"The introduction of invasive aquatic organisms into new marine environments not only affects biodiversity and ecosystem health, but also has measurable impacts on a number of economic sectors" said Lilia Khodjet El Khil, head of the IMO-led GloFouling Partnerships project.
The GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships project has concluded two workshops, one in Madagascar and one in Mauritius (19-21 August), two of 12 lead partnering countries whose aim is to protect marine biodiversity by addressing biofouling.
During the first workshop, held in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Captain Jean Edmond Randrianantenaina, added that "these invasive species can also pose a threat to public health through consumption of fish products". The overall impact can affect several sectors including, among others, maritime transport, natural resources, fisheries and tourism.
In Mauritius, Prem Koonjoo, Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources & Fisheries, highlighted the importance of SDG 14 and the role of marine environment to a sustainable future for Small Developing Island States such as Mauritius.
The two workshops also looked at who will make up national task forces in the region, as those roles will be crucial in leading and implementing a national strategy for addressing the issue of invasive aquatic species transferred through marine biofouling.
Invasive species are one of the five main direct drivers of change in nature and biodiversity loss, as recently confirmed by 150 leading international experts from over 50 countries in the IPBES Global Assessment Report of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
The GloFouling Partnerships is an IMO-executed project launched to protect marine biodiversity from the introduction of non-indigenous species into new ecosystems through biofouling. Biofouling is the process by which marine organisms can build up on ships' hulls and the surface of other marine structures.
The GloFouling Partnerships is helping its 12 lead partner countries to assess their current status in relation to invasive aquatic species, including an economic impact study, a guide for developing a national strategy, and specialised training courses on marine biofouling and legal issues related to the implementation of IMO's Biofouling Guidelines.
The IMO Secretariat is attending the latest in a series of conferences to develop a legally binding international instrument, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction - known as 'BBNJ'. The 3rd Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) is being held at UN Headquarters in New York, United States (19-30 August). The current Conference session is the third in a series, with the fourth (final session) set to take place in the first half of 2020.
The current conference session is discussing the draft treaty text. IMO representatives are attending the plenary sessions and working groups on area-based management tools, environmental impact assessments, capacity building and technology transfer and cross-cutting issues. IMO has been present throughout the process of developing the BBNJ agreement, through the preparatory phase as well as the IGC, to provide the negotiating States with information and assistance in developing the new instrument.
IMO's has experience in developing universal binding regulations for international shipping to ensure shipping's sustainable use of the oceans, through more than 50 globally-binding treaties. IMO regulations are enforced throughout the world's oceans through a well-established system of flag, coastal and port State control. Many IMO measures actively contribute to the conservation of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, including the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution by ships (MARPOL) and the International Ballast Water Management Convention - which aims to prevent the transfer of potentially invasive aquatic species - as well as the London Convention and Protocol regulating the dumping of wastes at sea. IMO has adopted numerous protective measures, which all ships must adhere to, both in and outside designated sensitive sea areas (PSSAs) and in special areas and emission control areas. These include strict rules on operational discharges as well as areas to be avoided and other ship routeing systems, including those aimed at keeping shipping away from whales' breeding grounds. IMO's Polar Code is mandatory for ships for operating in the Arctic and Antarctic. IMO has also issued guidance on protecting marine life from underwater ship noise.
In June 2019, the President of the Intergovernmental Conference, Mrs. Rena Lee of Singapore, addressed IMO Member State representatives at an event at IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom, to heighten awareness of the interplay between the BBNJ instrument and the IMO mandate. The IMO Secretariat has also provided Member States with an analysis of relevant provisions of the draft BBNJ instrument with respect to the IMO mandate.
One of the key elements in oil spill contingency planning is to define the communication channels to be used by cooperating parties when facing an incident. A workshop in Pulau Indah, Klang, Malaysia (19-21 August) has brought together officials from states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to help bring into operation the Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan, which was adopted in 2018. Participants from nine countries got to grips with key elements of the plan and practised communications between States, in order to identify any gaps and lessons to be learned. The workshop will help drive forward the implementation of this recently adopted plan.
