Students from the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) in Malta are being introduced to key policy planning issues as part of IMO's on-going work to support the future leaders of the maritime world (15-16 February).
The event focused on the National Maritime Transport Policy (NMTP) formulation, which is being promoted by IMO as a good governance practice to guide planning, decision making and legislation in the maritime sector, and a key driver for a country's sustainable development. IMO has been providing training to its interested Member States on developing, adopting and updating NMTPs.
The end of the seminar will see students participate in a practical group exercise, in which they themselves will practise formulating the key aspects of a maritime transport policy. The students were introduced to the topic by IMO's Jonathan Pace and World Maritime University (WMU) Associate Professor George Theocharidis.
The seminar is being held for a second consecutive year and is the result of continuing, fruitful collaboration between IMO and its two global maritime training institutions – WMU and IMLI
When it comes to ocean protection and delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, IMO and UN Environment share a great deal of common ground. Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment, paid a visit to IMO today to talk with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim about collaboration between the two Organizations, particularly how to address SDG 14 - life below water. The issue of microplastic and how to curb its presence in the ocean was discussed as a high priority, and a potential partnership with the World Maritime University, particularly its new Ocean Institute, was explored. There are clearly many areas where the two agencies can find synergies and this visit was a positive step in that direction.
Sixty-eight countries have now signed up to IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, with Qatar being the latest to accede to the treaty helping to protect the marine environment. The signatories now represent more than 75% of the world's merchant fleet tonnage. Under the treaty, ships are required to manage their ballast water, which can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants and organisms, which are then carried across the globe.
H.E. Mr. Yousef Ali Al-Khater, Ambassador of Qatar to the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (8 February) to deposit the instrument of accession.
Find out more about the Ballast Water Management Convention, including FAQs, videos, infographics and more, here.
The 0.50% limit on sulphur in fuel oil on board ships (outside designated emission control areas) will come into effect on 1 January 2020. Ensuring consistent implementation of the 0.50% requirement is a key item on the agenda of IMO’s Sub-committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) which meets this week (5-9 February) at IMO headquarters, London. The meeting will also continue to look at how to measure black carbon emissions from shipping.
Other matters on the agenda include the development of further guidance to support the implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention, including ballast water sampling and analysis. Revised guidelines for the use of dispersants for combating oil pollution at sea, which take into account experience from the Deepwater Horizon incident, are expected to be finalised.
The ongoing revision of the product lists and index in the international code for carriage of chemicals in bulk will continue, as well as consideration of requirements to address the discharge of high-viscosity solidifying and persistent floating products (such as certain vegetable oils). The meeting will also consider including new controls on the biocide cybutryne in the convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention).
The meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr Sveinung Oftedal (Norway).
Click for photos.
Experts from ballast water testing
facilities from around the world gathered in London (1-2 February) to discuss the
science behind ballast water management. They were meeting as part of the Global TestNet
– a forum of
organizations involved in standardization, transparency and openness of
land-based and/or shipboard testing for the certification of ballast water
Standardized testing helps to
ensure the effectiveness of IMO measures to protect marine ecosystems from
potentially harmful invasive aquatic species transported in ships’ ballast
water. IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention
requires ships to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain
issue on the agenda was biofouling – the build-up of aquatic organisms on ships’
underwater hull and structures – which the
Global TestNet will also be addressing. IMO’s
Antoine Blonce gave a presentation on the subject, introducing IMO’s new GloFouling
project, which is building on the Organization’s work to help protect
marine ecosystems by dealing with potentially invasive species.
Further technical issues discussed
at the 9th Global TestNet meeting included
so-called challenge water validations, representative sampling and ring testing
between test facilities.
The Global TestNet was created in
2013 under the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) of the GloBallast
project. IMO was represented at the meeting, which took
place at IMarEST headquarters, by Theofanis Karayannis, Megan Jensen, Antoine Blonce and
As part of its continuing efforts to help African countries
improve their maritime security capabilities, IMO frequently works with other
partners to help support their initiatives.
The United States, for example, leads two major annual
maritime security exercises in Africa and one of these, Cutlass Express, is
underway now (Feb 2018). Cutlass Express puts special emphasis on encouraging
different agencies and different countries to work together, as envisaged in
existing frameworks such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) – a regional
agreement against maritime crime in eastern Africa, the West Indian Ocean and the Gulf of
IMO helped to establish.
