IMO and Interferry sign agreement on ferry safety

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the non-governmental industry organization Interferry have signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) formalizing the two Organizations' intent to work together towards enhancing the safety of non-Convention ferries by collaborating, through IMO's Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme, on related capacity-building activities within developing countries.

Under the agreement, the two Organizations will work closely with interested parties such as Bangladesh, which has been selected as a pilot country for the Organizations' work, with the aim of identifying potential solutions to increasing ferry safety. The two Organizations have agreed to share certain costs and IMO will seek financial support from governments and multilateral funding organizations. Interferry will reach out to private sector ferry operators and its own members, as well as other international private sector organizations, to inform them of the initiative and seek their support, as well as seeking the assistance of private sector ferry operators in the pilot country itself.

The two Organizations will also collaborate on the preparation of materials and documentation to support the operation of a national working group in the pilot country which will seek to involve all stakeholders in improving ferry safety.

The MoU takes the form of a general frame-work for co-operation. Following the signature on Friday, 20 January, the next step will be to conduct a detailed, research-based analysis of the problems prior to the establishment of the working group in the pilot country, in which a variety of stakeholders, as well as experts, will be invited to participate.

The purpose of the working group will be to select sites, identify the issues to be addressed, highlight the obstacles that need to be overcome and suggest solutions that could be implemented. At this stage, three pilot projects are being anticipated in different parts of Bangladesh, each site selected to focus on a particular issue.

Following the outcome of the working group the next phase is anticipated to be a larger Government-approved project within Bangladesh looking at issues such as overcrowding; terminal management, vessel design and management, passenger-carrying arrangements, stowage, hazardous weather, crew training and certification systems as well as other issues raised by the working group. The lessons learnt from this project will serve as a model for projects in other countries needing to address ferry safety.

The MoU was signed on behalf of IMO by Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos and for Interferry by Mr. Alexander Panagopulos, Director of the Interferry board. Both men re-iterated the crucial importance of making progress in a sector which has seen a number of tragic accidents with considerable loss of life in recent years.

Briefing 2, 24 January 2006

For further information please contact:
Lee Adamson, Head, Public Information Services on 020 7587 3153 ( or
Natasha Brown, External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3274 (