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.
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”.
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