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Supporting domestic ferry safety in the Pacific

27/03/2015 IMO has taken part in the Pacific Forum on Domestic Ferry Safety in Suva, Fiji (25-27 March), which considered the progress of Pacific Island countries and territories following the last meeting of the Forum in 2012, at which a 12-point Action Plan to improve domestic ferry safety had been developed. Nicolaos Charalambous, Director Technical Cooperation Division, represented IMO at the event, which was jointly organized by IMO and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and funded by IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP). 

Boosting regional maritime security coordination in west and central Africa

26/03/2015 A regional workshop organized by IMO, in cooperation with the Government of Angola, is being held in Luanda, Angola (24-27 March), to discuss the implementation of the Code of Conduct concerning the repression of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in west and central Africa, through the establishment of the Inter-regional Coordination Centre (ICC), to be based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The ICC is expected to play a strategic role in enhancing maritime security in west Africa, where IMO is also targeting capacity-building efforts. The function of the ICC is to put in place a “permanent mechanism of national points of contact in order to foster cooperation and avoid duplication of efforts” amongst the multitude of donors and initiatives.

The ICC will therefore provide a means for establishing cooperation, coordination and communication between Member States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) at the strategic level, including the exchange of information on maritime security issues, best practice and cooperation on capacity building, as well as contributing to countering piracy, armed robbery and other illicit activities at sea such as fisheries crime.

The workshop brings together senior officers from 18 countries at management level, who are responsible for maritime issues and are familiar with international maritime instruments, regional agreements, and their country’s policies on the maritime sector. ECOWAS, the Gulf of Guinea Commission and the ICC are also attending. IMO is represented by Mr. Chris Trelawny, Special Adviser to the IMO Secretary-General on Maritime Security and Facilitation.

The Inter-regional Coordination Centre was initially mandated by the Declaration of Heads of State, at the meeting held in Yaoundé in June 2013, which also adopted the Code of Conduct. The establishment of the ICC took a step forward when, in June 2014, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) signed an Additional Protocol to establish the centre. ​​


Supporting counter-terrorism in Tunisia

26/03/2015 The UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED) is conducting a visit (25-26 March) to Tunisia to assess progress on countermeasures put in place by the Government to prevent and manage security incidents since the committee’s last visit in 2010. IMO is represented by Henrik Madsen as part of the delegation of UN and partner agencies with mandates in border management and law enforcement.

Meetings are scheduled with authorities responsible for implementation and enforcement of maritime security measures to assess the level of implementation, provide recommendations, and identify technical assistance needs in relation to the provisions of key UN Security Council Resolutions that fall within the scope of IMO measures.

​​Underwater noise impacts explained

26/03/2015 Underwater-radiated noise from commercial ships may have both short and long-term negative consequences on marine life, especially marine mammals. IMO’s Edward Kleverlaan, Head, Office for LC/LP & Ocean Affairs, has outlined IMO’s work on measures to reduce underwater noise, including the Guidelines for the reduction of underwater noise from commercial shipping to address adverse impacts on marine life (MEPC.1/Circ.833), at the World Organisation of Dredging Associations (WODA) Workshop on Underwater Sound in Relation to Dredging​, in Paris, France (26 March). ​ 

​​Secretary-General promotes Maritime Ambassador scheme in Guatemala

25/03/2015 IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu on Tuesday (24 March) continued his central America tour with a visit to Guatemala, where he met the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Carlos Raúl Morales Moscoso (pictured). The two discussed the development of Guatemala’s national maritime policy and Guatemala’s intention to meet “white list” status in terms of the STCW​ seafarer training and certification convention. Mr. Sekimizu also spoke to foreign policy university students, and outlined the IMO Maritime Ambassador scheme.

During his stay in Guatemala, Mr. Sekimizu will also meet representatives from Guatemala’s Maritime Administration Commission, Maritime Authority, Port Authority, and other organizations involved with maritime activity in the country. ​​​​


Addressing maritime traffic

25/03/2015 IMO has delivered a regional seminar in Bahrain on the benefits of the IMO Facilitation (FAL) Convention, which deals with the various clearance procedures required when ships enter or leave ports. Designed to encourage more states to ratify the Convention, the seminar focused on the practical use of electronic data exchange between ships and shore, using the so-called “single-window” concept. IMO’s Alper Keceli led the event, which was attended by representatives from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, UAE and Bahrain (23-25 March). 

