IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has discussed the development of goal-based standards for new ship construction during the last session in December. Some other important issues included large passenger ship safety and the adoption of amendments to the SOLAS Convention, including a revised chapter on bulk carrier safety, amendments to make mandatory the carriage of simplified voyage data recorders on existing cargo ships and the introduction of a unique company identification scheme.
In order to facilitate the debate on goal-based new ship construction standards, the MSC Chairman has invited submissions on ten potential subjects. These include whether or not goal-based standards should set prescriptive requirements or describe specific solutions, or prescribe high-level goals of safety and pollution prevention; whether the goal-based standards approach should be extended to other areas (e.g. machinery and electrical systems, lifesaving appliances, fire safety, etc.) so that the same goal-setting regime covers the entire ship; how to verify compliance with goal-based standards during the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and whether IMO should do this, and if so, how.
In response, 19 countries and three international organizations have submitted 26 documents for consideration, illustrating the importance IMO Members attach to the issue.