New era on horizon as IMO Member States set to adopt voluntary audit scheme at 24th Assembly
Assembly (24th session): 21 November to 2 December 2005
phase in the development of the new voluntary IMO Member State audit scheme is
set to be launched when the Assembly of the International Maritime Organization
(IMO) meets for its 24th session at IMO's London Headquarters from 21 November
to 2 December 2005.
of the Scheme will herald a new era for IMO, in which the Organization will have
at its disposal a tool to achieve harmonized, standardized global implementation
of IMO standards, which is key to realizing the IMO objectives of safe, secure
and efficient shipping on clean oceans.
will address issues such as a Member State's conformance in enacting appropriate
legislation for the IMO instruments to which it is a Party; the administration
and enforcement of the applicable laws and regulations of the Member State; the
delegation of authority by a Member State in terms of the implementation of convention
requirements; and the control and monitoring mechanism of the Member State's survey
and certification processes and of its recognized organizations.
It will help
to identify where capacity-building activities would have the greatest effect
and it will also enable appropriate action to be much more precisely focused.
Individual Member States which volunteer to be audited will receive valuable feedback
and, on a wider scale, generic lessons learnt from audits could be provided to
all Member States so that the benefits may be shared. The regulatory process at
IMO may also benefit from the results of this learning experience.
audit scheme framework, the Assembly is expected to adopt a Code for the Implementation
of Mandatory IMO Instruments, which will provide the audit standard.
Piracy off Somalia
It is expected that, at the recommendation of the Secretary-General and subject
to the approval of the IMO Council, a draft Assembly resolution addressing the
issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia will be considered for adoption by
IMO Member Governments. This follows the increasing number of incidents of piracy
and armed robbery against ships which reportedly occur in waters off the coast
of Somalia, which may give rise to danger to life and serious risks to navigational
safety and the marine environment.
A number of other draft resolutions have been submitted by the Maritime Safety
Committee (MSC), the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), the Technical
Co-operation Committee and the Legal Committee for adoption by the Assembly.
The Assembly will also consider for adoption any resolutions submitted by the
Council's 23rd Extraordinary Session, which immediately precedes the meeting.
The topics covered by resolutions expected to be adopted by the Assembly include:
recycling - development of a new legally-binding instrument and amendments
IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling.
on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident.
of the 2002 Athens Protocol.
for facilitation of response to a pollution incident.
guidelines for the identification and designation of Particularly Sensitive
Sea Areas (PSSAs).
Routeing - establishment of an area to be avoided in the Galapagos Archipelago.
Routeing - Amendments to the existing mandatory ship reporting system "In
the Great Belt Traffic area".
of the Guidelines for the prevention and suppression of smuggling of drugs,
psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals on ships engaged in international
Review of the
work of the Organization
The Assembly will be updated on the work of the Organization during the biennium
2004-2005, including the adoption of new instruments, such as the 2005 Protocols
to the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts (SUA) against the
Safety of Maritime Navigation and its related Protocol, which provide the legal
basis for action to be taken against persons committing unlawful acts against
the safety of navigation (and against fixed platforms located on the continental
shelf), and the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships'
Ballast Water and Sediments which aims to prevent the potentially devastating
effects of the spread of harmful aquatic organisms carried by ships' ballast
also saw the adoption of revised Annexes I (oil), II (noxious liquid substances)
and IV (sewage) of the MARPOL Convention.
Amendments to SOLAS adopted in the biennium included a revised SOLAS chapter
XII (Additional safety measures for bulk carriers), and a revised chapter
II-1 (Construction - Subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical
Safety Committee (MSC) has, in the last biennium, been developing goal-based
standards. This work, if successfully completed, could bring about a paradigm
shift for the better in the overarching philosophy that governs the way standards
are derived. The Assembly will be appraised of the basic principles and goals
for goal-based standards for new ship construction that have been agreed in
principle by the MSC.
The significance of IMO's technical co-operation work will be highlighted at
the Assembly. There has been an increase in the delivery of Technical Co-operation
activities over the past biennium amounting to an overall expenditure of some
US$14 million in 2004. There have, for example, been notable achievements in
the delivery of the technical co-operation programme on maritime security. The
Organization continues to enjoy considerable success in the partnerships it
establishes with governments and regional organizations for technical co-operation,
while the IMO regional presence scheme has been strengthened and continuing
efforts have been made to promote partnerships.
IMO's Assembly normally meets every two years. All 166 Member States and three
Associate Members are entitled to attend as are the intergovernmental organizations
with which agreements of co-operation have been concluded and non-governmental
organizations which have consultative status with IMO.
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