IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has called for Member States and the entire maritime sector including shipping and ports, to come on board to achieve the ambitions set out in the historic IMO initial strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, adopted last year. The strategy makes a firm commitment to a complete phase out of GHG emissions from ships, a specific linkage to the Paris Agreement and a series of clear levels of ambition, including at least a 50 per cent cut in emissions from the sector by 2050.
“We need to focus on technology transfer and research and development; we need expertise; we need IMO’s Member States to come together as one; we need the Member States to bring forward concrete proposals to IMO. We need to involve all maritime sectors – not just shipping. Investment in port infrastructure is just as important,” Secretary-General Lim said. He was speaking at the High Level Conference on Climate Change and Oceans Preservation, in Brussels, Belgium (19 February). The strategy includes a series of candidate measures that might be applied to achieve these targets in the short, medium and long terms. The detailed work of agreeing which of these will actually be adopted to enable these ambitions to be achieved is now under way.
Mr. Lim said that the initial steps - the candidate short-term measures - are likely to include strengthening the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Shipboard Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMP) for ships, as well as gathering information under the fuel-oil data collection scheme.
In the mid-term (before 2030), he highlighted the need to make zero-carbon ships more attractive and to direct investments towards innovative sustainable technologies and alternative fuels. In this context, the reduced sulphur limit for ships’ fuel oil, which enters into force on 1 January 2020, “should be seen as not only a landmark development for the environment and human health but also as a proxy "carbon price" – increasing the attractiveness of lower-carbon fuels or other means of propulsion for ships”.
The Conference was opened by Mr. Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Belgium, and H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.
On the sidelines of the Conference, Secretary-General Lim met H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. Monaco hosts the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). IMO and IHO collaborate on a number of areas, particularly when it comes to the provision of hydrographic charts for ships.
Mr. Lim also met, separately, Mrs. Emma Navarro, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, and Mrs. Magda Kopczynska, Director for Innovative and Sustainable Mobility in the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport within the European Commission.
IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) meets this week (18-22 February) at IMO headquarters. The meeting will focus on finalizing draft Guidelines on consistent implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit under MARPOL Annex VI. The aim of the Guidelines is to assist in the preparations for and uniform implementation of the lower limit for sulphur content in ships’ fuel oil, which will take effect on 1 January 2020 and will have a significant beneficial impact on human health and the environment. The meeting will also consider draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI (related to fuel oil samples and testing and verification of fuel oil sulphur content) and draft amendments to associated port State control and onboard sampling guidelines. IMO has already issued ship implementation planning guidance, to help shipowners prepare for the new limit. Among other agenda items, the Sub-Committee will begin its work to develop measures to reduce the risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters. In addition, work on identifying appropriate control measures to reduce the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping will also continue. The Sub-Committee will address the IMO Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention), which prohibits the use of biocides using organotin compounds. A comprehensive proposal to amend annex 1 to the AFS Convention to include controls on the biocide cybutryne will be considered. The meeting will also consider revisions to guidelines for the provisional assessment of liquid substances transported in bulk; and is expected to finalize the draft guide on practical implementation of the pollution prevention and response treaties (OPRC Convention and the OPRC-HNS Protocol). The Sub-Committee will also continue its review of the 2015 Guidelines on Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems. The meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr Sveinung Oftedal (Norway). Click for photos.
Experience with implementing the IMO Ballast Water Management
Convention, which aims to prevent the spread of potentially invasive aquatic
species, is now underway. IMO’s participation at the Global
TestNet 10th annual meeting (14-15 February) provided an
opportunity to highlight a new module on IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping
Information System (GISIS), which allows port States, flag States and other
stakeholders to gather, prepare and submit data on
ballast water sampling and chemical and biological analysis.
Analysis of such data will allow a systematic and evidence-based review of the
requirements of the BWM Convention and potentially the development of a package
of amendments to the Convention. Ballast Water Management Convention requires ships to manage their
ballast water and sediments to a defined standard.