This workshop is being carried out under IMO's Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme and hosted by the Government of Malaysia and the Marine Department of Malaysia, at the Maritime Transport Training Institute, under the framework of the Global Initiative project for South East Asia (GI SEA), a joint project with the oil and gas industry (ipieca). It supports the implementation of IMO's Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (the OPRC 90 Convention).
The Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan provides for a mechanism whereby ASEAN Member States can request for and provide mutual assistance in response to any oil spills. It also ensures a common understanding to enable the effective integration between the affected and assisting ASEAN Member States, in the event of incidents involving oil spills.
IMO maritime security training is underway for Libyan port facility security officers, managers and designated authority officials (18-22 August). The workshop, delivered in English and in Arabic, aims to assist the Libyan Government in enhanced security risk assessments and controls on maritime transport through its territory.
Fifteen officers in charge of port security from ports across the country are attending, including five from the national maritime security committee in charge of oversight the implementation of the Code in the country. Participants are being trained on how to perform their duties in line with SOLAS Chapter XI-2 (click for details), the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), and related guidance. Participants are also being taught to train other officials with similar responsibilities.
The workshop will also allow the IMO team to understand the level of knowledge and existing skills among the officials - with a view to assessing capacity and suitability of potential follow-up assistance. The event was organized at the request of the President of the Libyan Port and Maritime Transport Authority, and held in neighboring Tunisia.
Biodiversity can be threatened by organisms which can build up on ships' hulls and other marine structures, a process known as biofouling. During a workshop in Arraial do Cabo, Brazil (5 August), experts on biofouling and invasive species and others took the first steps towards setting up a national task force to tackle the issue. Brazil is one of 12 lead partnering countries in the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships project, which aims to protect marine biodiversity by addressing biofouling.
Each lead partnering country's national task force will define a national policy on biofouling and invasive species and draft the national strategy and action plan to implement the IMO Biofouling Guidelines. The next step for GloFouling Partnerships in Brazil will be to develop national baseline reports to assess the current situation with regards to non-indigenous species, to identify any research currently available on the subject, to analyse the economic impacts and to determine the national legal framework.
The Glofouling workshop was held during the XIII Biofouling, Benthic Ecology and Marine Biotechnology Meeting (XIII BIOINC), hosted by the Instituto de Estudos do Mar Almirante Paulo Moreira (5-9 August). As well as national experts on biofouling and invasive species, participants included representatives from Marinha do Brasil, from other departments from federal and state administrations and from leading private sector companies such as Petrobras and Vale.
The IMO-executed GloFouling Partnerships project to address bioinvasions by organisms which can build up on ships' hulls and other marine structures is a collaboration between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and IMO. Twelve lead partnering countries (Brazil, Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Tonga), four regional organizations, IOC-UNESCO, the World Ocean Council and numerous strategic partners have signed up to the project.
IMO treaties need to be implemented into national law so that they can be applied on ships flying the flag of a particular country and so that those countries can implement effective port State control and comply with other obligations under the specified IMO instruments. An IMO course provides lawyers and legislative drafters with the tools they need to understand IMO treaties, how they are developed and adopted - and the implementation of those treaties into national legislation. Participants from Latin America attended a regional workshop on the general principles of drafting maritime legislation to implement IMO Conventions, in Guayaquil, Ecuador (5-9 August).
Relevant treaties covered by the IMO mandatory Member State audit scheme were covered, as well as liability and compensation conventions. Participants learned best practices in the legal implementation process, with special attention given to the implementation of amendments to IMO treaties which are adopted through the tacit acceptance procedure. The ultimate goal of the workshop is to leave participants able to develop national legislation and to keep it up to date to ensure compliance with the IMO standards.
