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Polar Code review, SOLAS amendments and member audits at MSC 93

Polar Code review, SOLAS amendments and member audits at MSC 93
The International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) will meet in London for the 93rd time from 14 to 23 May to discuss key global legislation from keeping member states in check to responsible Arctic shipping.

During the course of the meeting the adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is expected. The measures are part of an ongoing focus on passenger ship safety that the IMO assumed in the wake of the sinking of the Costa Concordia in 2012, an incident that claimed 32 lives.

The amendments will largely put into law a number of practices related to lifeboat maintenance and mustering that many cruise lines voluntarily adopted as the result of a review of their own procedures led by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in the aftermath of the Concordia incident.

The meeting will also look at the draft mandatory international code for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code) and the corresponding new chapter for SOLAS relating to polar waters. IMO secretary general Koji Sekimizu stated in January that he aims to have the Polar Code adopted this year.

The MSC will also adopt amendments to a number of treaties, enabling mandatory auditing of nations party to those treaties. Under the audit scheme, the performance of member states as flags and as port and coastal states will be assessed, with post-audit guidance and support offered to ensure states perform in line with IMO regulations.