Lifeboat safety and lifting appliances tops the agenda at this week’s IMO meeting


The IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE 5) meeting will concentrate on saving seafarers’ lives by improving regulation on lifesaving appliances. Further new regulations on lifting appliances and anchor handling winches, cold ironing and watertight doors will be discussed in detail.

BIMCO is attending the 5th session taking place from 12 to 16 March 2018 in London. The governing body of the IMO Sub-Committee SEE is the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC). SEE considers technical and operational matters about:

  • Systems and equipment
  • including machinery and electrical installations 
  • life-saving appliances

Saving seafarers’ life

A large part of the agenda at SSE 5 will focus on life savings appliances such as the development of new requirements for the ventilation on survival craft to reduce the CO2 levels onboard a totally closed lifeboat and thereby avoid the risk of hyperthermia when the boat is in use. The ventilation could be either powered or passive to ensure levels of CO2 below 5%. Launching of a survival craft or rescue boat independent of the ships power supplies is also an issue for discussion together with guidelines for life-saving appliances and arrangements for ships operating in polar waters.

Regulation of lifting and anchoring

One other major issue for the SSE 5 is the development of new mandatory requirements by amending SOLAS so it will cover lifting appliances and anchor handling winches Furthermore, new supporting guidelines will be discussed.  Much work is still needed before the text of the SOLAS amendment and the supporting guidelines are finalised. BIMCO has several issues with the present text in the guidelines as it raises several substantial issues for shipowners.

Pass the watertight door safely

SSE 5 will consider a proposal to provide visible warning signs on both sides of the watertight door (WTD). They should warn about the crushing effect of the door   and indicate when it is safe to pass the door. The proposal is a simple traffic-light system. BIMCO supports the idea of setting up warning signs for WTD on both sides but is of the opinion that they could be made smarter and easier to understand.

Cold ironing

Following a proposal at MSC 98, IMO agreed to develop safety provisions for ships using shore power supply during berthing. The expected output will develop a standardised checklist for a ship-shore OPS connection inspection, as well as guidance on safe operation of OPS in ports. There are already many international standards in place, although noting in SOLAS.

A brief report on the outcome of the meeting will be published shortly after the meeting.


Karin Petersen
By Lars Gullaksen
in Copenhagen, DK


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