The regional Workshop on the Transposition of IMO Instruments into National Legislation for ROCRAM Countries was organized by IMO and the Secretariat of the Operative Network for Regional Cooperation among Maritime Authorities of the Americas (ROCRAM), in collaboration with Prefectura Naval Argentina and Directorate General of Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine (DIRECTEMAR) of the Republic of Chile, who provided experts free of charge. IMO sponsored 21 participants from: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. Eight national participants from Ecuador also took part.
Proper implementation of IMO's maritime security measures is essential for trade. Kenya is the latest country to benefit from training on the implementation of SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. A national workshop in Mombasa, Kenya (5-9 August) brought together Port facility security officers (PFSOs) as well as representatives of all structures involved in maritime and port security, including Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Maritime Authority, Customs, Kenya Coast Guard Service, maritime police, and several other port operators.
PFSOs discussed ways to cooperate at the national level to provide the necessary support required in order to take ownership of implementation and compliance with IMO maritime security measures – and to gain the knowledge needed to train others. The oversight roles and responsibilities of the designated authority responsible for implementing the ISPS Code were also covered during the workshop.
The workshop on the ISPS Code for Designated Authority (DA) and Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) was organized by IMO and the Government of Kenya, under the auspices of IMO's Global Maritime Security Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP).
A good working relationship with neighbouring countries is key, especially in the event of a trans-boundary oil spill incident. Namibia and Angola undertook a simultaneous cross-boundary oil spill response training exercise (6-9 August), in Luanda, Angola, and Walvis Bay, Namibia.
Both countries' are located in an oil-producing region with heavy maritime traffic, resulting in increased risks of pollution for the vulnerable marine environment. In the event of an oil spill in one country, chances are that it may affect its neighbour as oil spills know no boundary. Regional cooperation is crucial when it comes to oil spill preparedness and response. The International Convention on oil pollution preparedness, response and cooperation (OPRC) specifically encourages such initiatives to foster international cooperation.
The training sought to test communication links between Angola and Namibia and examine the mechanism required to seek assistance and mobilize international resources, in case of an oil-spill incident.
The workshop agreed a set of recommendations for both countries, which will form the basis for a sub-regional oil spill contingency plan.
The event was hosted by the Ministry of works and Transport in Namibia, via its Directorate of Maritime Affairs, and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in Angola. The workshop was supported by GI WACAF, a collaboration between IMO and IPIECA to strengthen oil spill response capacity in west, central and southern Africa
Supporting countries to prepare for contingencies is an important part of IMO's capacity building work. Cambodia is the latest country to benefit from IMO assistance to update its oil spill contingency plan, by identifying country-specific risks and existing gaps in order to be able to respond effectively to oil spill incidents. A national workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (6-9 August) has brought together 60 participants from 20 government entities and oil companies. Attendees received an overview of the international framework for oil spill preparedness and response and are working to develop an action plan to finalize and implement the national oil spill contingency plan.
The workshop was organized under the framework of the Global Initiative project for South East Asia (GI SEA), a joint project with the oil and gas industry (IPIECA). This supports implementation of IMO's Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (the OPRC 90 Convention).
Global application of the regulations in IMO's treaty for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling - the Hong Kong Convention - will have significant benefits for the environment and for the safety of workers in the sector.
China, a major ship recycling country, has been developing its ship recycling facilities to ensure their compliance with the environmental and occupational health and safety requirements of the Hong Kong Convention.
China shared its experience and knowledge with representatives of the government and ship recycling industry from Bangladesh, during an IMO Seminar on Ship Recycling and the Hong Kong Convention, held in Zhoushan, China (23-25 July).
The programme included a day-long seminar on ship recycling regulation and practices and the Hong Kong Convention. This was followed by site visits to Zhoushan Changhong International Ship Recycling Company Limited, a facility which builds, repairs and recycles ships in compliance with the international and national regulations and guidelines; and Zhoushan Nahai Solid Waste Central Disposal Company Limited to see its Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility for waste management.
