The IMO Ship Design and Construction Sub-Committee (SDC) is where many technical and operational requirements related to ship design and construction (including tonnage, load line and stability) are discussed. SDC reports to the Maritime Safety Committee.

SDC 10 met in London from 22 - 26 January 2024.

The following are key outcomes from SDC 10:

Draft guidelines for emergency towing arrangements (ETA) for ships other than tankers

The guidelines are supporting new SOLAS amendments to regulation II-1/3-4 which will come into force on 1 January 2028. Technical discussions are ongoing particularly to ensure flexibility of ETA designs and adequate strength requirements. 

Reduction of underwater noise from commercial shipping to address adverse impacts on marine life and identification of next steps

new Underwater Radiated Noise (URN) planning reference chart was developed with the aim to aid the implementation of MEPC.1/Circ.906 - Revised Guidelines for the Reduction of Underwater Noise from Commercial Shipping to Address Adverse Impacts on Marine Life. In particular, this tool will help to create a URN management plan and will be incorporated in a future revision of the Revised guidelines. 

A draft action plan was finalised which outlines the next high-level steps IMO will focus on when developing mandatory URN requirements.

Finalised Draft guidelines on alternative design and arrangements for SOLAS chapter II-1 - Safety objectives and functional requirements

The work has been completed. There are potential benefits such as additional options, cost effective designs for unique applications when designing machinery and electrical installations, and when considering requirements for periodically unattended machinery spaces.

Draft guidelines for use of fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) within ship structures

The revision of MSC.1/Circ.1574 - Interim guidelines for use of Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) is ongoing. The next developments will focus on recyclability, fire safety and toxicity.  

Discussion on the possibility of allowing FRP structures for design and construction also took placed, however, this will need to be discussed and agreed at MSC 109 in December 2024 first.

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