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Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases, 17th session, 4 to 8 February 2013 (opening address)

February 4, 2013

ADDRESS OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
AT THE OPENING OF THE SEVENTEENTH SESSION OF
THE SUB-COMMITTEE ON BULK AND LIQUID GASES
(4 – 8 February 2013)

Thank you Mr Chairman, good morning distinguished delegates,
 
It is a really great pleasure for me to welcome you all on-board to this seventeenth session of the BLG Sub-Committee.
This meeting is the third Sub-Committee meeting, following FP and COMSAR, this year.  And at those two meetings, I set out some bold targets.  In the field of anti-piracy activities, I stated that we should aim at eradication of maritime piracy and the complete release of hostages as soon as possible. We need to do more and we need further efforts.  We should not be complacent, although last year (2012) was an encouraging year.  In this regard, I sent letters to 24 States and 2 organizations urging them to maintain naval forces in the Gulf of Aden. We also contacted industry organizations and asked them to urge companies to continue the consistent application of the Best Management Practices.  We are also taking initiatives to establish new maritime security arrangements off the coasts of western Africa and other areas and the security section is working on the new initiatives.
 
In the safety field, I declared that reducing lives lost by half is my target. We need collective efforts and I have asked the Director of the Technical Cooperation Division to expand our plan for domestic ferry safety and accelerate implementation of the relevant IMO projects.  We are promoting the idea of an “Accident Zero Campaign” and IALA is working on possible new mechanisms.
 
As I have said at previous meetings, I am promoting the ratification and early entry into force of the Cape Town Agreement to implement the safety standards of the Torremolinos Protocol as soon as possible, and particularly asking all Contracting States of the Torremolinos Protocol to send their representatives to IMO Headquarters and sign the Cape Town Agreement as soon as possible, within the specifically arranged, one-year period allocated under the Cape Town Agreement, which will start in one week from now on Monday, 11 February next week.
 
Those Contracting States, which have already accepted and implemented safety standards of the Torremolinos Protocol nationally, should not have any practical, administrative, legal or procedural problems to accept the Cape Town Agreement and should be able to sign it straightaway without any difficulties.  Their collective signatures would significantly move the international and global implementation of the safety regime for fishing vessel towards reality.
 
While asking those Signatories to sign the Agreement, I encourage all those States which have large fishing fleets and which have not yet ratified the Torremolinos Protocol to start the national process to ratify the Cape Town Agreement. The Cape Town Agreement has changed the application provisions and removed major obstacles for so called domestic fishing fleets through the negotiation process over the past 5 years and I really hope that those States with large fishing fleets could accept the revised regime of fishing vessel safety established by the Cape Town Agreement.
 
As I stated in my COMSAR opening address, I would like to once again briefly touch upon the situation surrounding the Costa Concordia. One year ago, I stated that the speedy completion of the full casualty investigation would be fundamental for IMO to take necessary action. In May last year, the Maritime Safety Committee debated a work plan for passenger ship safety and I was seriously anticipating the expected casualty investigation report to be provided at the November session of MSC. When I realized that the report could not be finalized before that session, I was disappointed and concerned about any delay to our action.  Now, according to our team from the Secretariat, with strong cooperation and support provided by our focal point here and in Italy, the core casualty investigation has been finalized and we have now all good reasons to believe that the report would be prepared and made available in March. If this is the case, the next Maritime Safety Committee in June would be able to discuss all aspects of the casualty investigation report and take the necessary action.  I would like to urge the Italian authorities to ensure that the casualty investigation report is presented to MSC in time.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, the world is moving on as we enter the 21st century.
 
Over the last decade, we have seen:
 
• security incidents, including 9/11 and piracy off the coast of Somalia;
• expansion of new and emerging economies;
• an extremely profitable period for shipping up to the 2008 credit and financial crisis;
• a contraction in the world economy in 2009;
• a large number of contracts for new buildings and a current over supply of ships; and
• a sharp reduction of transport demand.
 
Shipping is in an adjustment period. We have encountered a number of natural disasters and earthquakes reminding us of the need for a resilient society.  The tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster have shaken and damaged our confidence in science and technology. But, we need to rebuild our confidence.  Certainly in the maritime field, new technology and innovation are key factors in exploring a new generation of safe, secure, efficient and sustainable shipping.
 
The world is at a turning point.  Climate change requires solutions, but the current global decision-making process is struggling. Industry and people are looking for solutions within the framework of sustainable development. We need leadership for a new generation, towards new governance. We need leadership towards new partnerships - new private-public partnerships and new public-public partnerships.  It is time to move towards new ways of handling our business and a new mechanism.  That is why I am promoting the concept of sustainable development for the maritime industry and that is why I am promoting new ways for conducting our technical cooperation activities based on national transport policies and country profiles for Technical Cooperation needs and that is why I am promoting review and reform in all aspects of our activities at IMO.
 
