IMO to focus on piracy response in 2011 WMD theme
Following a proposal by IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, the IMO Council has unanimously approved that next year's World Maritime Day (WMD) theme should be "Piracy: orchestrating the response".
In presenting the proposal, the Secretary-General said that piracy continues to be an endemic problem for the international community, not only around the Horn of Africa but in other parts of the world as well, despite the many and varied efforts to contain, if not eradicate, it.
These efforts notwithstanding, he added, much work remains to be done if the ultimate goal of consigning piracy to the realms of history is to be achieved.
The Secretary-General identified five objectives that IMO and the international maritime community should pursue in promoting the 2011 WMD theme, namely:
- secure the release of hostages by calling the world's attention to the unacceptable plight of all those being held by pirates - seafarers, in the main - and, by so doing, create a worldwide demand for action that would eventually set them free;
- strengthen the protection of persons, ships and cargoes by constantly improving guidance to the industry; promoting even greater levels of support from navies; and providing care for those attacked or hijacked by pirates;
- ensure compliance with adopted measures by making certain that merchant vessels are aware of how to access the available naval protection, and that they are implementing the recommended preventative, evasive and defensive measures effectively;
- promote co-operation between and among States, regions and organizations in reducing the risk of attacks on innocent ships through information-sharing; coordination of military and civil efforts; and regional initiatives, such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct; and
- build up the capacity of affected States to deter, interdict and bring to justice those who commit acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, thereby enhancing maritime law enforcement and the safety of life at sea. And, while so doing, help tackle the root causes of piracy through the provision of assistance to States for the development of their maritime capacities and the protection of their maritime resources. And, in the case of Somalia, to contribute, in any way possible, to the country moving to a state of stability that will, in due course, have a beneficial impact on the state at sea.
The choice of the theme for next year is intended to allow IMO not only to play its part by intensifying its efforts to meet the challenges of eradicating the scourge of piracy worldwide but, more importantly, to orchestrate the right response, among all concerned, to achieve the set objectives.
IMO Council agrees short-term funds transfer to support WMU
The IMO Council has agreed a £500,000 transfer from reserves in the Organization's Technical Co-operation (TC) Fund to provide short-term financial support for the World Maritime University (WMU) - thus endorsing fully the recommendation made by the Technical Co operation Committee (TCC), which had met the previous week. The TCC meeting had highlighted the current financial challenges of the University, which had arisen due to the withdrawal of funding from long-standing donors, coupled with the absence of new external sources of income during the serious, and continuing, global financial crisis.
The Council, meeting at IMO Headquarters for its 104th regular session, shared the concern expressed by the President of the University and the TC Committee over the reported projected budgetary shortfalls in 2010 and 2011 and authorized the Secretary-General to allocate up to £500,000 from the TC Fund reserves to support the finances of WMU during the current biennium.
The funds are to be transferred in two tranches, once for each of the calendar years of 2010 and 2011.
The Council also considered a number of proposals submitted by the Secretary-General regarding the future, long-term financial sustainability of WMU, as a response to a request of the IMO Assembly in resolution A.1031(26), which he, also in his capacity as Chancellor of the University, had submitted to IMO's most senior bodies (the Council and Assembly) last year. Further consideration of the proposals regarding the financial sustainability of the University will be continued by a correspondence group led by the University's host country, Sweden, and at the Council's next session, in November 2010.
WMU was founded by IMO in 1983, since when it has established an excellent reputation as the global centre for advanced education, training and research for specialist personnel from the international maritime community. Many of its graduates (2,855 from 158 countries) hold senior positions in maritime education, as heads of institutions or as professors. Others hold key posts in national ministries, maritime administrations, ports and shipping companies, or represent their Governments in a range of capacities at IMO and other international forums, enabling them to influence and direct maritime policy in their countries, regions and at the global level.
IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea 2010 to go to Scarlett Lucy crew member
The Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has endorsed the decision of a Panel of Judges that the 2010 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea should go to Fourth Engineer James Fanifau, a Fijian national, of the M/V Scarlett Lucy, nominated by Australia for his part in the dramatic rescue of two survivors from the sunken yacht Sumatra II, in May 2009, amid severe weather conditions in the Tasman Sea.
In rescuing one of the survivors, Mr. Fanifau placed himself in great danger. Exhibiting little regard for his own personal safety, he went over the side of his ship, into very rough seas, to pull an exhausted elderly man from the water and carry him to the safety of the ship. The Panel of Judges considered that Engineer Fanifau displayed extraordinary bravery and humanitarian concern and had gone far beyond the call of duty.
The Council also decided that, of the other nominees, four will receive Certificates of Commendation and five Letters of Commendation.
A total of 31 nominations from 16 IMO Member States were received and considered by an Assessment Panel consisting of experts nominated by various international non-governmental organizations. A Panel of Judges then met, under the chairmanship of the Chairman of the IMO Council, with the participation of the Chairmen of IMO's Maritime Safety, Marine Environment Protection, Legal, Technical Co operation, and Facilitation Committees.
A ceremony for the winner to receive his award will be held later in the year.
International Maritime Prize 2009 goes to Mr. Johan Franson (Sweden)
The IMO Council, meeting for its 104th session, has agreed to award the International Maritime Prize for 2009 to Mr. Johan Franson (Sweden), for his contribution to maritime safety, security and prevention of pollution from ships.
The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually by IMO to the individual or organization judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of the Organization.
Mr. Franson joined the Swedish Maritime Administration as a lawyer in 1977, rising to General Legal Counsel and then Director of Maritime Safety and Head of the Swedish Maritime Safety Inspectorate, posts which he held from 1995 until 2008. He served as a Deputy Director General of the Administration from 1999 to 1995 and as Director General throughout 2009.
A Swedish delegate to IMO since the early 1980s, Mr. Franson was Chairman of the IMO Council from 2005 to 2009 and served as an elected officer on many other occasions, the posts including: President of the Diplomatic Conference on maritime security, which led to the adoption of SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code; Chairman of Committee 1 of the IMO Assembly (on two occasions); Chairman of the IMO Council's working group on the Organization's strategic plan; Chairman of the working group, which successfully developed the Code for the Implementation of Mandatory IMO instruments; and Vice-Chairman of the IMO Council during the early 2000s.
Mr. Franson played a key role as policy and technical adviser to the Swedish Government on maritime issues, and his expertise and competence became evident following the tragic loss of the Estonia in 1994. He led the Swedish delegation to the 1995 SOLAS Conference, which adopted a number of measures in the wake of the Estonia tragedy, including those related to damage stability.
The presentation of the prize to Mr. Franson will be made at a ceremony to be held later in the year.