Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Developing Navigation Standards

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Mr. Edward J. LaRue, Jr., chief, Navigation Standards Division
U.S. Coast Guard Marine Transportation Systems Management Directorate.

The International Maritime Organization
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, based in the United Kingdom. IMO’s main task has been to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping. Its responsibility today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, maritime security, and shipping efficiency. The Maritime Safety Committee is the highest technical body of the organization.

The NAV Subcommittee
Under the instructions of the Maritime Safety Committee and with input from the Marine Environmental Protection Committee, the Subcommittee on Safety of Navigation (NAV) considers matters related to obligations of governments and operational measures related to safety of navigation.

The subcommittee is charged to develop any necessary amendments to relevant conventions and other instruments, as well as to prepare new instruments, guidelines, and recommendations for consideration by the committees.

Major Developments
At a typical session, the NAV will consider more than a dozen ship routing or reporting proposals. Many of them are quite complex and require careful examination to ensure they meet the criteria of the general provisions on ships’ routing. Over the past three NAV sessions the subcommittee has taken action on a number of proposals.

Of particular interest to the U.S.: amendments to the existing traffic separation scheme in the approach to Boston, Mass., that moved ship traffic away from the preferred feeding grounds of the Northern Right Whale. Additionally, areas to be avoided and mandatory “no anchoring” areas were approved for two offshore liquefied natural gas facilities off the northeast U.S. coast to caution mariners of their presence and provide a measure of protection for the facilities.

Today, NAV continues to contribute in large measure to IMO’s mission—safe, secure, and efficient shipping on clean oceans.

Full article is available at