The foundations for the future development of a regulatory framework for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) will be laid at the 103rd session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), currently under way.
The committee will consider the outcome of a regulatory scoping exercise on MASS carried out over the last couple of years and identify priorities for further work. In addition to discussing the most appropriate ways of addressing MASS operations from the regulatory perspective, meeting attendees will also consider submissions relating to MASS trials.
MSC 103 will also explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on shipping and seafarers. It is expected to discuss a number of submissions, including a proposal for adoption of a resolution on prioritising seafarers for Covid-19 vaccination.
Another important item on the agenda is maritime security, including cyber security, piracy and armed robbery. The committee is expected to discuss in particular the ongoing piracy problems in the Gulf of Guinea.
Fuel safety is also high on the agenda, with a working group likely to be established to examine issues including fuel flashpoint, blended fuels and fuel sampling and testing.
The problem of containers lost at sea will also come under the spotlight.