The Marine Environment Protection Committee

We saw on the last post that along with the Maritime Safety Committee, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC from now on) are the most important OMI’s Committees since they are in charge of the most important tasks in the Organization.

If the MSC was in charge of the Safety at sea, this Committee is in charge of the protection of the seas, avoiding and controlling pollution from ships.

Who forms it?

As happens in the MSC, this Committee is open to all members of the IMO.

In my opinion the fact that all members are part of the Committee is a good thing even though coming to terms about something can be really difficult sometimes.

As we will see, Assembly and Council are form by elected members and they change after a few years. But implement this structure in all committees could be messy with so many elections being carried out.

What are they in charge of?

Although MARPOL 73/78 was approved by the Assembly, circulars and resolutions about this Code and about pollution prevention at sea belongs to the MEPC.

An example of those resolutions we can mention the Resolution MEPC.282(70) about the SEEMP

Sub-Committees

The MSC and the MEPC don’t work alone. They count with the assistance of a number of sub-committees (SC from now on) which is also open to all member states.

  • SC on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW).
  • SC on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III).

The focus on the certification, survey, casualties and Port State Control. They also help to Member States with their difficulties in the implementation and enforcement of IMO.

  • SC on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR).
  • SC on Pollution Prevention Response (PPR).
  • SC on Ship Design and Construction (SDC).
  • SC on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE).
  • SC on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC).

The Maritime Safety Committee

As we saw on the last post, the IMO have several committees. Five of them are considered the main ones, while the others are called sub-committees.

The Maritime Safety Committee is, along with the Maritime Environment Protection Committee, the most important committee of the IMO due to the task they are in charge of.

Since the IMO was created, the main aim of it was the maritime safety, and this function was assigned to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC from now on).

Who forms it?

All members of the IMO can be members of the MSC. So on each session, all members of the Organization can participate for implement changes on the codes or approving new ones.

What are they in charge of?

If you have ever studied something related with safety at sea or read an International Code published by the IMO, for sure you would have find a statement similar to this one: “Amended by resolution MSC.XXX(YY)”. Well, this “MSC” means that this was approved by the Committee we are speaking about here.

Even though this could sound logical, it is needed to point that this is the Committee that regulates the SOLAS Convention.

They are responsible for many resolutions as the resolution MSC. 353(92) regarding the ISM Code.

We will see all of them (and so other more) deeply here in further posts.

Please don’t think that the MSC only does resolutions, they also publish circulars. A circular is a document including information regarding safety. This won’t be exactly “mandatory” but, as we will see when we will analyze the ISM Code, would be added by regulations in some important documents maritime safety related (like the Safety Management Manual). An example of those circular can be the MSC. 1/ Circ.1578 “Guidelines on Safety During Abandon Ship Drills Using Lifeboats”.

Summarizing

To sum up, we can see that the MSC is responsible for all the amendments and many recommendations regarding safety at sea. That’s why the MSC is considered one of the most important committees in the IMO, and it is probably one of the busiest bodies inside the Organization