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Latest IMO report from the Ship Design and Construction (SDC) now available for British Marine Members

Published on: 08 February 2024

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A new IMO report from the Ship Design and Construction Committees (SDC) 10th session is now available to download for British Marine members.


Held between the 22nd to 26th January 2024, the principle matters discussed concerning the Superyacht industry were:


Guidance on safety measures for cargo ships and pleasure yachts engaged in trade less than 500 GT and operating in polar waters

The last SDC session looked at outstanding issues with the ongoing work item “Safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters” and the development of non-mandatory guidelines for commercial yachts and cargo ships between 300 GT and 500 GT. Due to the lack of submissions at the previous session, this item was placed on the post-biennial agenda to allow additional time for interested parties to submit information. 


Only one further paper has been submitted by the WWF, presenting data on sub 500GT vessel operations in the polar waters and requesting the committee develop the guidelines further.


The committee however discussed the fact that there was no information on the specific areas that had been analysed nor was there any analysis on the number of calls to search and rescue services, the Sub-Committee requested WWF and other interested parties to submit a proposal to MSC to move this item from the post-biennial agenda to the provisional SDC agenda.


FRPs in ships’ structures

Discussions around the use of FRP with the known advantages (lightweight, strength, non-corrosive etc) but also the serious flaws for ship design (combustibility, toxicity and EoL issues) continued with the following papers on this agenda item submitted (all available in the full downloadable report):

  • SDC 10/12 “Important considerations regarding the use of fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) within ship structures” Germany and CESA
  • SDC 10/12/1 “Proposals for terms of references intersessional work on FRP” CESA
  • SDC 10/12/2 “Comments on document SDC 10/12” IACS

The Sub-Committee agreed to the establishment of an intersessional correspondence group with the following terms of reference:

  1. Review the Interim guidelines for use of fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP).
  2. Invite for and consider input concerning experience gained in the use of the Interim guidelines (Interim guidelines for use of Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) elements within ship structures: Fire safety issues (MSC.1/Circ.1574, paragraph 4)).
  3. Address concerns raised during SDC 9 regarding recycling and fire safety (SDC 9/16, paragraph 15.10).
  4. Consider and advise whether other IMO instruments (e.g. SOLAS, FTP Code) should be amended in order to enable and support the use of FRP.
  5. Convene virtual meetings using a suitable platform in order to consider any of the terms of reference, as necessary.
  6. Submit a written report to SDC 11.

Review of the 2014 Guidelines for the Reduction of Underwater Noise (URN) from commercial shipping

MEPC 80 (July 2023) approved MEPC.1/Circ.906 “Revised Guidelines for the Reduction of Underwater Radiated Noise from shipping to address adverse impacts on marine life” (see SDC 9 report for text of the guidelines). During this session, the guidelines were further amended to include an updated draft URN Management Planning Reference Chart with the aim of assisting industry in the application of the guidelines. The chart can be found at annex 1 of the report of the URN working group in attached document SDC 10/WP.3.


Annex 2 of the report contains the draft action plan which aims to:

  • Establish an experience-building phase (EBP) for the revised guidelines
  • Enhance public awareness, education and seafarer training
  • Standardise the URN management planning process
  • Develop URN targets
  • Further develop policy for URN reduction
  • Create IMO processes/technical groups to share information and take into consideration other IMO regulatory goals
  • Develop tools to collect data and share information
  • Encourage research on URN and GHG/URN and biofouling
  • Encourage research on impacts of URN on species and habitats

The revised guidelines are expected to be approved at MEPC 82 in September 2024 and the outcomes of the EBP will be assessed at MEPC 86 in 2025.


The full report can be downloaded from the British Marine website here.