The event was hosted by China Maritime Safety Administration (MSA). It was part of a knowledge sharing endeavour within the framework of the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships in Bangladesh – Phase II (SENSREC) project, which IMO is implementing jointly with the Government of Bangladesh. The SENSREC project aims to facilitate the ratification and effective implementation of the Hong Kong Convention to ensure safe and environmentally sound ship recycling in Bangladesh.
The seminar was jointly organized by the IMO and China MSA, supported by the China Waterborne Transport Research and other relevant stakeholders of the Government of the People's Republic of China.
Momentum is growing worldwide towards the ratification and implementation of the Hong Kong Convention, which 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 treaty, 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. The treaty currently has 13 contracting States, representing 29.42% of world merchant shipping tonnage.
Fisheries-related conventions are key tools used by flag, coastal and port States to effectively monitor and control fishing vessels and minimise the risk of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, by enhancing transparency, traceability and governance.
This was the focus of a national workshop in Shanghai, China (29-30 July), organized by the Shanghai Ocean University and the Bureau of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People's Republic of China, with input from IMO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The Pew Charitable Trusts and the IMO Number Scheme manager (IHS Markit).
Participants discussed China's potential ratification and implementation of fisheries-related conventions, including IMO's 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA), aimed at improving safety standards on fishing vessels, and the 1995 Standards on Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F).
They also discussed the implementation of the FAO 2009 Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing (PSMA).
The People's Republic of China is yet to become a Party to the IMO fishing vessel safety and training treaties. However, China reported that considerable research has begun into ratification implications. With thousands of seagoing fishing vessels of 24 metres and above, China's accession to the Cape Town Agreement would have considerable global impact. Mr. Han Xu, Deputy Director-General of the Bureau of Fisheries, said that the Chinese Government focuses on the safety of fishers and said, "There are difficulties in implementing these conventions due to the scale of our fleet, however we have a saying in China – there are more solutions than problems."
IMO's Brice Martin-Castex, said, "We are delighted to be here in Shanghai discussing these issues and hope that this workshop will pave the way for continued cooperation. The conventions and measures we are talking about work together, however the Cape Town Agreement is not yet in force. China can greatly contribute to its entry into force, as a founding State, which is an opportunity not to be missed."
The workshop concluded with several positive outcomes. China pledged to attend the Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, organized by IMO and the Government of Spain, Torremolinos, Málaga, Spain (21-23 October 2019) and to provide the conference with information on measures to be taken for the entry into force of the Cape Town Agreement.
China also welcomed the IMO Number Scheme manager's proposal to allow for phased allocation of the IMO Ship Identification numbers to Chinese fishing vessels of 12 metres in length and above. This will also be used to populate the FAO's Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels. The IMO Ship Identification Number Scheme is currently voluntary for fishing vessels.
To date, 11 States with a total of 1,413 vessels have ratified the Cape Town Agreement. The treaty will enter into force 12 months after at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over operating on the high seas have expressed their consent to be bound by it.
The Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and IUU Fishing (21-23 October) will be followed by the Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Working Group on IUU Fishing (23-25 October).
The workshop was attended by 45 participants from the Bureau of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs; Ministry of Transport; Shanghai Ocean University; Dalian Maritime University; China Overseas Fisheries Association; China Classification Society; all China's coastal provincial port authorities; IMO; FAO; The Pew Charitable Trusts and the IMO Number Scheme manager (IHS Markit).
A mass rescue operations sea and air search and rescue (SAR) exercise in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii, United States, was just one key element in the 8th Regional Pacific SAR (PacSAR) Workshop (22-26 July). The workshop, organized by IMO in collaboration with the Pacific Community (SPC), aimed to promote ratification of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, 1979 (SAR Convention) in the region, identify gaps and promote common best practices in SAR services. (Video)
Besides the practical MRO exercise, participants, including Pacific Island SAR administrators and coordinators, attended classroom-based sessions covering a range of issues. These included SAR coordination across the Pacific Islands region; the effectiveness of SAR and MRO Planning and Management; and understanding of the international requirements for SAR. Sessions also addressed understanding of maritime and aeronautical SAR Services and the links between them; and understanding of the limitations of SAR aerial and surface assets to assist in improving detection and response efforts during SAR operations.
