Situation in eastern Mediterranean


In the humanitarian crisis surrounding the current escalation of hostilities in the eastern Mediterranean, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has expressed concern for the safe evacuation by sea of persons affected by the conflict and for the safety of commercial shipping operating in the area.

With respect to the evacuation operation, the provisions of Article V of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which states that "For the purposes of evacuating persons in order to avoid a threat to the security of their lives a Contracting Government may permit the carriage of a larger number of persons in its ships than is otherwise permissible under the present Convention", are of particular importance.

IMO is also concerned that all necessary appropriate measures are taken to protect the safety of life and property at sea and the protection and preservation of the marine environment in the affected area. To that end, Spain, in her capacity as the NAVAREA Co-ordinator responsible for issuing maritime safety information in the Mediterranean Sea, has been issuing, since 13 July 2006, appropriate Navigational Warnings informing and advising shipping about developments in the eastern Mediterranean.

IMO has also been informed that, as provided for by the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, maritime administrations of Member States have advised ships flying their flag to raise their security level while sailing through the eastern Mediterranean Sea area.

Transport Ministers and maritime representatives of IMO Member Governments concerned, the Ambassador of Lebanon in London, the Commandants of the Hellenic and Italian Coast Guards, the President of the International Hydrographic Bureau, the NAVAREA Co-ordinator for the Mediterranean Sea and other authorities competent for the evacuation operation and the issuance of appropriate navigational warnings are being consulted and the IMO Secretariat is closely following developments.

Briefing 25, 18 July 2006

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