IMO is making a contribution to Cutlass Express with two
training workshops being held at the DCoC information sharing centres in
Mombasa, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (29 Jan – 7 Feb). Both are designed
to enhance inter-agency cooperation in
dealing with maritime security issues at national level. This has been
identified as one of the most pressing needs for the region during a series of
“table top” exercises carried out previously by IMO.
IMO is also participating in a senior leadership seminar in
support of Cutlass Express, highlighting the progress of the DCoC and the
similar Yaounde Code of Conduct in building capacity, capability and
co-operation in Africa to combat maritime crime and thereby help promote the
IMO’s maritime security provisions and the IMO treaties for the suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of navigation can be seen in the wider context of the global fight against terrorism. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED) carries out assessment visits to countries to assess their compliance with various international security instruments and UN Security Council resolutions. IMO has participated in a follow-up UNCTED assessment visit to Greece (31 January to 1 February), alongside the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the international police agencies Interpol and Europol.
The maritime security aspects of the visit (which was a follow-up to a 2010 assessment) focused in particular on compliance with the ISPS Code for ships and port facilities, as well as Greece's experience with inter-agency cooperation on risk assessment, amongst entities which include the coast guard, police and customs, with a view to identifying best practices.
The multi-agency inclusion in the UNCTED assessments of IMO and partner organizations demonstrates a "one UN" response and provides an opportunity to highlight maritime security responsibilities as part of wider national security policies and procedures in a dialogue involving senior levels of government departments and agencies. Henrik Madsen participated on behalf of IMO.
Be ambitious. Make navigation safe, always. This was the message from IMO
Secretary-General Kitack Lim to young, aspirational maritime transport and
technology graduates in Alexandria, Egypt (26 January). Speaking at the Arab
Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), Mr. Lim
praised the graduates’ dedication and challenged them to be ambitious in their
maritime careers and, above all else, to focus on being safe when involved in
ship navigation – no matter what the role. He also emphasized that the
International Maritime Organization would always be a place they could call
their “international home”.
Watch the full parade and ceremony speeches, here.
Effective global electronic data exchange for ships entering and leaving ports depends on standardized and harmonized practices for data exchange. This can include data models which define and format data which might be transferred between automated systems, such as for export, import and transit. Such systems will be key to implementing IMO’s Facilitation Convention requirements on electronic data exchange from April 2019.
IMO participated in the World Customs Organization (WCO) Data Model Project Team meeting (22-26 January) in Brussels, to receive updates on the latest work by the WCO. The WCO Data Model supports the implementation of a “single window” for electronic data exchange, as it allows the reporting of information to all government agencies through the unique way it organizes regulatory information.
IMO, WCO, UN/CEFACT, ISO and other stakeholders also participated in a dedicated focus group on the revision of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business, which provides guidance and standardised forms for electronic exchange of information on cargo, passengers and crew, for ships, carriers, port authorities, customs, terminals, consignees and other parties in the supply chain. The Focus Group refined the contents of the draft revised Compendium, identified new issues to be addressed, and discussed additional coding possibilities. The Focus Group also identified some data elements related to the electronic transmission of data, that should be included in the updated IMO Compendium. An update on progress with the revision will be presented to the next session of IMO’s Facilitation Committee in June 2018.
Under a partnership agreement between IMO and WCO, WCO has responsibility for the technical maintenance of the Compendium, including liaison with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the global focal point for trade facilitation recommendations and electronic business standards (UN/EDIFACT).
IMO’s Julian Abril attended the Data Model Project Team meeting and the Focus Group on the IMO Compendium.
Efforts to prevent piracy, armed robbery against ships and
illicit maritime activity in west and central Africa are being boosted by an
extended IMO mission to Yaoundé, Cameroon (18 January – 2 February). An IMO
consultant is working with the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) to support the Centre’s work to carry
out a regional maritime safety and security strategy under the Yaoundé
Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct was signed by governments in the region,
in 2013, to enhance cooperation on maritime safety and security. The consultant
is identifying the current needs, status and requirements under the Code and is
supporting the ICC’s work to create a regional mechanism for collaboration in
the centre – as well as the urgent need to support the regional organizations
and States involved. Some of the tasks include creating a list of focal points
under the Code of Conduct, developing the centre’s work programme, and creating
an inventory of international laws and conventions on maritime crimes. The work
will continue in March, with a further two weeks of assessments and support.
Find out more about IMO’s maritime security work, here.
