report highlighting the key points that affect our members, in particular in the Superyacht industry. This report and its supporting documents is available to British Marine members to download from the BM website here.

The principal items of interest to the Superyacht industry discussed in the meeting are:

1. Update on Safety Measures for Non-Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Ships Operating in Polar Waters

The committee considered the “Report of the Correspondence Group on Safety Measures for Non-SOLAS Ships Operating in Polar Waters - Application of chapters 9 and 11 of the Polar Code to non-SOLAS ship” which can be accessed from the embedded documents in the downloadable ICOMIA report (document NCSR/8/5).

The additional equipment that may be required for pleasure yachts over 300GT operating in polar waters can be found in the draft amendments to chapters 9 and 11 of the Polar Code in annexe 1 to the report of the CG. In summary, the equipment required is as follows:

  • 2 independent echo-sounding devices;
  • For vessels over 500GT, 2 non-magnetic means to determine the vessel’s heading;
  • 2 searchlights for illuminating sea and ice;
  • A flashing red light to be visible from astern to indicate when the vessel is stopped.

It was decided that the work should be continued by the correspondence group and the navigation working group, established at this session, was tasked with producing the terms of reference for the CG. ICOMIA continues to be a member of the CG to ensure the superyacht industry’s position is represented. To this extent if any British Marine members have any comments on the terms of reference or any of the other ongoing work the IMO is currently undertaking on non-SOLAS vessels operating in polar waters please email technical@britishmarine.co.uk with Polar Waters in the subject line and these comments will be passed on to ICOMIA.

2. Amendments to SOLAS Chapters III, IV & V agreed

As reported from NCSR 7, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is being modernised. The changes are largely technical in nature and take into account new equipment and various service changes. These amendments are not expected to enter into force before 1 January 2024. With respect to the amendments, the following should be noted:

  • The carriage requirements for radio equipment will not change;
  • Although the Iridium system is now approved for use in the GMDSS (letter of compliance issued December 2019) it will still be necessary to carry high frequency (HF) equipment when operating in polar regions.

3. Progress on Electromagnetic interference (EMI) of LED lighting

As reported from NCSR 7, the sub-committee discussed the issue of EMI on radio equipment when LED lighting is located nearby, particularly where LED lighting is located near antennae. It was noted that not only LED lighting can cause interference but any electronic device with a switch-mode power supply. Additionally, it has been found that electronic items which do not fall under maritime legislation, e.g. power supplies for laptop computers, can also interfere with radio equipment. NCSR 7 agreed that the discussion should be continued at a Joint Experts Group and then at NCSR 8.

Following a report from the Joint Experts Group, the Sub-Committee noted the recommendation that very high frequency/medium frequency/high frequency (VHF/MF/HF) radio equipment could be fitted with a mandatory dial indication showing, via a green/orange/red or similar colour scheme, the amount of radio frequency (RF) noise received by the equipment. Noting that further work is required, the matter was referred back to the Joint Experts Group and discussions are expected to continue at NCSR 9.

4. Information on ECDIS malfunctions and training

Under agenda item 'Any Other Business', Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) submitted the attached document NCSR 8/INF.2. This paper provides a link to OCIMF’s publication, which may be of interest to the yacht industry:

Please note the full report is available to download from the link above, the report has embedded PDF supporting documents with the full details from the NCSR sub-committee meeting. To access the embedded reports, members need to download the report and enable editing on the word document and then click on the embedded PDFs.