Summary of the 7th session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 7)

By Hendrike Kühl, IUMI Policy Director

The 7th session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 7) met from 3-7 February 2020 at the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) headquarters under the chairmanship of Mr Kevin Hunter from the UK. Key issues discussed at the meeting included:

Second generation intact stability criteria

For a ship to be considered seaworthy and safe it must be designed to remain stable and afloat in all conditions, whether intact or damaged. Mandatory criteria and recommended provisions regarding intact stability are set out in IMO's 2008 Intact Stability (IS) Code.

Advanced computer technology is enabling so-called "second generation" intact stability criteria to be developed, for a comprehensive safety assessment of ship dynamics in waves.

The Sub-Committee approved a comprehensive set of interim guidelines on second generation intact stability criteria which include guidelines on vulnerability criteria, direct stability failure assessment and operational measures. The aim is to ensure a uniform international level of safety with respect to dynamic stability failure modes in waves.

Work on developing the second generation intact stability criteria has been ongoing for two decades. The finalized set of interim guidelines will now be considered by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 102) with a view to approval, so that they can be disseminated and tested in practice.


Safety recommendations for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters

The Sub-Committee developed two sets of safety measures for ships operating in polar waters and not falling under the SOLAS Convention: One for fishing vessels of 24m in length and over, and another one for pleasure yachts above 300 gross tonnes not engaged in trade.

There is currently no internationally binding instrument in force regulating the safety of these so-called non-SOLAS vessels.  The guidelines were developed to increase the safety of fishing vessels and pleasure yachts operating in polar waters and persons on board; and to mitigate the impact on people and the environment in the vulnerable waters around the poles.

For fishing vessels, the guidelines will add specific safety guidance closely aligned with the 2012 Cape Town Agreement, the internationally binding instrument aimed at facilitating better control of fishing vessel safety by flag, port and coastal states. IMO is continuously urging its Member States to ratify the Agreement, which has not yet met its entry into force conditions.

A complete report of the meeting is available HERE.