Ref. T2/8.03 MSC/Circ.1017 11 June 2001
1 The Maritime Safety Committee at its sixty-fourth session (5 to 9 December 1994), in response to a request for assistance from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on enhancing the recruitment of merchant ships into the WMO Voluntary Observing Ships' (VOS) scheme had approved and circulated MSC/Circ.674 on this matter.
2 The Maritime Safety Committee, at its seventy-fourth session (30 May to 8 June 2001), in response
to a proposal from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for the re-issue of an MSC Circular relating to the WMO Voluntary Observing Ships' (VOS) scheme, noted the brochure attached hereto. It further noted that the recent Report of the Re-opened Formal Investigation into the Loss of the MV Derbyshire had underlined the potential value of VOS observations to maritime safety, and also recommended, inter alia, that consideration be given to updating and reissuing this MSC Circular and brochure on the VOS.
3 In view of this recommendation, and of the continuing critical importance of VOS meteorological reports to the provision of meteorological services to the mariner, including those under the GMDSS, it is essential that the total number of VOS be at least maintained, and if possible expanded. Participation in the WMO VOS scheme is entirely voluntary and there are no charges incurred for the ship, shipowner or ship operator for participating in the WMO VOS scheme, or for the equipment needed for transmission of VOS weather reports.
4 Member Governments are invited to bring the attached revised brochure to the attention of shipowners, ship operators, ship managers, masters and crews and to encourage them to support WMO and their national Meteorological Services by offering their ships as VOSs. Ships which pass through or operate in the data-sparse areas, shown by the lack of dots in the chartlet of ship data coverage attached to the brochure, are particularly urged to volunteer as VOSs.
5 This circular revokes MSC/Circ.674.