Changing landscape of spill preparedness and response

25/03/2015 ​Current issues and challenges in oil spill response will set the context at the Interspill 2015 conference in Amsterdam (24-26 March). IMO is taking part in many discussions on the changing landscape of spill preparedness and response and its impact on shipping activities. IMO is also speaking at a seminar to share its positive experience in working together with industry to improve international oil spill preparedness. In addition, a stand manned by the IMO publishing team also features at the Conference where participants can learn more about the latest titles and digital products. (watch video on this topic

​​El Salvador signs technical cooperation agreement with IMO

24/03/2015 A new agreement on supporting the Republic of El Salvador to implement IMO treaties was signed in San Salvador on Monday (23 March). IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu, who is on a visit to central America, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, Hugo Martinez, signed the Letter of Understanding on technical cooperation between the Government of El Salvador and IMO, which outlines the intention of IMO to assist El Salvador in implementing important IMO international conventions, including the MARPOL, OPRC and STCW​ treaties. (View photos and video here​.)

During his visit to El Salvador, Secretary-General Sekimizu paid a courtesy visit to the Vice President of the Republic, Oscar Ortiz, and held meetings with officials from the El Salvador Maritime and Port Authority and the Ministries of Transport and Foreign Affairs. Mr. Sekimizu also visited a seafarer training centre and the UNESCO World Heritage Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site. 

Secretary-General Sekimizu is continuing his central America tour with visits to Guatemala and Honduras.


Learning about salvage, wrecks and HNS cargos

24/03/2015 IMO’s Jan De Boer has delivered a presentation on the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks at the Interspill 2015 conference in Amsterdam (23 March). The presentation formed part of a short course on Salvage, Wrecks and Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS), which examined the issues surrounding casualty response from a salvor’s viewpoint and addressed the challenge of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) cargos. In particular, cost recovery under international legislation relevant to salvage, wreck removal and HNS was considered.

The Nairobi Convention was adopted at an IMO international conference held in Kenya in 2007 and is set to enter into force on 14 April 2015. The Convention will provide 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.

The short course also included presentations by the salvage industry and IOPC Funds.

Life-boat servicing and smoke control on Sub-Committee agenda

23/03/2015 IMO Assistant Secretary-General Andy Winbow opened the second session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) (23-27 March) which is being chaired by Dr. Susumu Ota (Japan). The meeting will finalize and further its work on a number of items, including requirements for periodic servicing and maintenance of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear; in-service testing of auto sprinkler systems; performance standards and requirements for smoke management systems; and consideration of the need for measures for onboard lifting appliances and winches. ​(Click for photos)​​​ 

​​Benefits of London Protocol promoted in Tanzania

23/03/2015 The implications and benefits of acceding to the 1996 “London Protocol” to the 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter are being discussed at an IMO-led national workshop in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania (23-24 March), hosted by the Tanzania Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA).

The workshop is being attended by some 30 participants from Government agencies, private sector and academia, with the participation of IMO’s Fred Haag. Tanzania is currently a Party to the 1972 Convention. While the 1972 treaty prohibits the dumping at sea of wastes on a “black” list, and grey-listed materials require a special permit, the 1996 Protocol is seen as more beneficial in terms of protecting the environment, as it is more restrictive, prohibiting all dumping of wastes at sea, except for possibly acceptable wastes on the so-called "reverse list".​​


UN Oceans at IMO


Experts from UN agencies and the International Seabed Authority are gathering at IMO headquarters today for a meeting of UN Oceans, the international mechanism for cooperation on a wide range of ocean issues. Speaking at the opening of the meeting, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu spoke of the importance of adopting a collaborative approach to cross-cutting issues and delivering as one.