The fiscal situation of Member Governments does not allow a relaxed approach. This leads to a need for tight budgetary control at IMO, and a need for an approach towards the Mixed Zero Growth scenario I suggested to the Council:
 
• we need more efficient ways of doing our business;
• we need to adapt ourselves to changing society and changing needs; and
• we should apply a holistic approach, of which Sub-Committee restructuring is an important part of the whole process of the review and reform.
 
I do not need to repeat the Council endorsement in principle of the way forward with the initial proposal for modifications to the Sub-Committee’s structure.  The Council requested the MSC and MEPC to consider the implications and practicability of the proposal.  Based on the discussions at the Maritime Safety Committee, the Secretariat is now preparing a framework document for the MEPC and MSC. In the process of informal consultations, we have started consultation with the relevant Chairmen seeking their views and I want to involve as many delegates as possible.
 
There is no formal item on your agenda for this session, but it is important that you express your views, so that the Secretariat can take them into account and reflect them in our framework for further discussion at the MSC and MEPC.  So, I suggest therefore that the Sub-Committee discusses this element of Sub-Committee restructuring under Any Other Business.
And now, turning to the Agenda and relevant technical issues under the Sub-Committee:
 
On the evaluation of safety and pollution hazards of chemicals and preparation of consequential amendments:
 
- I would like to express appreciation to the ESPH Working Group for its on-going effort in evaluating new products in line with required safety and pollution standards as well as its recent work in delivering the 2012 amendments to the IBC Code;
 
- referring to the Group’s work on the review of criteria in chapter 21 of the IBC Code for the assignment of carriage requirements, in order to address any anomalies present in the current product listings, I would like to emphasize that the fundamental principle of this review is that there cannot be a compromise with respect to existing safety standards.
 
On additional guidelines for implementation of Ballast Water Management Convention:
- I have serious concern that, more than eight years after its adoption, the conditions for entry into force have not yet been met – a little less than 6 per cent of gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping is still needed to bring the Convention into force;
- I understand some very positive steps were taken at MEPC 64 to address this concern. The coming MEPC 65 will consider the draft Assembly resolution prepared by a correspondence group for adoption by the Assembly this year, with a view to agreeing the necessary measures for the smooth entry into force of the Convention and giving confidence to the shipping industry to install Ballast Water Management Systems;
- I urge the Sub-Committee to contribute to this effort by finalizing the draft circular on ballast water sampling and analysis.  You may wish to consider setting up a trial period for the circular, taking into account the need to further improvement.
 
On the development of an international code of safety for ships using gases or other low flash fuels, an IGF code:
- there is a worldwide trend to use LNG as a ship fuel for international shipping, which has high efficiency and a lower environmental impact through a reduction in SOx, NOx,  particular matters and CO2 emissions;
 
- I urge the Sub-Committee to accelerate its work on the development of an IGF code;
 
- the timely finalization and adoption of an IGF code will allow ships to have an additional option to meet the more stringent SOx and NOx emission reduction requirements.

- I also urge the Sub-Committee to consider the need to amend the NOx Technical Code 2008 to include gas as a test fuel so as to ensure dual fuel engines are appropriately certified; and I encourage Governments and industry to make efforts to consider the growing need for a global gas fuel bunkering network to be established so as to enable those technologies to be fully exploited by international shipping.
 
On the development of a revised IGC Code, I urge the Sub-Committee to finalize the revised IGC Code after five years of hard work, taking into account the latest advances in science and technology, for approval by MSC 92 in June this year.
 
And finally on consideration of the impact on the Arctic of emissions of Black Carbon from international shipping:
- this work again demonstrates the Organization’s commitment to protect the marine environment and, in particular, sensitive areas; 
 
- I urge the Sub-Committee to expedite the work so that the MEPC could consider incorporating provisions on the reduction of shipping emissions of Black Carbon in the draft Polar Code; and
 
- in case the Sub-Committee believes that more time is needed to develop appropriate recommendations to the MEPC, that then, this should not be used as an excuse to delay the finalization and adoption of the draft Polar Code.
 
Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, with this I intend to conclude this opening address.  You are in the good and experienced hands of the Chairman, Mr. Sveinung Oftedal of Norway.
 
I wish you all the best for a productive and efficient meeting this week I wish to remind you that this evening, as usual, I intend to organize a small drinks reception, and I am looking forward to seeing you there this evening. 
 
Thank you, Mr Chairman.
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