IMO participation at the meeting covered all the
latest regulatory developments related to anti-fouling systems and
biofouling. IMO is considering a proposal to amend the IMO Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling
Systems on Ships (AFS Convention) to include
new controls on the biocide cybutryne. Currently, the AFS Convention prohibits
the use of biocides using organotin compounds.
also reviewing IMO biofouling Guidelines, which provide a globally-consistent approach on how
biofouling should be controlled and managed to minimize the transfer of
invasive aquatic species through ships’ hulls. A new global GloFouling
project has been launched, to drive actions to implement the guidelines. The
project will also spur the development of best practices and standards for
improved biofouling management in other ocean industries.
TestNet is a forum of organizations involved in
standardization, transparency and openness of land-based and/or shipboard
testing for the certification of ballast water management systems
are key players in the maritime transport system when it comes to achieving
ambitious emissions reduction. IMO’s initial greenhouse gas strategy recognizes
that shipping and ports are intrinsically linked. The role of ports in achieving emissions reductions was
highlighted at the Future Port congress, Bilbao, Spain (12-14 February). IMO
participation at a roundtable on green ports highlighted the potential for
provision of ship and shore-side/on-shore power supply from renewable sources,
infrastructure to support supply of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon
fuels, and activities to further optimize the logistics chain and its planning,
particular, the event discussed onshore power supply and the steps to take when
initiating onshore power supply projects, including ensuring equipment is
compatible across the world and safe to use. IMO‘s Sub-Committee on Ship
Systems and Equipment is developing draft guidelines on safe operation of
on-shore power supply service in port for ships engaged on international
voyages, and considering the need for mandatory provisions.
also highlighted the work of the Global
Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) in tackling contractual and operational barriers to implementing
“Just-In-Time” (JIT) operations, which could cut the time ships spend idling
outside ports and help cut emissions.
law enforcement officials* from Kenya are taking part in a two week training
course on best practices for visit, board, search and seizure of vessels, in
Mombasa, Kenya (11-22 February). The multi-agency course brings together 30 officials
to learn skills for effective coordination in combating maritime crimes and
procedures used to successfully board and search a vessel of interest.
training is part of IMO’s support for implementing the Jeddah
Amendment to Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017, a regional agreement against
maritime crime in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean area, which IMO
helped to establish. Implementation of the code of conduct is supported by a
range of international partners including United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime (UNODC), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Police
Organization (INTERPOL), Mohammed Bin Naif Academy for Maritime Science and
Security Studies (Saudi Arabia), United States Coast Guard, US Naval Forces
Africa, Canadian Coast Guard, British Peace Support Team (Africa), NATO
Maritime Interdiction Training Centre (NMIOTC) and others.
ongoing course is supported by a joint Royal Navy/Royal Marine training team of
seven experts from the United Kingdom and four experts from the International
Committee of the Red Cross – to teach skills on International Humanitarian
Rights Law, use of force, arrest and detention, search and seizure, and
* from the Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Coast Guard Services, Kenya
Ports Authority, Kenya Maritime Police Unit, Kenya Navy, Kenya Fisheries
Service, Immigration, Port Health, and Kenya Revenue Authority
Costa Rica is the latest country to ratify the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention).
The IMO treaty enhances communication between ships and ports to help
shipments move more quickly, more easily and more efficiently. H.E. Mr. Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, Ambassador of Costa
Rica, met IMO Secretary-General at IMO Headquarters, London (12
February) to deposit the instrument of accession. Find out more about the FAL Convention, including
why it is needed, advice for governments, and information on the 8 April
2019 electronic data exchange deadline, here.
IMO maritime security and counter-terrorism treaties* are
key international instruments supporting countries to counter terrorism. To
boost implementation of these treaties in South and South-East Asia, IMO and
the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are running a
cross-regional workshop in Bali, Indonesia (5-8-February).
The workshop is addressing the need to ratify the relevant
international counter-terrorism instruments and to incorporate their provisions
into national laws as well as promoting multi-agency and
The event builds on recent national workshops held in
Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Viet Nam, as well as a
sub-regional event held at IMO Headquarters in November 2018.
