The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

IMO establishes Correspondence Group to revise diving code

2nd March 2020

Group photo in front of IMCA's display. To the left of the diving mannequin are IMCA team members. To the right of the mannequin are IMO member state representatives from the Marshall Islands and the Bahamas

At its 7th session, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) has endorsed the establishment of an intersessional Correspondence Group to progress the revision and update of the IMO Code of Safety for Diving Systems (resolution A.831 (19) and the Guidelines and Specifications for Hyperbaric Evacuation Systems (resolution A.692 (17)).


The Correspondence Group is tasked to: 1) Consider key areas to be addressed for revising the Code of Safety for Diving Systems (resolution A.831(19)), based on document SSE 7/14, in particular, paragraph 6 of the document; 2) Develop a draft new Code in the Goal Based Standard (GBS format), by incorporating the relevant parts of the Guidelines and Specifications for Hyperbaric Evacuation Systems (resolution A.692(17)); and 3) Submit a report to SSE 8 in March 2021. [The actual deadline for submission of the first draft of the revised IMO Diving Code will be by the end of November 2020].


The decision to proceed with the update was reached following a review by the SSE Sub-Committee of two proposals prepared and submitted by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) and its co-sponsors, the Bahamas and the Marshall Islands.


To support the papers and increase awareness amongst member states of the need to update the IMO Diving Instruments, three diving industry experts delivered a lunchtime presentation to a busy plenary session. In addition, a display, comprising a diving mannequin, video footage and graphic panels, was exhibited throughout the meeting.


Margaret Fitzgerald, IMCA’s head of Marine Policy & Regulatory Affairs, said: “We are delighted to have had the support of several IMO member states in taking forward our proposals at SSE 7, in particular, the Bahamas and the Marshall Islands. During the plenary session, all member states who spoke, fully recognised that the work on the revision of IMO’s Diving Instruments was necessary and expressed overwhelming support for the establishment of a Correspondence Group to work intersessionally on preparing a new draft text for consideration at the 8th session of the SSE Sub-Committee in Q1 2021.


“We look forward to continuing our close co-operation with all those IMO member states and industry groups who elect to participate in this group and will work diligently to ensure that the group delivers a comprehensive new text to IMO.”


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