Maritime law enforcement course opens in Saudi Arabia

17/03/2015 Some 24 participants from Comoros, Djibouti, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Federal Government of Somalia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen are attending a three-week Maritime Law Enforcement course, at the Border Guards Maritime Training Institute, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (15 March to 2 April), thanks to sponsorship from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The course is being conducted under the auspices of the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC​) and the Djibouti Regional Training Centre with the support and joint supervision of the IMO Secretariat’s Kiruja Micheni, and the Border Guard’s Captain Jebreel Al-Hazmi. The course covers internationally-recognised best practices for planning and conduct of law enforcement operations at sea, from a regional perspective and includes theory and practice in planning and ex-ecution of maritime law enforcement using simulators, with instruction delivered by trainers from Saudi Arabia, the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Centre (NMIOTC), and the EU MARSIC Project.

The training course was officially opened by Staff General Badr Bin Hamdi Al-Jabri, Commander of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Border Guards in the Mecca region and is the fourth course sponsored by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Djibouti Code of Conduct is entering a new phase with countries in the region taking greater responsibility for implementing and coordinating its counter piracy activities. ​


​​Passenger ship safety in focus

17/03/2015 Current and future issues relating to passenger ship safety and operation are on the agenda as IMO’s Andrew Winbow, Assistant Secretary-General, Director, Maritime Safety Division provides the regulatory perspective at a panel discussion on “Enhancement of Safety Measures at Sea” (17 March) at Cruise Shipping Miami 2015.  

​​Polar Code infographic now available in six languages

16/03/2015 The IMO infographic What does the polar code mean for ship safety?, focusing on the safety aspects of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code), is now available to download in Arabic, Chinese, English French, Russian and Spanish. The Polar Code was adopted in November 2014 along with related amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to make it mandatory. Download the infographic here.  

Supporting west and central Africa

14/03/2015 Maritime capacity building was on the agenda during a national seminar "Flag State Implementation and Maritime Legislation Review" in Banjul, the Gambia, which was held following a five-day needs assessment mission (9 – 13 March). The activity, facilitated by IMO, was part of the capacity building programme for 19 beneficiary countries in west and central Africa under the framework of the FlagPort WACAF project, which aims at ensuring compliance with IMO instruments for countries in the region with a view to upgrading the region’s maritime administrations.

The FlagPort WACAF project, which is funded by the European Union (EU) through the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), seeks to prepare the beneficiary countries for the mandatory IMO audit scheme, enhance safety and security, port efficiency, protection of the marine environment from pollution; and improve the working and living conditions of personnel on board ships, with the overall objective being Africa’s economic growth, connectivity and the promotion of regional integration.

Capt. Dallas Laryea, IMO Regional Coordinator, west and central Africa (Anglophone) and Ms Mara Luciano, Support Staff Expert for the FlagPort WACAF Project, facilitated the national seminar. 

IMO at Arctic Summit

13/03/2015 As sea ice decreases and Arctic navigation becomes more prevalent, IMO is developing the Polar Code to address ship safety and environmental protection in Polar waters. IMO’s Heike Deggim gave an update on progress to the Economist magazine’s 2015 Arctic Summit in Oslo, Norway (12 March), reporting that safety aspects of the Code were adopted in November 2014 and environmental provisions are expected to be adopted in May this year. When in force, the Polar Code will be mandatory for all ships on international voyages through Polar waters. (Photo: Mark Garten) ​ 

The maritime world women want

13/03/2015 ​​The maritime industry needs more women, particularly in leadership roles. The World Maritime University (WMU) and IMO are launching a book to highlight the achievements of women in the maritime sector. IMO`s Pamela Tansey, also a contributor to the book, is delivering a keynote address at the launch, which is being held at the World Maritime University today (13 March).

The book - Maritime Women: Global Leadership - is a compilation of scientific papers presented at the ‘Maritime Women: Global Leadership’ international conference hosted by WMU last year, in cooperation with IMO.
In conjunction with the book launch, WMU is hosting a forum in collaboration with IMO to discuss the advancement of women in the maritime sector. Sessions entitled “The Maritime World We Want” and “Tools for Implementing Gender Equality in the Maritime Sector,” will cover the topics of policy, career, education, leadership, and sustainability, with distinguished guest speakers who will also participate in a panel discussion.


