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Polar Code and IMO audits clear MSC 93

Polar Code and IMO audits clear MSC 93
The 93rd Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) session gave approval in principle to the draft Polar Code and adopted amendments to key legislation to provide the framework for mandatory IMO audits.

The meeting approved for consideration a new chapter for SOLAS relating to operating in polar waters, with adoption expected at MSC 94 in November. Some specifics of the Polar Code were referred to sub-committee, but the polar regulations look on course to meet IMO chairman Koji Sekimizu's target of adoption this year.

On the IMO audit front, amendments were adopted to SOLAS, the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and the Seafarers' Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Code as well as Load Lines Protocol. These amendments pave the way for the mandatory IMO audit scheme, which will assess the performance of member states as flags and port and coastal states, with guidance offered to help members adhere to IMO regulations.

MSC 93 also approved an amendment to SOLAS on weight verification for containers, with a view to adoption in November.

The committee also continued its work in passenger ship safety in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident, with work on damage stability and passenger ship survivability as well as lifeboat safety and maintenance.