- There was a very busy agenda for the NCSR meeting with over 100 papers, including some topics that are very important to The Nautical Institute membership.
- The Nautical Institute was represented at all plenary sessions and at the Communications and Navigation Working Groups.
A recent news article published in the Nautinst talks about IMO Update.
Underway not making way
While AIS is not recommended as a primary means of determining risk of collision, the information provided is of value to the mariner and Vessel Traf c Services (VTS) in determining the identity and movement of vessels. The messages transmitted by AIS are set out in International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Recommendation ITU-R M.1371-5. The content of this document is under review. There is a proposal to amend the messages from ships to distinguish between vessels that are making way and those that are drifting with their engines on standby. A special joint session of the Communications and Navigation Working Groups was held to discuss this proposal.While there would clearly be some bene t to this additional information, The Nautical Institute took the view (as expressed previously at NCSR8) that these advantages were overcome by the risks and disadvantages. The Colregs, other than in cases of restricted visibility, do not differentiate between vessels that are underway and making way and those not making way. There would be a signi cant risk of incorrect assumptions if AIS made such a distinction. There would also be a responsibility on vessels to frequently adjust their AIS status to re ect a change from making way to not making way. It was agreed that further consideration was required on this matter.
Ongoing military conflict in Ukraine
NCSR considered issues related to the areas for which the sub-committee has responsibility and in particular the impact on the conduct of search and rescue (SAR) operations at times of war. Amendments were made to the existing Traf c Separation Scheme (TSS) and associated measures in the approaches to and between the ports of Odessa and Ilichevsk, Ukraine.
The Working Group on Communications was asked to consider unlawful practices associated with fraudulent registration and registries of ships. In particular, members were asked whether to investigate how ships without proper registration were able to obtain Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers and to manipulate AIS data transmissions. The Working Group noted that some ships are deliberately using fraudulent MMSIs to handle cargoes from sanctioned countries. These ships change the MMSI entry in their AIS very frequently, making them difficult to detect. Port and flag state inspections, active coordination among various ship databases (eg ITUs MARS database) and the information provided by the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system could help to identify fraudulent use of MMSI.
The Group also noted that a Safety of Navigation (SN) or Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) circular could be prepared to raise awareness on this matter and to identify the step-by-step measures that could help to address unlawful practices of this kind.
- The Sub-Committee considered the report of the Experts Group on Ships’ Routeing and recommended the following changes be adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee:
- Amendments of existing Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) and associated measures in the approaches to and between the ports of Odessa and Ilichevsk, Ukraine.
- Establishment of a recommended route off Cape Shio-no-Misaki, Japan.
- Amendments of the area to be avoided in the region of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands off the coast of southern California and traffic separation scheme in the Santa Barbara Channel, USA.
- Establishment of a no anchoring area in the southern portion of Pulley Ridge off the coast of Florida, USA.
- Recommendation on navigation for containerships in traffic separation schemes Off Vlieland, Terschelling-German Bight, Off Friesland and German Bight western approach
Non-SOLAS Ships Operating in Polar Waters
The Sub-Committee and Navigation Working Group considered the report of the Correspondence Group on safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters. The existing strong recommendation that Member States should implement the safety measures of the Polar Code for such vessels as far as practicable was noted. The Working Group finalised amendments to SOLAS chapter XIV and the Polar Code parts I-A and I-B that will extend the provisions of the Polar Code to fishing vessels of 24 metres in length overall and above; pleasure yachts of 300 gross tonnage and upwards and cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards. These measures will enter into force on 1 January 2026.
Guidelines on Places of Refuge
Effective access to places of refuge in an emergency is of critical importance to the safety of the ship, its crew and the marine environment. In 2003, the IMO adopted guidelines to provide a common framework to assist coastal States to determine places of refuge and respond effectively to requests for places of refuge. However, under international law coastal States are not under any obligation to grant places of refuge. There have been many instances where Nautical Institute members and others have suffered significantly due to delayed or refused access to a safe refuge for their vessel.
The NCSR has now finalised significant amendments to the 2003 guidelines. The revised guidance aims to provide the basis of an operational framework for coastal States, ships’ Masters, operators and/or salvors as well as other involved parties on how to take a decision when a ship needs assistance and seeks a place of refuge. A draft revised Assembly resolution will be submitted to the MSC, Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) and legal (LEG) Committees for approval, with a view to adoption by the IMO Assembly in 2023.
The Sub-Committee approved a number of actions relating to Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) modernisation for future adoption by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC):
- Revision of GMDSS Coast Station Operator’s Certificate (CSOC) syllabus;
- Draft MSC GMDSS Circulars relating to:
- Operating guidance for ships in distress situations;
- Response Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress alerts by ships;
- Distress alerts and alerting of search and rescue authorities;
- Harmonisation of GMDSS requirements for radio installations on board SOLAS ships
MSI, Mobile Satellite Communication Services, and SAR
A wide range of issues were discussed. The Sub-Committee and Working Groups have been considering issues related to interoperability and interconnectivity between the Inmarsat and Iridium services. This is very important for ensuring that all Maritime Safety Information (MSI) is received both at sea and ashore.
Definitions for important terms were agreed:
- Interoperability: a system using an agreed communication format between an MSI and/or Search and Rescue (SAR)-related information provider and multiple Recognised Mobile Satellite Services (RMSSs), without significant differences between information sent, and providing confirmation of information received.
- Interconnectivity: the ability for RMSS providers to transfer received MSI and/or SAR-related information between themselves to allow all RMSSs to access MSI and/or SAR-related information from a specific provider without having a direct connection.The Sub-Committee completed a number of actions relating to MSI and SAR which will be submitted to MSC 106 for approval.
- Completion of Navtex manual revision with a view to it becoming effective on 1 January 2023.
- Recognition of the BeiDou Message Service System (BDMSS).
- Amendments to LRIT Performance standards and guidance on the survey and certification of LRIT on ships.
- Guidance on training on and operation of emergency personal radio devices in multiple casualty situations.
- Guidance for the dissemination of search and rescue related information through the international enhanced group call service.
- Guidance for ships carrying large numbers of crew or passengers in the event of a multiple casualty evacuation.
- COMSAR Circular on harmonisation of GMDSS requirements for radio installations on board SOLAS ships.
- Revision of SAR Circular on the list of documents and publications which should be held by a Maritime or Joint Rescue Coordination Centre.
- Cessation of rectangular area addressed broadcasts in the Arctic NAVAREA/METAREAs on 31 December 2023.
- Progressed IMO positions for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23).
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