Participants** are sharing experiences and best practices, and
are exploring the potential for regional and cross-regional collaboration on
maritime counter-terrorism prevention and response.
This is the last activity
under Phase One of the “partnership without paperwork” project initiated by
UNODC with funding from the Government of Japan. IMO is presenting on
subjects including “the International Legal Framework against Maritime Terrorism”;
“Suspected transport of BCN weapons by vessel in transit and passing through
territorial waters” and “Bio-Terrorism/Mass Casualty event involving a
Cruise Liner alongside in port”.
* Including SOLAS
Chapter XI-2 and the suppression of unlawful acts (SUA) instruments
** Participants from
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia,
Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam.
As part of its continuing efforts to help African
countries improve the sustainability of their maritime sectors and
their blue economies, IMO frequently works with partners to help support
This work includes participating in two major
annual maritime security exercises in Africa, the first of which,
Cutlass Express, is currently underway in Djibouti, Mozambique and the Seychelles (25 January – 7 February). Cutlass Express puts special
emphasis on encouraging navies and civilian agencies
and different countries to work together, as envisaged in existing
frameworks such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) and the Jeddah Amendment to the DCoC – a regional agreement against maritime crime in
the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean area, which
IMO helped to establish.
IMO is also taking part in a Senior Leaders
Seminar, organized by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in the
margins of Cutlass Express, in Maputo, Mozambique, in which heads of
navies from the region are participating. IMO emphasized
the need for multi-agency, multi-disciplinary and whole of government
approaches to maritime development within the context of the Codes of
Conduct and how maritime security can underpin economic development and
generate wider stability.
IMO work to preventing accidents when ships are being moored at their berth in a port continues this week. A draft SOLAS regulation aimed at better protecting seafarers and shore-based mooring personnel from injuries during mooring operations is set to be finalized by the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 6). The meeting (4-8 February) also aims to complete draft guidelines on the design of mooring arrangements; and on their inspection and maintenance; as well as to revise existing guidelines on shipboard towing and mooring arrangements.
Safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in Polar waters, not currently covered by the Polar Code, are also on the agenda. The Sub-Committee will consider the first draft set of recommendations for safety measures for fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over, as well as pleasure yachts above 300 gross tonnage not engaged in trade, operating in polar waters.
Another important agenda item is the ongoing development of a draft new SOLAS chapter XV on Safety measures for ships carrying industrial personnel and the associated draft Code, aimed at providing minimum safety standards for ships that carry industrial personnel, as well as for the personnel, so as to ensure their safe transit prior or after their deployment in relation to the construction, maintenance, decommissioning, operation or servicing of offshore facilities. The Sub-Committee will also continue its work on developing second generation intact stability criteria, including preparing guidelines on the specification of direct stability assessment; the preparation and approval of operational limitations and operational guidance; and vulnerability 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.
Implementing “Just-In-Time” (JIT) operations to cut the time ships spend idling outside ports can help cut emissions. This is good for the environment and can cut costs too. But there are a number of contractual and operational barriers to overcome before this could be implemented worldwide.
For some types of ships, such as bulk carriers and tankers, clauses in charterparty contracts currently act as a barrier to the uptake of JIT. For other ship types, such as container ships, contractual barriers do not exist, allowing the ship’s master to reduce speed without breach of contract, thereby enabling JIT to start being implemented today.
Focusing on those ship types that can already contractually implement JIT, IMO’s Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) brought together a wide range of industry stakeholders to discuss how to operationally make JIT a global reality. Convening at IMO Headquarters in London (31 January), representatives from shipping companies, port authorities, terminal operators, service providers (including ship agents, bunker providers and tug operators) and other maritime organizations, discussed in detail how to tackle existing operational barriers.
The roundtable identified that for ports be able to provide incoming ships with a reliable berth arrival time, firstly a reliable departure time of the ship at berth needs to be achieved - which involves collaboration of many stakeholders. The ship currently at berth will only depart after loading, unloading, bunkering, provisioning and other critical services have all been completed. However, the terminal and other service providers currently share very few updates about completion times.
