The IMO Secretary General addressed the Sub-Committee and included the following:
“This week, you are expected to finalize the Detailed Review of the GMDSS. This will conclude discussions of 7 years, since the initial discussions took place at COMSAR 13 in 2009. The finalization of the review of the GMDSS is crucial to initiate the next phase of the project, namely the development of the Modernization Plan. It is important for all stakeholders to ensure that the project is completed within the time frame set out in the revised plan of work. According to the plan of work, the Modernization Plan should be approved by MSC 99 in 2018. Therefore, we would like to encourage you to complete the review of the GMDSS at this session.
You have many other important issues before you this week, ranging from matters related to ships' routeing, recognition of Galileo and Iridium, LRIT, e-navigation, harmonization of aeronautical and maritime search and rescue - and much more.”
The Secretary General, as were many others, was saddened to learn of the passing of Captain Norman Cockcroft, who was a true expert on the COLREGS. Many members of IFSMA will have been lectured by him and studied his COLREGS related publications.
The IFSMA delegation consisted of three delegates, Paul Owen, Allan Graveson and David Appleton.
Three Working Groups and one Drafting Group were established:
Navigation Working Group
Communications Working Group
SAR Working Group
Drafting Group on MSI Guidance documentation.
Agenda 2 - Decisions of Other IMO Bodies
The Sub-Committee noted the decisions and comments pertaining to its work made by LEG 102, MEPC 68 and MSC 95, as reported in document NCSR 3/2, and took them into account in its deliberations when dealing with the relevant agenda items.
Agenda 3 – Routeing Measures and Mandatory Ship Reporting Systems
12 papers were submitted under this agenda item. All proposed amendments and establishment of new TSS were agreed with minor amendments. Some to be implemented in six months and the others on 1 June 2017.
Agenda 5 – Recognition of Galileo as a Component of the WWRNS
The Sub-Committee considered the information provided by Austria et al. (NCSR 3/5) on the status and performance of the Galileo GNSS and on the provision of its initial services in view of its recognition as a component of the Worldwide Radionavigation System (WWRNS). After some discussion, the Sub-Committee agreed that the proponents had provided the necessary information and to advise the MSC to recognise Galileo as a future component of the WWRNS, subject to formal promulgation as required under paragraph 184.108.40.206 of the annex to resolution A.1046(27).
Agenda Item 6 – Additional modules to the Revised Performance Standards for the Integrated Navigation Systems (INS) (resolution MSC .252 (83) relating to the harmonisation of bridge design and display of information
Three papers submitted under this agenda item contained proposals for performance standards. The Sub-Committee agreed to send this topic to a correspondence group, with the possible inclusion of developing S-Mode given the interrelation between the INS modules to be developed and the future developments on S-Mode.
Agenda 7 – Updates to the LRIT system
The six papers submitted mostly noted progress. There was some discussion on the annual audit process of IDE (International LRIT Data Exchange) Centres. The majority of the delegations who spoke were of the view that it was very important to continue with the annual audit of the IDE due to the central role of the IDE in the LRIT system. The Communications Working Group did not have time to consider this item.
Agenda Item 8 – Guidelines associated with multi-system shipborne radio-navigation receivers dealing with the harmonised provision of PNT data and integrity information
A paper submitted by Finland and Germany proposed guidelines for the processing and presentation to the user of multiple PNT signals. The paper was sent to a Correspondence Group to further progress the guidelines inter-sessionally.
Agenda Item 9 – Guidelines for the harmonised display of navigation information received via communications equipment
After some consideration, the Sub-Committee invited Norway to coordinate a joint proposal from interested Member States and international organisations to NCSR 4 containing draft Guidelines for the harmonised display of navigation information received via communications equipment.
Agenda Item 10 – Revised Guidelines and criteria for ship reporting systems (resolution MSC.43(64))
After some discussion the Sub-Committee invited interested Member Governments and organisations to submit proposals to NCSR 4 containing draft amendments to the Guidelines and criteria for ship reporting systems (resolution MSC.43(64), as amended) for consideration.
Agenda Item 11 – Analysis of developments in maritime radio-communication systems and technology - Recognition of Iridium mobile satellite system as a GMDSS service provider
Paper 3/11 submitted by IMSO confirms that the Iridium system is not currently ready for approval. Paper 11/1 submitted by the United States proposed a two tier approach to approval which is viewed by some as “approval through the back door”. After an in-depth discussion, the Sub-Committee agreed that Iridium could be incorporated into the GMDSS subject to compliance with outstanding issues.
Agenda Item 12 – Performance Standards for Shipborne GMDSS equipment to accommodate additional providers of GMDSS satellite services
The Communications Working Group were unable to complete consideration of this item and therefore requested that the output deadline be extended for another year.