Reliable, user-friendly and integrated navigation and communications systems can help with decision making on a ship. That is where e-Navigation comes in. IMO attended the e-Navigation Underway International Conference which takes place every year on board a ship travelling between Copenhagen and Oslo (24-26 January 2018). IMO's Sascha Pristrom gave a presentation on IMO's plan to lead shipping into a new digital era. He updated participants on IMO's e-Navigation Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP) as well as its work with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to develop guidance on definition and harmonization of the format and structure of Maritime Service Portfolios (MSPs). IMO also highlighted the need for a coordinated approach between regulators and the industry.
IMO plays a central and coordinating role in harmonizing and enhancing navigation systems in order to improve safety of navigation and reduce errors. This conference is a key forum for discussions about the many challenges facing e-Navigation around the globe and a way to explore new strategies and technical progress. Some of the other topics covered included e-Navigation services in the Polar regions, e-Navigation and big data and autonomous operations.
IMO is working to prevent accidents and injury when ships are being secured at their berth in a port. A revised SOLAS regulation on safe mooring is expected to be finalised when the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) meets this week (22-26 January). The meeting will also further develop new and revised related guidance to support the safe use of equipment, including mooring lines, pulleys, winches and so on.
Other important items on the agenda include guidelines and regulations for passenger ships in the event of flooding. Ships should be designed so that essential systems remain operational after a casualty. The meeting is expected to finalize draft guidelines on stability computers and shore-based support for specific passenger ships, to support draft SOLAS amendments regarding operational information after a flooding casualty for new and existing ships expected to be adopted this year. Also in development are draft amendments to SOLAS on the availability of passenger ships' electrical power after flooding from side raking damage. On other matters, the Sub-Committee will continue ongoing work, including developing a draft new SOLAS chapter and related Code on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages; and developing second generation intact stability criteria.
The SDC Sub-Committee was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, and is being chaired by Kevin Hunter (United Kingdom). Click for photos.
The IMO treaty ensuring that adequate compensation is
available to persons that suffer damage caused by oil spills, when carried as
fuel in ships’ bunkers, has been ratified by Myanmar. The International
Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (BUNKER)
applies to damage caused on the territory, including the territorial sea, and
in exclusive economic zones of States under the Convention.
Under the Convention, the registered owner of a vessel is
required to maintain compulsory insurance cover, and there is also the
requirement for ‘direct action’ – which allows a claim for compensation for
pollution damage to be brought directly against an insurer.
H.E. Mr. Kyaw Zwar Minn, Ambassador of Myanmar to the United
Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London to
deposit the instrument of accession (19 January). Myanmar’s ratification brings
the number of States to accede to the treaty to 87, representing 92.5% of the
world's merchant fleet tonnage.
“Following confirmation that the oil tanker Sanchi has now sunk, after the collision off the coast of China, our thoughts and hopes remain with the seafarers still missing. Our deepest condolences go to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.
“I would like to commend all those involved in the international search and rescue operations and the efforts to battle the fire and contain pollution from the ship.
“This is an ongoing situation which we are monitoring. Although the vessel has sunk, efforts to contain the pollution continue. IMO stands ready to offer any technical assistance that may be needed.
“In the longer term, a full investigation into this incident is expected and the results and findings will be brought to IMO so that we can do whatever may be necessary to reduce the chances of such an incident happening again.”
IMO is continuing to assist countries with the highest number of stowaway incidents by spreading the knowledge of effective port security measures, and, thereby, helping to facilitate the free flow of international maritime traffic.
At workshops in the ports of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (11-15 December) and Dakar, Senegal (18-22 December) participants from the relevant national authorities are being trained to plan and conduct effective self-assessments and internal/external audits of port facilities, in line with IMO guidance on voluntary self-assessment.
Consultants will also assess the ports' compliance with stowaway provisions in IMO's Facilitation Convention and with recommendations adopted by a regional conference on stowaways held in 2014.
Both workshops follow on from similar events that took place in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Tema, Ghana, last month. They are funded by the Government of Denmark and carried out in conjunction with Côte d'Ivoire's national authority for maritime affairs and ports (DGAMP) and Senegal's national agency for maritime affairs (ANAM).
Find out more about IMO's security work, here, and read about why facilitating the free flow of maritme traffic matters, here.