The roundtable also identified the need for global standardisation and harmonization of data, which is currently being discussed under IMO’s Facilitation Committee, to provide ships with regular updates about the availability of berths, especially in the last twelve hours prior to port arrival. Timing the arrival can allow ships to optimise their speed – such as by slowing down - providing further reduction in the carbon footprint of shipping as well as saving on fuel costs. Additionally, it improves the safety of navigation and rest hour planning of ship crew and nautical services.
GIA members plan to hold another meeting later this year to discuss contractual barriers to JIT. The alliance is also in the process of preparing a real-time JIT pilot trial, in order to test the tangible solutions identified so far and gather experience. The GIA will submit a progress report on its work on JIT to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) with a view to continue supporting IMO member States in tackling emissions from ships and reaching the ambitious emissions targets set out in IMO’s Initial GHG Strategy.
The GIA is a public-private partnership initiative of the IMO under the framework of the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloMEEP Project that aims to bring together maritime industry leaders to support an energy efficient and low carbon maritime transport system. The GIA currently has 15 members, representing leading shipowners and operators, classification societies, engine and technology builders and suppliers, big data providers, oil companies and ports.
A GIA video explaining the Just-In-Time concept can be viewed here.
Turkey, one of the five major ship recycling countries in the world, has ratified the IMO Hong Kong Convention, the treaty for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling.
The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009, covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.
Under the Hong Kong Convention, ships to be sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.
In its ratification instrument, Turkey declares that it requires explicit approval of the Ship Recycling Plan before a ship may be recycled in its authorized Ship Recycling Facility(ies).
H.E. Mr. Ümit Yalçın, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Turkey to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to deposit the instrument of ratification to the treaty today (31 January).
Turkey becomes the seventh State to become a Party to the Hong Kong Convention. The treaty will enter into force 24 months after ratification by 15 States, representing 40 per cent of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than 3 per cent of their combined tonnage.
The seven contracting States represent more than 20% of world merchant shipping tonnage and the combined annual ship recycling volume of the Contracting States during the preceding 10 years is 1,652,961 GT, i.e. 0.62% of the merchant shipping tonnage of the same States (Belgium, Congo, Denmark, France, Norway, Panama and Turkey).
The top five ship recycling countries in the world, accounting between them for more than 90% of all ship recycling by tonnage, are Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey.
IMO is implementing a project (SENSREC Phase II) in Bangladesh to enhance safe and environmentally sound ship recycling develop a roadmap towards accession to the Hong Kong convention and focus on building capacity within Bangladesh to develop a legal, policy and institutional reform roadmap towards accession to the Hong Kong Convention and training a variety of stakeholders
requirements for electronic exchange of data for the clearance
of ships become effective from 9 April 2019. To help prepare for this, a
National Seminar on Facilitation of Maritime Traffic was held in
Djibouti (22-24 January). The workshop raised awareness of the new
requirements for participants from ministries with responsibilities
in the clearance of ships, cargo, crew and passengers at ports of
Djibouti, and private stakeholders. The event addressed the benefits of
using a maritime single window and electronic data exchange; and also
addressed other facilitation issues, including stowaways
and persons rescued at sea. The seminar was organized by IMO and the
Direction des Affaires Maritimes of Djibouti.
The Russian Federation has acceded to the IMO treaty dealing with compulsory insurance covering passengers on ships. The 2002 Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea sets the limits of liability for incidents on a ship involving passengers, including death of or personal injury to a passenger and loss of or damage to luggage and vehicles. Mr. Yury Melenas, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to deposit the instrument of accession (16 January).
One of the great strengths of the UN system is its multi-national and multi-cultural nature. As far as possible, UN bodies try to work in their delegates’ own languages or at least in a language they are familiar and comfortable with. There are six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) and the vast majority of international meetings throughout the UN system enjoy simultaneous interpretation into all of them.
