IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) agree rule that passenger safety drills be held prior to, or immediately after departure.
In the wake of the Costa Concordia incident the Committee approved draft amendments to chapter III (Life-saving appliances and arrangements) of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to require musters of newly embarked passengers prior to or immediately upon departure, instead of “within 24 hours”, as stated in the current regulations, for a ship engaged on a voyage where passengers are scheduled to be on board for more than 24 hours. The draft amendments will now be circulated for consideration, with a view to adoption, at the next session, MSC 92, in June 2013. They could enter into force at the end of 2014.
The Committee also agreed a revised circular on recommended operational measures, prior to the adoption of any mandatory measures following the analysis of the official marine accident investigation report into the loss of the Costa Concordia.
The revised recommended measures (which will update MSC.1/Circ.1446, agreed at the last session) include: additional guidance on common elements to be included in passenger muster and emergency instructions; recommending that the nationality of each person on board is recorded; guidance on lifeboat loading for training purposes; and that companies owning and/or operating passenger ships and the ship’s Master should take steps to ensure that changes to the voyage plan are consistent with Company policies.
The recommended voluntary measures agreed at the last session remain in place.
The MSC Committee also agreed to include “Passage Ship Training” on the provisional agenda of the Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW 45).
The Government of Italy provided the MSC with the preliminary findings of its on-going investigations into the Costa Concordia. The final casualty investigation report is expected to follow later. IMO is represented, as an observer, on the body overseeing the casualty investigation.