The 7th session of the IMO Subcommittee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue Operations (NCSR) was held in London from January 15-24, 2020. At the session, NCRS agreed to recognize the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) for the provision of location, navigation and time services, as well as the final draft SOLAS amendments for the modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
Highlights of the NCSR 7 meeting:
Recognition of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) for the provision of location, navigation and synchronization services,
preparation of draft performance standards for shipborne receiving equipment for a quasi-Zenith satellite system (QZSS),
agreed to develop a common quality standard for satellite radio navigation systems and the final draft amendments to SOLAS Ch. III and IV for the modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)
Requirements SOLAS Ch. V that all ships must have a receiver for the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) or terrestrial radio navigation system are based on recognition of systems provided and operated by governments or organizations. The operators of GNSS systems are, for example, GPS (USA), Galileo (EU), GLONASS (Russia), BeiDou (China).
Quality standards for IRNSS receiving equipment were adopted by the MSC 99 in 2018.
NCSR 7 prepared a draft Maritime Safety Circular (SN) to recognize the IRNSS as a component of the World Radio Navigation System (WWRNS), suitable for navigation in “ocean waters,” to be transmitted to MSC 102 (May 2020). for confirmation.
Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS)
Japan is creating the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), an autonomous regional satellite navigation system, designed to provide location, navigation and synchronization services in the Asia and Oceania region with the goal of further recognizing QZSS as a component of WWRNS.
NCSR 7 prepared a draft MSC resolution on quality standards for QZSS receiving equipment, which will be submitted to MSC for approval.
General Performance Standards for GNSS
NCSR 7 agreed to develop common performance standards for satellite radio navigation systems (global or regional). Work to integrate multiple performance standards for receiving equipment into a single document will be carried out by the correspondence group until NCSR 8 (February 2021).
Marine services in the context of electronic navigation
The goal of the IMO e-navigation initiative is to enhance maritime safety through the coordination of numerous sophisticated electronic navigation tools.
As part of this work, IMO is working to develop a globally harmonized list of maritime services offered in ports and geographical areas that are displayed electronically in a standardized form. Examples of such maritime services are search and rescue services, supplier services, experimental and meteorological services.
NCSR 7 reviewed descriptions of maritime services to facilitate worldwide harmonized communications and information exchange between shore and ships, and agreed to continue work on the harmonization team until NCSR 8 (February 2021).
Electronic Navigation Strategy Implementation Plan
NCSR 7 decided to discuss a revised implementation plan for the electronic navigation strategy (MSC.1 / Circ.1595) to reflect recent events and future challenges. Work will be undertaken by the correspondence group for consideration at a future session of the NCSR Subcommittee.
Safety measures for ships without SOLAS in polar waters
Incidents of fishing vessels and yachts in polar waters pose a threat to human life, the polar environment and search and rescue operations. IMO initiated Phase 2 of the Polar Code to consider safety measures for ships without SOLAS operating in polar waters.
NCSR 7 reviewed the feasibility and implications of applying mandatory navigation and voyage planning requirements to non-SOLAS vessels operating in polar waters and agreed to continue working in the correspondence group until NSCR 8 (February 2021).
The Global Maritime Distress and Safety Communications System (GMDSS), adopted in 1988, has been revised and modernized to adapt to modern communications systems and to eliminate transportation requirements for legacy systems.
NCSR 7 completed draft amendments to SOLAS Ch. III and IV on radio communications for the modernization of the GMDSS.
NCSR 7 also identified 40 IMO resolutions and circulars that need to be amended and / or drafted in connection with the modernization of the GMDSS.
Work on relevant and consequential amendments to other existing documents will be continued in the correspondence group with the aim of completing all the necessary amendments to NCSR 8 for approval of MSC 104 in 2021 and for adoption of MSC 105 in 2022.
Development of satellite services GMDSS
As part of the GMDSS modernization, the SOLAS amendments to accommodate additional mobile satellite providers entered into force on January 1, 2020.
NCSR 7 tentatively evaluated the BeiDou Chinese Messaging System (BDMSS) for use in the GMDSS and invited the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) to conduct a technical and operational assessment of the BDMSS and provide a technical and operational assessment report for consideration by the upcoming session of the NCSR subcommittee.
NCSR 7 agreed that the expired primary batteries for VHF radiotelephone communication devices designed for rescue vehicles can be used only to verify the operation of two-way radiotelephone communication devices. Expired batteries must be color or marked so that they cannot be confused with batteries intended for use in the event of a disaster.
NCSR 7 discussed the effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI) on lighting systems on light emitting diodes (LEDs) and their possible effects or noise on GMDSS equipment such as VHF, midrange, high frequency radio stations or the failure of GPS receivers on board ships. NCSR 7 concluded that interested parties should submit relevant contributions to the IMO / ITU Joint Expert Group for further consideration.
NCSR 7 agreed on the need to make appropriate changes to the performance standards for VDR and S-VDR due to the revised performance standards for EPIRB adopted by MSC 101 (resolution MSC.471). The Subcommittee, however, was unable to agree on the application of the amendments, and this issue was referred to the IMO / ITU Joint Expert Group for further consideration.