Agenda 13 - Interconnection of NAVTEX and Inmarsat SafetyNET Receivers and their display on Integrated Navigation Display Systems (TBA)
The Sub-Committee invited the United States and interested member States and/organisations, if required, to submit revised proposals, as appropriate, to NCSR4.
Agenda Item 14 – Completion of the detailed review of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
In the anticipation that the Committee would approve the continuation of the project, the Sub-Committee established a Correspondence Group on the Modernisation of the GMDSS, under the coordination of the United States.
Agenda Item 15 – Updating of the GMDSS master plan and guidelines on MSI (Maritime Safety Information) provisions.
The Sub-Committee established the Drafting Group on MSI guidance documentation under the chairmanship of Mr. P. Doherty (United States). The Drafting Group proposed amendments and requested the preparation of draft MSC circulars on the revised edition of the SafetyNET Manual and NAVTEX Manual for the Committee.
Agenda Item 16 – Responses to matters related to the Radio-communication ITU -R Study Group
After consideration regarding the operational use of new DSC Class M devices, the Sub-Committee referred the matter to the Joint IMO/ITU Experts Group and the ICAO/IMO Joint Working Group, for detailed consideration at their next meeting and to provide advice to NCSR 4, as appropriate.
Agenda Item 17 – Response to matters related to ITU World Radio-communication Conference
Covered matters of a technical nature. No substantive comment.
Agenda Item 18 – Measures to protect the safety of persons rescued at sea
Paper 3/18 submitted by ICS provided details of the Industry guidance on large-scale rescue operations at sea produced by ICS The Sub-Committee encouraged Member States and observer organisations to promote the availability of the industry Guidance as widely as possible, and agreed that no further action had to be taken by the Sub-Committee with regard to the industry Guidance. The Sub-Committee noted the information provided and views expressed by several delegations that:
unsafe mixed migration by sea remained a matter which should stay high on the Organization's agenda;
the rescue of migrants at sea, in particular, in the Mediterranean was still a major problem and many organisations, including IMRF and FRONTEX were assisting the local rescue services;
ships and crew, called to assist in these rescue operations, should be protected from danger and offered support; and
there was a need for greater effort by Coastal States of departure to better manage and ultimately prevent the departure of unsafe craft in undertaking such dangerous voyages from their respective shores.
Agenda Item 19 – Analysis of information on developments in Inmarsat and Cospas-Sarsat
Reports were submitted for Inmarsat and Cospas-Sarsat. It was noted that the Inmarsat F77 service would be closed by 1 December 2020.Agenda Item 20 – Revised Performance Standards for EPIRBS operating on 406 MHz (resolution A.810(19)) to include Cospas-Sarsat MEOSAR and second generation beacons.
Noting the concerns of some delegations, the Sub-Committee invited the United States to coordinate a joint proposal from interested Member States and international organisations to NCSR 4.
Agenda Item 21 to 24 – Various SAR Subjects
The SAR Working Group covered a range of subjects including: Recent developments in SAR; IMRF Mass Rescue Operation Project; Support operations prior to rescue; Good practices in the dissemination of lessons learned; Antarctic SAR Workshop; Aeronautical publications which should be held by a maritime or joint RCC; Survivor locating device considerations; Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System; Vessel TRAIGE; Telemedical Maritime Advice Services (TMAS) questionnaire; and Amendments to the IAMSAR Manual. See document NCSR 3-WP.6, available from the IMO Documents website, for full information.
Agenda 25 - Interpretation of COLREG 1972 Rule 18 – Protection Of Cable Ships
The Marshall Islands had submitted a proposal to protect Cable Ships engaged in the laying or repair of submarine cables and cable repair buoys. In particular the introduction of a specific standoff distances. Apart form other matters, difficulty in identifying cable ships at night or on the fringes of restricted visibility is ambiguous. It was noted that fishing vessels give the most cause for concern. The Working Group could not agree the proposal and instead decided to recommend to the Committee te development of a circular to address the following:
need to protect cable ships engaged in the laying or repair of submarine cables and cable repair buoys;
cooperation and coordination between cable laying vessels and relevant maritime authorities;
dissemination and broadcast of maritime safety information on cable laying operations;
engagement with stakeholders, in particular fisheries; and
need to raise awareness of mariners navigating in the vicinity of cable ships engaged in the laying or repair of submarine cables and cable repair buoys, taking into account the prevailing circumstances and conditions, provide as wide a clearance as practicable.
The remainder of the meeting dealt with housekeeping matters. The full report may be found on the IMO Documents Website.