Maritime

IMO Sub-Committee on ship design and construction (SDC 8)

The 8th session of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) was held remotely from 17 to 21 January. Triggered by the expansion of offshore renewable projects and the demand for ships transporting and accommodating personnel offshore, SDC 8 finalized a draft new SOLAS Chapter XV and a related mandatory draft new IP Code to ensure the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on cargo ships and highspeed cargo craft.

IMO Sub-Committee on ship design and construction

Relevant for shipowners, managers, designers, manufacturers, and flag states

Meeting highlights

  • Finalized draft mandatory safety regulations for ships carrying more than 12 industrial personnel (IP)
  • Finalized the draft explanatory notes to the interim guidelines on the second-generation intact stability criteria
  • Finalized revised draft performance standards for water level detectors

Industrial personnel

Offshore renewable energy projects (e.g. wind farms) have led to a demand for multi-mission ships which may combine transportation and accommodation of industrial personnel working offshore.

SDC 8 finalized a draft new SOLAS Chapter XV and a related mandatory draft new IP Code for the carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft.

The draft IP Code is based on the Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships (2008 SPS Code), but with adaptations and provisions also for the training of industrial personnel, safe personnel transfer and carriage of dangerous goods. All types of cargo ships could carry industrial personnel when complying with the IP Code, however ships carrying toxic products, low-flashpoint products and acids are not allowed to have more than 60 persons on board.

The draft SOLAS Chapter XV and the draft IP Code will be sent to MSC 105 (April 2022) for approval, and are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2024, pending adoption of the new SOLAS Chapter XV.

The draft new SOLAS Chapter will apply to ships constructed on or after the entry into force date, and to existing ships starting to carry industrial personnel after that date. Grandfather provisions will allow existing cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft already carrying industrial personnel to obtain certification by complying with parts of the IP Code, i.e. the provisions for training, safe personnel transfer and carriage of dangerous goods.

A second phase of the IP Code development will consider inter alia high-speed cargo craft carrying more than 60 persons and guidance to clarify the interaction between the SPS Code and the new IP Code.

Second-generation intact stability criteria

SDC 8 finalized the draft explanatory notes to the interim guidelines on the second-generation intact stability criteria (MSC.1/Circ.1627).

The 2008 Intact Stability Code uses empirical criteria, based on past casualty data. Hence, as ship design evolves, the uncertainty of these criteria increases. The new second-generation intact stability criteria are performance-based and rely on advanced numerical simulations or simplified criteria in addition to operational measures.

The draft explanatory notes will be submitted to MSC 105 (April 2022) for approval.

Enhanced survey programme (2011 ESP Code)

SDC 8 agreed on draft amendments to the 2011 ESP Code to enhance consistent implementation of survey requirements. The main issues, subject to approval by MSC 105 (April 2022), are summarized below.

Bulk carriers:

  • Ballast tanks to be examined annually if the protective coating condition is found to be “less than GOOD”.
  • Double-skin void spaces bounding cargo holds in bulk carriers exceeding 20 years of age and 150 m in length to be examined annually if the protective coating is found to be in “POOR” condition.
  • New requirements to the annual survey of double-skin void spaces, when required, for bulk carriers exceeding 20 years of age and 150 m in length.

Oil tankers:

  • Amended definition of oil tankers to clarify that the ESP Code does not apply to oil tankers carrying oil in independent tanks which are not part of ship’s hull (e.g. asphalt carriers).

Goal-based requirements for SOLAS Chapter II-1

SOLAS Chapter II-1 Regulation 55 allows electrical and machinery installations to deviate from prescriptive requirements, provided an equivalent level of safety is achieved and the intent of the requirements is met.

To make this alternative design process more efficient, the IMO has agreed to define the intent of the prescriptive requirements. SDC 8 agreed on draft goals, functional requirements and expected performances of SOLAS Chapter II-1 Part D on “Electrical Installations”. The goal-based requirements for Part C on “Machinery Installations” will be considered next in a correspondence group until SDC 9 (January 2023).

The goal-based provisions will eventually be included in a Revision 2 of the “Guidelines on alternative design and arrangements for SOLAS chapters II-1 and III” (MSC.1/Circ.1212/Rev.1) and submitted to MSC for approval.

Unified interpretations

1988 Load Lines Protocol – freeboard calculations
SDC 8 agreed to a draft unified interpretation of paragraph 37(3) of Annex B to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol to clarify how superstructure deductions should be accounted for in freeboard calculations.

SOLAS Chapter II-1 – alterations of lightweight
SDC 8 agreed to a draft unified interpretation of SOLAS Chapter II-1 Regulations 5.4 and 5.5 to clarify when stability information should be amended in case of lightweight alterations, i.e. weights added, removed or relocated on board a ship after the last approved inclining test.

SOLAS Chapter II-1 – timber deck cargo
SDC 8 agreed to a draft unified interpretation of SOLAS Chapter II-1 Regulation 5-1 to address how buoyant timber deck cargo should be accounted for in damage stability calculations.

The draft unified interpretations will be submitted to MSC 105 (April 2022) for approval.

Water level detectors

MSC 103 adopted a new SOLAS Regulation II-1/25-1 requiring new multiple-hold cargo ships to be fitted with water level detectors in each cargo hold. The new regulation harmonizes the requirements for bulk carriers and non-bulk carriers, and will not apply to tankers, liquid holds, and tanks entirely above the bulkhead deck.

SDC 8 finalized the revised draft “Performance standards for water level detectors on ships subject to SOLAS regulations II-1/25, II-1/25-1 and XII/12” (resolution MSC.188(79)/Rev.1), applicable to bulk carriers, single-hold cargo ships other than bulk carriers and multiplehold cargo ships other than bulk carriers.

The revised performance standard will be applied for water level detectors installed on or after 1 January 2024. In addition to expanding its application to multiple-hold cargo ships, the revised standard contains clarifications on requirements to bilge alarms used as water level detectors, audible and visual alarms, as well as testing requirements.

The draft amendments will be submitted to MSC 105 (April 2022) for approval.

Underwater noise

The IMO has agreed to review the 2014 “Guidelines for the reduction of underwater noise from commercial shipping to address adverse impacts on marine life” (MSC.1/Circ.833).

SDC 8 agreed on a work plan for the review, with work items including inter alia:

  • dentification of barriers to uptake and implementation of the guidelines, and
  • identification of measures to further prevent and reduce underwater noise from ships, including the integration of new and advancing technologies and vessel designs.

The work will continue in a correspondence group until SDC 9 (January 2023).

Recommendations

As SDC is a Sub-Committee, all decisions concerning rules, regulations and dates are subject to further consideration and approval by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC). DNV recommends that our customers monitor the outcome of MSC 105 in April 2022.

Our customers may note that some agenda items were deferred to SDC 9 in January 2023 to accommodate the remote session. This includes the consideration of requirements to emergency towing equipment on ships other than tankers, and alignment of the wording and guidance for the asbestos ban in the MODU Code with that contained in SOLAS. A correspondence group was established to consider the latter and report to SDC 9.

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