The Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), meeting for its 28th session in London, is expected to adopt key resolutions and amendments relating to the Organization’s mandatory audit scheme, paving the way for the scheme to come into effect by 2016 once amendments to mandatory instruments have entered into force.
The 28th Assembly of IMO will meet in London at IMO Headquarters from 25 November to 4 December 2013. All 170 Member States and three Associate Members are entitled to attend the Assembly, which is IMO’s highest governing body. The intergovernmental organizations with which agreements of co-operation have been concluded and international non-governmental organizations in consultative status with IMO are also invited to attend.
The Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session. It is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organization. It also elects the Organization’s 40-Member Council.
Council extraordinary session
The Assembly will be preceded by the twenty-seventh extraordinary session of the Council, on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 November.
IMO Member State audit scheme
The mandatory audit scheme is seen as a key tool for assessing Member States’ performance in meeting their obligations and responsibilities as flag, port and coastal States under the relevant IMO treaties and then offering the necessary assistance, where required, for them to meet their obligations fully and effectively.
The Assembly is expected to adopt the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code), which provides a global standard to enable States to meet their obligations as flag, port and/or coastal States; the Framework and Procedures for the IMO Member State Audit Scheme; the 2013 non-exhaustive list of obligations under instruments relevant to the III Code; and a resolution on transitional arrangements.
The Assembly is also expected to adopt amendments to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966; the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969; and the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amended, to make the III Code and auditing of its provisions and those of those Conventions mandatory
Following this, the Organization is expected, during 2014, to adopt similar draft amendments (which have already been approved by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC)) to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended; the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966; the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended; and Annexes I to VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto, as amended, and its 1997 Protocol.
The adoption of the various amendments and their entry into force will form the basis for an institutionalized Audit Scheme.
Strategic plan and budget
The Organization’s updated strategic and high-level action plans and the related results-based budget for 2014-2015 will be presented to the Assembly for adoption.
Adoption of resolutions
The Assembly will review the work carried out by the Organization during the biennium 2012 to 2013. A number of draft resolutions have been submitted by the various IMO Committees for adoption by the Assembly, which will also consider, for adoption, any resolutions submitted by the Council’s 27th Extraordinary Session. The topics covered by such resolutions include:
• Prevention and suppression of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in west and central Africa
• Guidelines on the preservation and collection of evidence following an allegation of a serious crime having taken place on board a ship or following a report of a missing person from a ship, and pastoral and medical care of persons affected;
• Revised guidelines on implementation of the ISM Code by Administrations;
• Revised guidelines for the structure of an integrated system of contingency planning for shipboard emergencies;
• Revised guidelines to assist investigators in the implementation of the Casualty Investigation Code;
• Recommendations for the training and certification of personnel on mobile offshore units (MOUs);
• Application of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004;
• Entry into force and implementation of the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 on the Implementation of the Provisions of the Torremolinos Protocol of 1993 relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977;
• Implementation of the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL);
• Voluntary application of the IMO Ship Identification Number Scheme to fishing vessels of 100 gross tons and above;
• Amendments to the survey guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC);
• Revised guidelines for the designation of special areas under MARPOL 73/78;
• Recommendation on the use of adequately qualified deep-sea pilots in the North Sea, English Channel and Skagerrak; and in the Baltic; and
• Use of national tonnage in applying international conventions.
2013 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea
On the evening of the opening day of the Assembly, on Monday 25 November, the 2013 IMO Awards for Exceptional Bravery at Sea
and Certificates of Commendation will be presented at a special ceremony.