That means interpreters are often the unsung heroes of international diplomacy. Last week (12-13 January) IMO hosted a meeting of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). The UN system works closely with AIIC and 2019 marks 50 years since the first agreement between the UN and AIIC setting out terms and conditions of employment for freelance conference interpreters. The meeting gave interpreters the chance to trial IMO’s own interpreting booths and meeting facilities, as well as evaluating new platforms for remote interpreting during simulated real-time interpreting exercises.
IMO’s Polar Code helps ensure that ships operating in the harsh Arctic and Antarctic areas take into account extremes of temperature and make sure critical equipment remains operational. Draft guidance for navigation and communication equipment intended for use on ships operating in polar waters is expected to be finalized by the current session of the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR 6, 16-25 January). The guidance will include recommendations on temperature and mechanical shock testing, and on how to address ice accretion and battery performance in cold temperatures.
The Sub-Committee will also consider the report of the 14th meeting of the Joint IMO/ITU Experts Group on maritime radiocommunication matters. The meeting will finalize the draft IMO position on maritime radiocommunication matters for submission to the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), to be held in November. The availability of interference-free parts of radio spectrum, dedicated for maritime radiocommunication and radionavigation purposes, is essential to ensure the safety and security of shipping.
The Sub-Committee will continue its work on a number of key agenda items, including the ongoing work to modernize the Global Maritime Distress and Safety system (GMDSS). The mandatory GMDSS was adopted in 1988 to ensure full integration of maritime radio and satellite communications so that distress alerts can be generated from anywhere on the world’s oceans. The modernization plan aims to update the provisions, including allowing for the incorporation of new satellite communication services.
On e-navigation matters, the meeting will focus on harmonization and standardization which is key for the effective implementation of the e-navigation strategy. The Sub-Committee will further develop the description of various maritime services coordinated by different organizations with the view to enhance harmonization; and draft guidelines on standardized modes of operation, or S-mode, which will improve standardization of the user interface and information used by seafarers.
On search and rescue matters, the Sub-Committee will consider recommendations from the latest regular International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)/IMO Joint Working Group. IMO works closely with ICAO on the harmonization of aeronautical and maritime search and rescue. The meeting is expected to validate a revised model course on SAR Mission Coordinator.
Amongst other regular agenda items, the Sub-Committee will review proposed new and amended ships' routeing measures, consider updates to Maritime Safety Information (MSI) related provisions and will discuss matters relating to the functioning and operation of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT).
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim opened the session, which is being chaired by Mr. Ringo Lakeman (Netherlands). (Click for photos).
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has highlighted the need to consider seafarer training and standards as shipping evolves, with increasing levels of technology and automation. Speaking at IMO Headquarters (15 January) at the launch of a new report “Transport 2040: Automation, Technology and Employment - the Future of Work”, Secretary-General Lim set out key questions that will require focus from all stakeholders: “How will the seafarer of the future manage the challenges related to an increasing level of technology and automation in maritime transport? How will the new technologies impact on the nature of jobs in the industry? What standards will seafarers be required to meet with respect to education, training and certification to qualify them for the jobs of the future?”
An important strategic direction for IMO is the integration of new and advancing technologies into the regulatory framework - balancing the benefits derived from new and advancing technologies against safety and security concerns, the impact on the environment and on international trade facilitation, the potential costs to the industry and their impact on personnel, both on board and ashore. “Member States and the industry need to anticipate the impact these changes may have and how they will be addressed,” Mr. Lim said.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU) Transport 2040 report is the first-ever, independent and comprehensive assessment of how automation will affect the future of work in the transport industry, focusing on technological changes and automation in road, air, rail and maritime transport. The report concludes that the introduction of automation in global transport will be “evolutionary, rather than revolutionary,” and that “despite high levels of automation, qualified human resources with the right skill sets will still be needed in the foreseeable future”. Technological advances are inevitable, but will be gradual and vary by region. Workers will be affected in different ways based on their skill levels and the varying degrees of preparedness of different countries. Read more and download the report here.