The workshop, which is held every two years, also provided an opportunity for learning through exchange of view and experience and an opportunity for Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) to review progress against the previously adopted PacSAR SC Strategic Plan 2017 - 2021. The workshop also facilitated compilation of an operational picture of regional SAR operations and available SAR arrangements and resources.
In addition, the workshop acknowledged the value and the potential of the Pacific Women in Maritime Association (PacWIMA) and national chapters in pursuing accident prevention measures, public awareness and education in the area of safety at sea; and invited PICTs to engage PacWIMA and national chapters in community work where possible.
The workshop was hosted by the United States Cost Guard Fourteenth District in Honolulu, Hawaii, with plenary sessions taking place in the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies (APCSS). The workshop was co-sponsored by the Governments of China, New Zealand and the United States of America, and supported by the Pacific Search and Rescue Steering Committee (PacSAR SC). Additionally, in-kind contributions were also provided by the Governments of Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States for the Mass Rescue Operations exercise, which involved four aircrafts including one helicopter, (provided by Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States) and three surface search units and other support facilities (provided by the United States).
An inaugural female-led beach clean-up exercise in east and southern Africa has helped raise awareness of the problem that marine litter poses to the environment. In Kenya alone, the beach-clean up collected 337 kg of rubbish, generated from land-based activities. The day was led by members from the IMO-supported Association for Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa region (WOMESA), together with industry and local communities. Organized in celebration of the African Day of Seas and Oceans, the clean-up (27 July) also served to highlight the important role of African women in marine conservation for sustainable livelihoods.
IMO has adopted an action plan to address marine litter from ships and is committed to supporting the achievement of targets to prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds, including marine debris, set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.
Human carelessness and pollution, such as the dumping of plastic in waterways, has devastating consequences on marine life and this is a particular problem in the marine and coastal areas in Africa - which are also are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in the world, mainly attributed to the low adaptive capacity in the continent.
The safety and security of life at sea, protection of the marine environment and over 90% of the world's trade depends on the professionalism and competence of seafarers. That is why IMO's International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), must be ratified and then implemented properly.
IMO provides member states with training and capacity building, to support ratification and implementation of IMO treaties. In Tibar, Timor-Leste (July 22-26), IMO held a workshop on the ratification and effective implementation of the STCW Convention where participants from various government and port agencies learned how they would be able to effectively implement the provisions of the 1978 STCW Convention, as amended, to achieve the knowledge and skills demanded by increasingly sophisticated shipping industry.
As of 2019, 164 nations, representing 99.2 percent of world shipping tonnage, have ratified the STCW treaty. Timor-Leste became a Member of IMO in 2005.
IMO has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Chile, to extend Chile's technical assistance to countries in the Caribbean region, in addition to Latin America. The MoU on Technical Cooperation, signed by the Directorate General of Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine (DIRECTEMAR) of the Republic of Chile, replaces earlier MoUs (signed in 2002 and 2005) and strengthens the collaboration between IMO and DIRECTEMAR for the provision of technical assistance in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region. This will particularly support the provision of experts (including Spanish-speaking experts) to deliver training in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Examples of IMO training supported by DIRECTEMAR include the provisions of expert for a needs assessment mission in Colombia for the effective implementation of its search and rescue plan (April 2019); a regional workshop to raise awareness of the UN 2030 Agenda and ensure that the maritime sector is fully integrated into the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which is the main platform for the collaboration of the UN system at country level (Chile, October 2018, pictured below)); the provision of an expert for the delivery of a regional workshop on the general principles of drafting maritime legislation to implement IMO Conventions, to be held in Guayaquil, Ecuador (5-9 August 2019); and a planned workshop on the ratification and implementation of IMO's air pollution and energy efficiency regulations (MARPOL Annex VI), to be held in Viña del Mar, Chile (30 September-2 October 2019). The new MoU with DIRECTEMAR will help ensure further similar activities are supported in the Caribbean, as well as in Latin America.
