First Member State audits under IMO scheme announced
Chile and Denmark
have become the first two IMO States to cement formally their participation
in the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme.A
major milestone in the implementation of the Scheme has been achieved during
the 96th session of the IMO Council (19 - 23 June) with the signing of the first
two Memoranda of Co-operation for the conduct of audits. The documents were signed by IMO Secretary-General Efthimios
E. Mitropoulos and Vice-Admiral Francisco Martinez Villaroel, Director General
of the Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine of Chile and Mr. Jorgen Hammer
Hansen, Director General of the Danish Maritme Authority, respectively.
pave the way for audits on both Chile and Denmark under the Voluntary IMO Member
State Audit Scheme during the current biennium (2006-2007).
the signing of the Memorandum, Vice-Admiral Martinez said, "This important
challenge will allow us far better to ensure the continuing evolution of our
national maritime interests under the objectives of safety of life at sea and
protection of the marine environment." He added, "We hope to share
with the international maritime community the experiences we gain from this
Mr. Hansen indicated that he was pleased with the progress being made in the
implementation of the Scheme and that Denmark was proud to be the first country
that would be audited. He said. "We have been very keen supporters of the
development of this audit scheme and have put a great deal of work into the
development of the Code for the implementation of mandatory IMO instruments.
We are very happy to be the first to be audited - we feel strongly that the
cook should eat his own food! We will enter into the audit being humble and
keen to learn lessons from the outcome - whatever they may be."
IMO Member State Audit Scheme is an initiative that will transform the character
of monitoring the implementation of IMO instruments. Whilst the principal IMO
safety and environmental protection treaties do not assign to the Organization
and its respective bodies a defined role in monitoring or assessing how Parties
to such treaties execute their responsibilities, the 1995 amendments to the
1978 STCW Convention had established and demonstrated that Parties to IMO treaties
were prepared to accept a degree of peer review. Furthermore, the increasing
use of port State control records and casualty statistics as the primary criteria
for measuring the performance of flag States, underscored the need for the development
of an IMO methodology for assessing the level of compliance by its Member States
with all of their treaty obligations.
therefore heralds a new era for IMO, in which the Organization has at its disposal
a tool to achieve harmonized and consistent global implementation and enforcement
of IMO standards, something which is key to realizing the IMO objectives of
safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans.
addresses issues such as conformance in enacting appropriate legislation for
the IMO instruments to which a State is Party; the administration and enforcement
of the applicable laws and regulations of the Member State; the delegation of
authority 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.
Mitropoulos welcomed the signature of the two Memoranda. He said, "these
represent a major milestone in the implementation of the audit scheme and I
should like to express my wholehearted support for Chile and Denmark in being
so ready to come forward. I have every confidence that many other IMO Members
will follow soon and, by so doing, will do a great service to the cause of safe,
secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans."
22, 23 June 2006
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