Central and Latin America celebrated the launch of a new 'women in maritime' network - the Red de Mujeres de Autoridades Marítimas de
Latinoamérica (Red-MAMLa) - in Valparaíso, Chile (13-15 December), which joins the IMO family of regional Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs), giving visibility and recognition to the role women play as key resources for the maritime sector.
Sixty two women from 18 countries* came together to set up a framework for the newly formed network as well as share ideas and knowledge about the industry. This initiative in the region will also contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 5, which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Financial support for the event was provided by Malaysia and hosted by the Maritime Authority of Chile (DIRECTEMAR).
* Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela.
launched its maritime technology cooperation centre as part of an ambitious
IMO-EU project to establish a global network of centres to further global
efforts in addressing climate change.
will act as regional focal points for a wide range of activities including
improving compliance with existing and future international energy-efficiency
regulations; promoting uptake of low-carbon technologies and operations in
maritime transport, and establishing voluntary pilot data-collection and
reporting systems to feed back into the global regulatory process. In doing so,
they will play their part in supporting the United Nations Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs).
Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC-Africa) follows launches of
centres in Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions earlier this year, with
the Latin America MTCC expected to launch early 2018. Together they are forming
a network under the GMN project funded by the European Union (EU) and
run by IMO.
the launch event in Mombasa, Kenya (13 December) IMO Director of the Marine
Environment Division, Stefan Micallef, praised the launch of MTCC-Africa and
the importance of its mission to promote low-carbon shipping. “Global efforts
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping rely heavily on improvements
in energy efficiency and increased uptake of low-carbon technologies. Better
energy efficiency means less fuel is used, and that means lower emissions. This
is also good for the shipowner, because less fuel means less operational
costs”, he said.
The EU was
represented at the launch by Bruno Pozzi, the Deputy Head of the Delegation of
the European Union to Kenya, who also raised the importance of the centre,
saying that "the launch of Africa's Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre
comes at a time when global action against climate change is needed more than
Karigithu, principal secretary of Kenya Maritime and Shipping Affairs, said the
centre would enhance capacity for the African region in promoting ship energy
efficiency technologies and operations. She said this would be key to reduction
of harmful emissions from ships with the aim of mitigating harmful effects of
will be hosted at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. More info on the
European Union’s capacity building work can be found here.
out more about the GMN project and the five centres at gmn.imo.org.
The Pacific region has celebrated the launch of a centre of excellence for low-carbon shipping technology, which joins centres in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America as part of a global network run by IMO and funded by the European Union. Through this network – the Global Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre Network (GMN) – these centres will develop and promote low-carbon maritime transport systems, supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Pacific centre (MTCC-Pacific) was launched in Suva, Fiji (12 December) where it will be hosted by the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
Speaking at the launch, Fiji's Minister for Forests and Acting Minister for Fisheries, the Hon. Osea Naiqamu, highlighted the importance of the Centre both to Fiji and to the wider Pacific community saying, "Fiji is privileged to host the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in the Pacific on behalf of the Pacific. This centre of excellence will provide invaluable support to Pacific Island Countries and Territories towards progressing their respective priorities and commitments towards achieving sustainable transport and reducing greenhouse gas emissions".
IMO was represented at the event by Aubrey Botsford, who said that "efforts to mitigate climate change and promote energy efficiency in the maritime sector, through actions taken by Pacific governments and maritime industry, show the dynamic approach taken by your region".
Following the launch, maritime industry leaders from across the region and international experts will participate in a week-long MTCC-Pacific Regional Conference.
Find out more about the GMN project and the five centres at gmn.imo.org. More info on the European Union's capacity building work can be found here.
Protecting marine ecosystems from
potentially harmful invasive aquatic species transported in ships’ ballast
water is an important part of IMO’s work to protect the marine environment. The treaty supporting
this is the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, which requires ships in
international traffic to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain
standard, according to a ship-specific ballast water management plan.
But for regulation to be
effective, it needs to be clearly understood by all stakeholders involved. To
support this process, IMO’s Theofanis Karayannis has updated ballast water
professionals, shipowners and other stakeholders meeting at the BWMTech
London Conference (12 December) on recent regulatory developments.
Specifically, he outlined the key decisions from the latest session of IMO’s
Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC
71) related to implementing the BWM Convention, which entered
into force in September 2017.