The MoU was signed (pictured, top)) by Vice-Admiral Ignacio Mardones Costa, Director General of DIRECTEMAR and Mr. Juvenal J.M. Shiundu, Acting Director, Technical Cooperation Division, IMO, at IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom (18 July). The signing ceremony was attended by representatives of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Chile, France, El Salvador, Guyana, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Panama, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, and the territories of Aruba (the Netherlands), Bermuda (United Kingdom), Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba (the Netherlands), French Guiana (France), Montserrat (United Kingdom) and Sint Maarten.
Good maritime and port security is the enabler for maritime and economic development through maritime trade. It can be taken for granted when it works, but maintaining good security is essential. To support this, IMO and the Pacific Community, in collaboration with the Government of Vanuatu, are holding a Regional Maritime Security Workshop in Port Vila, Vanuatu (22-25 July).
The workshop coincides with IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim's visit to Vanuatu, Fiji and Australia - the first time an IMO Secretary General visits the South Pacific (photos).
The regional workshop brings together Heads of Designated Authorities and port facility security officers (PFSOs) from 14 countries to discuss ways to cooperate at the national level to provide the necessary support required in order to take ownership of the implementation and compliance with the provisions of IMO's maritime security regime, including SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Several port operators are also attending. Participants will improve their knowledge and to perform maritime security duties, as well as acquiring the knowledge and skills to train others with similar responsibilities.
The first two days aim to provide PFSOs with essential knowledge, confidence and tools to be able to address nonconformities that are commonly identified during security audits and assessment. This includes carrying out of risk assessments, coordinating drills and exercises, and delivering security training.
The last two days bring together the Heads of Maritime Administrations and PFSOs to review implementation of maritime security instruments in the region, share best practices and experiences, promote cooperation between port and designated authorities, identify challenges and propose solutions for effective and coordinated implementation of maritime security at the national level. The workshop will include testing a a verification manual - a new tool for officials of the Designated Authorities under the ISPS Code.
Guest speakers from the US Coast Guard International Port Security Programme, as well as Australia's Maritime Safety Agency and Maritime New Zealand are also at the workshop.
The IMO instruments covering liability and compensation for damage, such as pollution, caused by ships are a key element in the global treaty regime adopted by IMO. A national workshop in Costa Rica (16-18 July) provided an opportunity for national participants to learn about the relevant treaties, their principles and implementation, with an additional focus on compensation and claims.
The course covered the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC),and the International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (FUND) regime; the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC); the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage and the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS). To date, Costa Rica is only party to the CLC convention.
The workshop was organized by IMO in collaboration with IOPC Funds, P&I Clubs and Prefectura Naval Argentina, and is being implemented by IMO's Regional partner The Central American Commission of Maritime Transport (COCATRAM). It was hosted by the Maritime Authority of Costa Rica.
Saudi Arabia has acceded to two important IMO treaties – the 1988 Protocol to the International Convention on Load Lines and the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks.
The 1988 Load Lines protocol harmonizes the Load Lines Convention's survey and certification requirement with those contained in the SOLAS and MARPOL conventions and revises certain regulations in the technical Annexes to the convention.
The Nairobi Convention provides the legal basis for States to remove, or have removed, shipwrecks that may have the potential to affect adversely the safety of lives, goods and property at sea, as well as the marine environment.
A delegation from Saudi Arabia, led by HRH Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, deposited the instruments or accession with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim during the 122nd meeting of the IMO Council in London this week (15-19 July).
Germany is the latest country to accede to IMO's treaty for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling – the Hong Kong Convention.
The Convention 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 treaty, 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.
Mr. Reinhard Klingen, Director-General Waterways and Shipping in the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure of Germany, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (16 July) to deposit the instrument of accession.
The 13 contracting States to the Convention represent 29.42% of world merchant shipping tonnage.