Mr. Lim welcomed the report, noting that it would contribute to the efforts of the global shipping community to help implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the goals on quality education; gender equality; decent work and economic growth; and industry, innovation and infrastructure.
Qatar is the 111th State to accede to the International Convention on Load Lines (1988 Protocol) – an important IMO ship safety treaty. Limitations on the draught to which a ship may be loaded make a significant contribution to the ship's safety. These limits are given in the form of freeboards, which, together with external weathertight and watertight integrity, is the main objective of the Convention. Measures under the treaty take into account the potential hazards present in different zones and different seasons.
The 1988 Protocol updates and revises the earlier treaty. The technical annex contains several additional safety measures concerning doors, freeing ports, hatchways and other items. These measures help to ensure the watertight integrity of ships' hulls below the freeboard deck. All assigned load lines must be marked amidships on each side of the ship, together with the deck line.
Mr. Mohamed Abdulla Al-Jabir, Deputy Ambassador, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London (15 January) to deposit the instrument of accession. The Protocol's signatories now represent more than 97% of world merchant shipping tonnage.
In 2015, 193 countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It
calls for action by all countries to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030, world-wide.
IMO is assisting the Government of Viet Nam to implement international counter-terrorism measures involving the
maritime sector. The
training workshop is part of an on-going project with the UN Office on
Drugs and Crime, which assists States’
capability to implement and enforce maritime safety and security
legislation* to support countering terrorism, piracy and armed robbery
The exercise is taking place in Hai Phong, Viet Nam (9-10 January). The programme
emphasises and demonstrates the
need for cooperation among government departments and agencies.
Participants are taking part in a range of evolving scenarios, to
determine respective roles, responsibilities,
processes and procedures, and how these may develop, both during an
incident and during routine business.
The results will help determine possible gaps in policies and plans, and help IMO and other agencies to provide
improved assistance in the future.
Relevant treaties include IMO’s maritime security instruments in the
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); the International Ship
and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) Code; the Convention on the
Suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation
(SUA); and the security-related aspects of the
Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL).
search and rescue plans are crucial, so that, no matter where an accident
occurs, the rescue of persons in distress at sea can be coordinated
successfully. The worldwide ratification and implementation of IMO's
International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR
Convention) is a key component in efforts to ensure the safety of
Rica is the 112th State to accede to the treaty, whose signatories now
represent more than 80% of world merchant shipping tonnage. H.E. Mr. Rafael
Ortiz Fábrega, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United Kingdom, met IMO
Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (7 January) to deposit
the instrument of accession.
Simulation exercises are proving to be a valuable tool to assist countries and port authorities to prepare for a wide range of potential threats and security situations. An interactive port facility/port security officer workshop in Panama City, Panama (13-14 December) presented a series of possible scenarios which were deliberately varied, from the easiest problems to solve, to others that may require greater participation and analysis to reach a solution.
Participants discussed needs, possibilities and opportunities to improve collaboration between them and other responsible actors for port and maritime security in Panama, both at the port level as well as at the national level. The outcome is improved capacity for better prevention and response. Analysis and evaluation of results will be carried out to inform future strategies, with recommendations summarised in a final report, shared with the Panama Maritime Authority and all ports in the country.
This pilot simulation exercise during the workshop was jointly delivered by IMO and the Organization of American States Inter American Committee Against Terrorism (OAS-CICTE). This activity will assist member states in the development of the capacities of their Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) for the application and enforcement of local legislation in relation to the different threats or situations related to maritime and port security that the PFSOs face daily in ports where they develop their activities. The intention is to roll out the course in in other Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), through a collaboration between CICTE and Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP) of the OAS and IMO.
Political, legal and technical obstacles can sometimes challenge ratification and subsequently the effective implementation of MARPOL Annex VI air pollution and energy efficiency regulations. A regional workshop to identify and address any such barriers for Mediterranean coastal States took place (11-13 December) at the headquarters of REMPEC, the IMO-administered pollution emergency response centre in the Mediterranean.
