The IMRF was recently a part of two working group sessions at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as part of the IMRF’s consultative status with shipping’s leading governing body. 

Both sessions, which took place in May at the IMO headquarters in London, were attended by Roly McKie, the IMRF’s IMO Representative, and featured a number of critical discussions on issues that are impacting the maritime SAR sector.

The first working group, which took place on 8-10 May, discussedt the requirements for autonomous and remotely operated ships. The SAR sub group of this meeting had previously discussed Chapter 9 of the draft MASS Code, which covers SAR. The draft code sets general principles and Functional Requirements (FRs) and Expected Performance (EP) for MASS which, largely, meet the need for such vessels to be able to undertake SAR tasks when asked to assist. However, following the meeting, Roly noted that there is still work to be done on the detail implied by the FRs.

The second session, which took place on 15-17 May, was the latest gathering of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, which monitors the discussions on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS) and SAR requirements, within one of its Working Groups. Unfortunately, the MASS Code is so extensive and other matters were so demanding of available meeting time that Chapter 9 SAR were not covered. As a result, the issues the IMRF wished to raise during the meeting were not debated. However, the issues have been deferred to an Intersessional Working Group that will meet in September.

The IMRF continues to ensure its presence is felt and voice heard at key industry meetings at the IMO on behalf of its members. However, it is vital to hear from members about issues they wish to discuss or if they would like to know more about what takes place at the IMO, as well as for speakers at the IMRF’s Global Maritime SAR Forum. In any case, please reach out to Roly at [email protected] to find out more.