South Africa has become the latest country to accede to a key compensation treaty covering the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ship.
When in force, the treaty will provide a regime of liability and compensation for damage caused by HNS cargoes transported by sea, including oil and chemicals, and covers not only pollution damage, but also the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life or personal injury as well as loss of or damage to property. An HNS Fund will be established, to pay compensation once shipowner's liability is exhausted. This Fund will be financed through contributions paid post incident by receivers of HNS cargoes.
As required by the treaty, South Africa provided data on the total quantities of liable contributing cargo. Entry into force of the treaty requires accession by at least 12 States, meeting certain criteria in relation to tonnage and reporting annually the quantity of HNS cargo received in a State. The treaty requires a total quantity of at least 40 million tonnes of cargo contributing to the general account to have been received in the preceding calendar year.
The Honourable Mr. Fikile April Mbalula, Minister of Transport, South Africa, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London, (15 July) to deposit the instrument of accession to the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (2010 HNS Convention).
The treaty has now been ratified by five States (Canada, Denmark, Norway, South Africa and Turkey).
"Just-In-Time" (JIT) operations have the potential to cut the time ships spend idling outside ports and help reduce harmful emissions as well as save on fuel costs. This can be achieved by communicating in advance the relevant information to the ship about the requested time of arrival - allowing the ship to adjust to optimum speed. A desktop trial in Just-In-Time ship operations has yielded positive results, showing emissions can be cut considerably. The trial was conducted by members of the IMO-led Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA), at the Port of Rotterdam (10 July).
Technical adviser Astrid Dispert said, "More validation is needed and ultimately a real-time Just-in-Time trial - which is what we are working towards. But the desktop exercise showed the potential and the clear benefit that early communication between ships, port authorities and terminals can bring as it allows speed optimisation during the voyage."
During the desktop exercise, a voyage between Bremerhaven and Rotterdam (247 nm distance) was simulated a couple of times. In the first business as usual scenario, the ship receives an update on when it is requested to arrive at the pilot boarding place at the first Calling In Point (when the ship is in VHF radio range, around 30nm from port). The time that the ship is requested to arrive at the pilot boarding place is dependent on a number of variables, including the availability of the terminal as well as pilots and tugs. But the information is often only sent when the ship is already relatively close to port.
In the second Just-In-Time scenario, the ship receives several updates much sooner in the voyage to Rotterdam, on when to arrive at the pilot boarding place. The ship can then adjust speed to its optimum speed.
Comparing the two scenarios, 23% less fuel was consumed in the Just-In-Time scenario – a significant reduction in fuel and therefore emissions.
Data from this exercise will be fed into a Just-In-Time guide being prepared by the GIA. The exercise was conducted by representatives from the Port of Rotterdam, Maersk, MSC, IMO and Inchcape Shipping.
The GIA is an innovative public-private partnership initiative of the IMO, under the framework of the GEF-UNDP-IMO Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project that aims to bring together maritime industry leaders to support an energy efficient and low carbon maritime transport system.
The benefits and implications of acceding to the 1996 London Protocol on the prevention of marine pollution by dumping of wastes and other matter in the South Asian Seas Region were discussed at a regional workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh (10-11 July).
The main objectives of the workshops were to inform relevant authorities of the benefits and implications of ratifying, implementing and enforcing the London Protocol. The purpose of the London Convention is to control all sources of marine pollution and prevent pollution of the sea through regulation of dumping into the sea of waste materials. A special emphasis was also placed on the protection of ports and ocean environment.
The regional workshop was followed up by a national workshop for Bangladesh (12 July), attended by around 30 participants from Government ministries, agencies, state enterprises and academia.
The regional workshop was attended by participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Lead by IMO and the South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), the event was hosted by the Government of Bangladesh in Dhaka.
Fishing is considered one of the most hazardous occupation in the world and, despite improvements in technology, the loss of life in the fisheries sector is unacceptably high.
