94th session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC)

IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu has opened the 94th session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) on Monday, which is being chaired by Mr Christian Breinholt of Denmark.

The MSC is expected to consider and adopt the Polar Code and related amendments to SOLAS to make it mandatory; approve SOLAS amendments to make the IGF Code mandatory; continue passenger ship safety work and consider other items submitted by the sub-committees.

The Polar Code contains additional design, construction, equipment, operational, training, and search and rescue requirements for ships operating in the harsh environment of Arctic and Antarctic waters, with the aim of preventing accidents and pollution, and protecting ships, seafarers and passengers.

Because it contains both safety and environment related provisions, the Polar Code will be mandatory under both SOLAS and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

Last month (October 2014), IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC​) approved the necessary draft amendments to make the environmental provisions in the the Polar Code mandatory under MARPOL.

The MEPC is expected to adopt the Code and associated MARPOL amendments at its next session in May 2015, with an entry-into-force date to be aligned with the SOLAS amendments, likely to be 1 January 2017.