Participants from 16 Mediterranean coastal States (including six which have not yet ratified MARPOL Annex VI), the European Union, IMO, HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - Helsinki Commission) and a local NGO identified the main obstacles to ratification and effective implementation and explored possibilities for (sub)regional application and enforcement of the Annex VI provisions in the Mediterranean.
Participants also discussed the draft technical and feasibility study, commissioned by REMPEC, to examine the possibility of designating the Mediterranean Sea or parts thereof, as sulphur oxides (SOx) emission control area (ECA) under MARPOL Annex VI. A Mediterranean ECA would imply a reduction to 0.1% m/m for the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships in the area.
Two other studies commissioned by the European Commission and France were also presented. Although the studies applied different data sources and methodologies, all presented similar results: a Mediterranean ECA would result in significant health and environmental benefits, fewer cases of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and premature deaths avoided annually and favourable cost effectiveness comparison for costs and health benefits. The outcome of the workshop and studies will support the Mediterranean decision-making process to define the way forward. This will be set out in a road map, which will be further discussed by the SOx ECA(s) Technical Committee of Experts in spring 2019.
The workshop was supported by IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP), the Mediterranean Trust Fund (MTF) and a voluntary contribution from the Government of France.
IMO is providing training to
countries* in the west Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden on managing insecurity in
the maritime domain in a regional workshop at the Djibouti Regional Training
Centre (9-13 December).
It’s the latest in an ongoing
series of capacity-building initiatives in the region, targeted at national
focal points and key personnel in maritime security. Participants include
officers from coast guards, marine police, navy and maritime administrations,
serving at sea or ashore, who have operational responsibility for maritime law
They are being trained on
regional and national measures that need to be taken to adequately understand,
influence, prevent, protect and respond to insecurity in the maritime domain. A
key part of these national measures is working towards a “whole-of-government”
approach, by sharing best practices on how multi-agency and multi-disciplinary
efforts can better implement and enforce the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC)
and related Jeddah
Amendment – the international treaties instrumental in repressing piracy
and armed robbery against ships in the region.
The Djibouti Regional Training
Centre is part-funded by IMO and supports implementation of the DCoC and Jeddah
* Comoros, Djibouti,
Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Tanzania, Seychelles, Somalia,
South Africa, the Sudan and Yemen.
Ships and ports will need to be able to exchange arrival and departure data electronically from April 2019, under IMO's Facilitation Convention. There requirements also encourage the use of a single window in which all the many agencies and authorities shall exchange data via a single point of contact.
To be ready to meet those requirements, IMO is conducting training workshops. The latest was a needs assessment workshop in Douala, Cameroon, (10-12 December 2018) to assist Cameroon to implement a maritime single window.
The two-day workshop saw participants discuss the Single Window for Foreign Trade Transactions (GUCE) and what necessary equipment for the implementation of procedures to electronically exchange forms documents and certificates would be required for vessels.
The event also looked at how to prepare reports to analyse the needs, and the cost and timeline for implementing the project.
This project will also help to determine the potential role of maritime transport facilitation in poverty reduction, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and as mentioned by an IMO study.
IMO’s Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response (OPRC 90) requires states to plan and prepare for marine pollution incidents. REMPEC, the IMO administered pollution emergency response centre in the Mediterranean, facilitated a meeting in Larnaca, Cyprus (6 December) between Cyprus, Greece and Israel, to follow up on the Implementation Agreement on the Sub-regional Marine Pollution Contingency Plan the three countries signed in May. The meeting saw considerable progress in ensuring the efficient implementation of the common contingency plan and addressing operational matters and trans-national issues. REMPEC officials provided valuable input to the discussions based on their extensive experience with developing national and (sub)regional contingency plans in other parts of the Mediterranean.
Officials from Cyprus, Greece and Israel also took part in a Sub-Regional Workshop (4-5 December) on Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, which included a visit of the Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Centre “Zenon”. The workshop was organized by REMPEC, with the support of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC), the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF), and the International Group of P&I Clubs.