In order to improve the safety of fishers and fishing vessels, IMO has put in place, over the years, several initiatives, culminating with the adoption of the Cape Town Agreement of 2012.
Accra, Ghana, was the host for a regional seminar (8-12 July), on "Ensuring Safety Of Ships and Fishing", to encourage discussion on promoting and ensuring safety in the fishing industry. The event also provided Member Governments with the assistance they may need in implementing the Agreement.
The 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA) will provide international standards for the safety of fishing vessels. It outlines regulations designed to protect the safety of crews and observers and provides a level playing field for the industry while setting standards for fishing vessels of 24 meters length and over.
Many Member States have observed a link between lack of safety at sea, forced labour and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The entry into force of the Agreement is expected to improve safety at sea in the fisheries sector worldwide. It will also be a useful tool in combatting IUU fishing and reducing pollution from fishing vessels, including marine debris.
In an important move, the Minister of Transport of Ghana, Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah urged the Ghana Maritime Authority to set the process in motion for the ratification of the Cape Town Agreement. Fishing is an important industry for Ghana, a major exporter of canned seafood, including tuna.
So far, 11 states have ratified the agreement with 1,413 vessels out of the required 3,600 for entry into force. In Africa, only Congo and South Africa have ratified the Agreement.
The event was organized by IMO in collaboration with FAO, and Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew). It was attended by participants from nine countries in the West and Central Africa region.
How do you deal with maritime crimes at sea - and how do you train others to do so? These are the skills being taught on the latest in a series of regional training of trainers courses on combating insecurity in the maritime domain. Participants from 18 countries* are attending the course, at the Mohammed Bin Naif Academy for Maritime Science and Security Studies, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (30 June - 11 July).
Participants are learning teaching skills. They are also becoming familiar with how to deal with maritime crimes at sea, including piracy/robbery, drug trafficking, marine terrorism, weapons smuggling, and human trafficking. The training is being conducted by subject matter experts from the Saudi Arabia Border Guard, International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent and IMO
The course is jointly organised by IMO and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the auspices of the Jeddah Amendment to Djibouti Code of Conduct. It is part of a training programme to prepare selected participants to acquire the necessary skills to deliver training in their own countries and regionally. This is the tenth course in a series under a sponsorship programme of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through IMO. To date, 226 students from across the region have benefitted from the training, since 2013.
* Bahrain, Bangladesh, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen.
Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear can continue to capture and kill marine animals and may cause navigational hazards – as well as contributing to the global marine litter problem. IMO is working closely with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on reducing marine plastic litter from fishing vessels, including fishing gear, as part of the IMO Action Plan on the Reduction of Marine Plastic Litter. This collaboration includes IMO participation at a series of regional FAO-led workshops on best practices to prevent and reduce abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear.
Participants at the second regional workshop, in Bali, Indonesia (8-11 July), discussed the usefulness of developing a practical guide on the application of IMO's MARPOL Annex V for small fishing vessels and fisheries ports. This could help to promote port reception facilities for the delivery of fishing nets, the application of garbage management plans on small fishing ships and the use of reporting mechanisms for lost fishing gear. IMO addresses marine plastic litter in the oceans through both MARPOL Annex V (which prohibits the discharge of plastics into the sea from all vessels) and through the London Convention/London Protocol regime, which ensures that plastics do not enter the sea as part of any wastes allowed for dumping at sea.
The regional workshop, like the others in the series, focused largely on the practical application of the recommendations contained in the FAO's Voluntary Guidelines on the Marking of Fishing Gear (VGMFG)) in the countries of the region. Another opportunity to discuss the implementation of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear will be during the 4th session of the Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Working Group on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Related Matters, to take place 21-23 October, in Torremolinos, Spain from following the IMO-Government of Spain Ministerial Conference on fishing vessel safety and IUU fishing (21-23 October
The workshop was organized jointly by FAO and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI). Participants represented Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor Leste, from national and regional authorities responsible for fisheries, and from ministries of transport and foreign affairs.