Amendments agreed by MEPC 71 are
expected to be adopted at the next session (MEPC 72) in April 2018 and will set
out an implementation schedule for the so-called D-2 standard. This standard
specifies that ships can only discharge ballast water that meets specific
In addition to a general
presentation – Mr. Karayannis took part in two panel discussions to further explain
the detail of the latest developments and various important regulatory issues
To find out more about
implementing the BWM Convention, including through infographics, videos and
FAQs, click here.
The safety and security of life at sea, the protection of the marine environment and over 90% of the world's trade depends on the professionalism and competence of seafarers. This is where IMO's International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) comes in; the first internationally-agreed Convention to address the issue of minimum standards of competence for seafarers.
In continuing its work to address human element issues, IMO supports Member States in properly implementing the STCW Convention. As part of these efforts, a workshop was held in Aqaba, Jordan (11-13 December) which brought together twenty-five Jordanian officials from different maritime entities. The event aimed to enhance the capacities of the personnel involved in the effective implementation of the STCW Convention requirements in Jordan.
This Workshop was organized by IMO and the Jordan Maritime Commission (JMC) and delivered by two IMO Consultants.
Prevention of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in west and central Africa is on the agenda at a meeting of the G7 Group of Friends of the Gulf of Guinea in Lagos, Nigeria (11-12 December). The meeting is reviewing progress made in implementing the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, which was signed by governments in the region, in 2013, to enhance cooperation to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea and other illicit maritime activity. The meeting also stresses the importance for States in the region to promote and implement a combined effort to improve maritime security within their areas of jurisdiction and responsibility. The meeting is also looking at gaps in capacity-building and assessing needs in equipment.
Additionally, the heads of the Economic Communities of the West African States (ECOWAS) and of the Economic Communities of the Central African States (ECCAS) will be updating participants on the status of the Yaoundé-Process as well as the latest developments of its legal and operational framework, in particular in establishing the Maritime Multi-National Coordination Centers.
The meeting will also provide the opportunity to gather the shipping industry's views on challenges ahead. Assuming the Presidency of the G7 Group of Friends of the Gulf of Guinea (G7++ FoGG), Italy is hosting the meeting in Nigeria. IMO is represented by Gisela Vieira.
ground-breaking Global Industry Alliance (GIA) – a partnership of key maritime
stakeholders pursuing low carbon shipping – has met at IMO Headquarters, London
GIA is made up of leading shipowners and operators, classification societies,
engine and technology builders and suppliers, big data providers, port and oil
companies – tasked with identifying and developing innovative ways to encourage
use of energy-efficiency technologies and operations.
GIA Task Force meeting, the second one in the series, saw 20 industry representatives from
across the Alliance’s 16 member companies discuss how to make further progress
on on-going GIA funded activities and to agree new priority areas to pursue
under the partnership.
GIA was launched
in June 2017. It was established under the auspices of GloMEEP Project – set up
between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) and IMO – to support developing countries to implement energy
efficiency-measures for shipping.
find out more about the GIA, visit the GloMEEP website, here.
A new IMO-Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) environmental project in Southeast Asia is set to begin, to support seven countries to protect the marine environment from shipping operations. The four-year project will focus on enhancing the countries’ capacity to implement a number of high-priority marine environment conventions, including the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); the Anti-Fouling Systems Convention; the London dumping of wastes convention and protocol; and the Ballast Water Management Convention.
IMO and Norad signed (on 8 December 2017) an Agreement to support the new major project titled “Marine Environment Protection for Southeast Asia Seas (MEPSEAS)”. Under the Agreement, Norad will make available some US$2 million via contributions to IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme. The seven ASEAN countries involved will be Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.
The project will build on a previous IMO-Norad project which directly led to the six countries concerned (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam) making substantial progress in terms of implementation and/or ratification of IMO environmental treaties. For countries which have acceded to the relevant treaties, the new MEPSEAS project will allow them to focus on effective implementation.
The issue of how to
legally remove hazardous wrecks at sea has been in the spotlight at the Salvage
& Wreck London 2017 Conference (7 December). IMO’s Jan De Boer took part in
a panel discussing the challenges surrounding wreck removal and provided an
update on the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention.
The Convention provides
the legal basis for States to remove, or have removed, shipwrecks that may threaten
the safety of lives, goods and property at sea, as well as the marine
environment. It applies to shipwrecks, objects from ships at sea, drifting
ships and floating offshore installations.
Under the treaty, shipowners
are strictly liable for costs of locating, marking and removing hazardous
wrecks. Additionally, they are required to maintain compulsory insurance to
cover their liability.