Autonomous shipping, Covid-19 impact, security & fuel safety in spotlight at IMO meet

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  • Autonomous shipping, Covid-19 impact, security & fuel safety in spotlight at IMO meet

The foundations for the futuredevelopment ofa regulatory framework forMaritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS)will be laid atthe 103rd?session of IMOs Maritime Safety Committee (MSC),being held?in remote session from?May 5to14, 2021. TheCommittee willconsider theoutcome ofaregulatory scoping exercise on MASScarriedout over the last couple of yearsand identify priorities for further work. In addition to discussing the most appropriate ways of addressing MASS operationsfrom the regulatory perspective, meeting attendeeswill also considersubmissions relating toMASS trials, informed a release.

MSC 103 will alsoexplore?the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on shipping and seafarers.The Committee is expected to discuss a number of submissions, including a proposal for adoption of a resolution on prioritising seafarers for Covid-19 vaccination.

Another important item on the agenda ismaritime security, including cyber security,piracy and armed robbery. The Committee is expected to discussin particular the ongoingpiracyproblemsin the Gulf ofGuinea.

Fuel safety is also high on the agenda, withthe Committee expected to establish a working group to examine issuesincluding fuel flashpoint, blended fuels andfuel sampling and testing.

In response to the growing need for safer operation ofdomestic ferries, theCommitteewill be consideringa set of draftmodelregulations ondomesticferrysafety?that can be?incorporated into national law.?

The MSC willalsoconsidera number ofproposals for future work, includinghow to addressthe problem ofcontainers lost at sea.The Committee will adopta number ofamendments to SOLAS and other instruments. The session will also approvevarioussets ofguidance?and guidelines developed by the sub-committees.

The meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-GeneralMr KitackLim.

Ms Mayte Medina (United States) was elected Chair at the start of the session, following the resignation of thelong-serving previous Chair, Mr Brad Groves (Australia),at the end of last year.Mr Theofilos Mozas (Greece) was elected as Vice-Chair for 2021, the release added.