IMO-IOM discuss joint database on unsafe mixed migration by sea

12/03/2015 As a follow up to the outcomes of the inter-agency High-level Meeting to Address Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea held at IMO Headquarters, London last week (4-5 March), Mr. Irfan Rahim, Senior Project Officer, Project Leader: Prevention of Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea, is in Geneva (12 March) to meet senior officials of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to discuss matters pertaining to the setting up of a joint database to better manage the flow of information on incidents associated with unsafe and irregular mixed migration. ​ 

Marine environment treaties implementation in East Asia

11/03/2015 Dr. Jose Matheickal, Head ITCP Implementation and Major Projects from IMO’s Marine Environment Division and Ms. Josephine Uranza, IMO’s Regional Coordinator for East Asia, participated in the first high-level regional meeting covering the IMO project to Assist East Asian Countries in Ratifying and Implementing IMO Instruments for the Protection of the Marine Environment (10-11 March). The regional meeting, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was attended by the heads of maritime administrations, national focal points and national experts of the participating countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam). The meeting concludes the planning phase of the project, which is being sponsored by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) through the IMO/NORAD Cooperation Programme. Through this project, each participating country is given support in order to assist the country in acceding to and effectively implementing key IMO marine environment protection conventions. ​ 

IMO-WCO meet on e-business compendium

11/03/2015 IMO’s Alper Keceli participated in the meeting of the WCO Data Model Project Team (DMPT) held at WCO Headquarters in Brussels (9-10 March). During this technical-level meeting, Mr. Keceli made a presentation to explain the background to the Facilitation Committee (FAL 39)’s decision on the maintenance of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business (IMO Compendium), the distribution of responsibilities between the two Organizations in relation to the IMO Compendium, and the outcomes expected. On the basis of the discussions, IMO and WCO will progress the work on the maintenance of the IMO Compendium and have agreed to create a special focus group team for maintaining IMO Compendium. ​ 

Lithuania accedes to Athens Protocol

10/03/2015 The Ambassador of Lithuania, H.E. Mrs Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė has met with IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu (10 March) to deposit the instrument of accession to the Protocol of 2002 to the Athens Convention Relating to Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 1974. The Protocol introduces compulsory insurance to cover passengers on ships and raises the limits of liability. It also introduces other mechanisms to assist passengers in obtaining compensation, based on well-accepted principles applied in existing liability and compensation regimes dealing with environmental pollution. 

E-Navigation and GMDSS on agenda

09/03/2015 The second meeting of IMO’s Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communication, Search and Rescue (NCSR) got underway today (9 March) at IMO headquarters. E-navigation, the modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and proposed changes to shipping lanes to give greater protection to the Great Barrier Reef are among items on a busy agenda. The Sub-Committee is being chaired by Mr Carlos Salgado of Chile. (Click to see photos)

Making Waves

09/03/2015 IMO has today (9 March) launched the video “Making Waves: women leaders in the maritime world” in support of International Women’s Day 2015. The video reports on continuing efforts by IMO and the World Maritime University (WMU) to promote the advancement of women in shipping. It puts the spotlight on the outcome of the 2014 “Maritime Women: Global Leadership” conference held by WMU in Malmo, Sweden, and co-sponsored by IMO. The conference attracted women and men from more than 70 countries to discuss the advancement of women throughout the maritime professions. 

​Hazard identification for non-SOLAS passenger ships underway in Philippines

05/03/2015 IMO is undertaking a hazard identification (HAZID) exercise for non-SOLAS passenger ships in the Philippines (2-6 March). The exercise is being conducted with the participation of officials from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Department of Transportation and Communications, Republic of the Philippines, other Government agencies, local classification societies‎, IACS members, domestic ship owners, domestic crew associations, shipyard operators, surveyors and consumer groups​. This is a practical real-life example of using the HAZID as a step within the Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) process, for the purpose of improving the safety of passengers carried on non-international voyages. The aim is to develop a template or model for the use of the HAZID by other IMO Member States, as a way to enhance the safety of domestic passenger services. It is envisaged that the outcome of the exercise will be presented at the International Conference on the enhancement of the safety of ships providing domestic passenger services, to be held in Manila, the Philippines, on 24 April 2015.