IMO Secretary-General receives Mr. J. Barrot for third IMO EC meeting


At the invitation of Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of IMO, Mr. Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport, visited the IMO Secretariat in London, on Monday, 9 October 2006, within the framework of co-operation between the two sides aimed at promoting maritime safety and security and environmental protection. The meeting was the third between the two, following earlier ones in February 2005 and March 2006.

The following topics were discussed during the meeting:

  • developments concerning the Commission's Third Maritime Safety Package and Green Paper on Oceans and Seas;
  • ship recycling;
  • technical co-operation; and
  • the ratification of IMO conventions.

The two sides once again underlined their determination to continue working in partnership to enhance maritime safety and security and the protection of the marine environment globally, through the development, updating and effective implementation and enforcement of global technical maritime standards, and by encouraging the provision of technical assistance to developing countries to build up their maritime capacities.

Mr. Mitropoulos expressed appreciation for the contribution of EU members and the European Commission in promoting the development and adoption, through IMO, of the highest practicable standards affecting shipping engaged in international trade and their incorporation into Community law. "It is equally important for the experience gained by the Community in implementing and enforcing such standards to be shared, so that all IMO Member States, especially the developing countries, may benefit and so that the regulatory process takes account of best practices and lessons learned", he added.

On his side, Mr. Barrot underlined that "it is, in particular, the EU legislation implementing the IMO rules in a harmonized way all over the 25 Member States of the Union, that allows the EU to play a catalyst role in further developing and improving maritime safety and pollution prevention at worldwide level, as far as possible in close co-operation with the shipping industry".

Mr. Mitropoulos also spoke of the desirability of early action by the EU Members in accepting the IMO instruments that have not yet come into force - such as those dealing with anti-fouling systems, ballast water management and bunkers, the Hazardous and Noxious Substances Convention of 1996 and the SUA Protocols of 2005 - as well as contributing positively to those that are currently being developed or updated on subjects such as air pollution, ship recycling and the removal of wrecks. He stressed the significant part that EU members could play through their early ratification of such measures and the example they could set by doing so. Mr. Barrot confirmed his determination to further persuade the EU Member States to ratify the IMO conventions. He also assured the Secretary-General of his support for the development of new conventions or revision of existing ones with a well balanced approach covering both the shipping interests and the environmental concerns. In this context, he referred, in particular, to the preparation of a ship recycling convention and the review of the STCW Convention and STCW Code.

The two sides expressed satisfaction with the positive and constructive outcome of their third meeting, which provided both with an opportunity to present their views on recent developments. They agreed to maintain contact, so that, through dialogue, they may be able to promote the many areas of common interest in a manner benefiting international shipping.

Briefing 35, 9 October 2006

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