IMO Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue Sub-Committee (NCSR 10)

IMO Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue Sub-Committee (NCSR 10)

The 10th session of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications, Search and Rescue (NCSR 10) was held from 10 to 19 May 2023.


NCSR 10 approved guidelines on the communication of emergency and safety information on board ships to reflect the new radio installation requirements in SOLAS Chapter IV that enters into force on 1 January 2024.



  • Approved revised guidelines on the radio installation requirements in SOLAS Chapter IV (COMSAR/Circ.32/Rev.2) with an effective implementation date of 1 January 2024
  • Finalized draft amendments (MSC.530(106)) to the ECDIS performance standards to facilitate the digital exchange of route plans. The draft amendments will be submitted to MSC 108 in May 2024 for approval.

Items discussed.

  • The GMDSS is the worldwide system for communication of emergency and safety information. Amendments to SOLAS, its Protocol of 1988 and related IMO instruments to modernize the requirements to the GMDSS were adopted by MSC 105 (April 2022) and will enter into force on 1 January 2024.  The modernization implies generic requirements, independent of specific service providers, as well as removal of carriage requirements for obsolete systems and a re-organization of the SOLAS requirements to communication equipment. The definitions of the sea areas A1 to A4 have been amended to reflect that the geographical area of coverage may vary between various satellite service providers.


  • Permitting continued installation of radio installations complying with existing standards: The Sub-Committee considered matters concerning delays affecting the availability of certain GMDSS equipment and prepared a draft of MSC circular for approval by MSC 107.


  • Pilot transfer arrangements: the Sub-Committee considered proposals to revise SOLAS regulation V/23 and associated instruments to improve the safety of pilot transfer arrangements and agreed to develop mandatory performance standards.


  • Integrity of AIS: The Sub-committee agreed to further explore ways to enhance information security of AIS to prevent manipulation of AIS transmissions and tampering with AIS transponders, including potential amendments to identified IMO instruments.


  • Liaison with ITU on radiocommunication matters to be discusses within the WRC-23.


  • Revision of resolution A.1001(25) on criteria for the provision of mobile satellite communication services in the GMDSS, to be discussed in a correspondence group.


  • NAVDAT: the Sub-Committee progressed the development of draft performance standards (amendments to MSC.509(105) and new NAVDAT Manual) for the reception of maritime safety information and search and rescue related information by MF and HP digital navigation date system (NAVDAT).


  • Progress on VHF Data Exchange System (VDES): A correspondence group was established to undertake a technical, regulatory and operational analysis of VDES, amendments to SOLAS chapters IV and V and performance standards to introduce VHF data exchange system (VDES)


  • Satellite navigation system receiver equipment: The requirements of SOLAS Chapter V, that all ships shall carry a receiver for a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) or a terrestrial radio navigation system, are based on the recognition of systems provided and operated by governments or organizations. The work will continue in a Correspondence Group until NCSR 11 in June 2024 to develop of performance standards for satellite navigation system receiver equipment.


  • Maritime services in the context of e-navigation: The IMO is working on developing a globally harmonized list of maritime services offered in harbours and geographical areas, displayed electronically in a standardized manner. The intention is to facilitate worldwide harmonized communication and the exchange of information between shore and ships.

As NCSR 10 is a Sub-Committee, all decisions concerning rules, regulations and dates are subject to further consideration and approval by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).


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