“Single window”, persons rescued at sea - FAL amendments enter into force
Several important amendments to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) entered into force on 1 November 2006. They include new recommended practices to encourage the use of electronic systems for exchanging data and, generally, to simplify procedures to enhance the facilitation of trade. The new recommended practices include transmission of data, required in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo, to a single point (the "Single Window" concept ) and use of pre-arrival data for subsequent release and clearance of passengers and cargo. Another amendment requires authorities to facilitate the arrival and departure of ships carrying persons rescued at sea.
The amendments, adopted in July 2005, include the following:
Section 1 - Definitions and general provisions
Section 2 - Arrival, stay and departure of the ship
In Standard 2.20, authorities are required to seek the co-operation of shipowners to ensure that, when ships intend to call at ports for the sole purpose of putting ashore sick or injured crew members, passengers, persons rescued at sea, or other persons for emergency medical treatment, the master shall give the public authorities as much notice as possible of that intention, with the fullest possible details of the sickness or injury and of the identity of the persons.
In Section 7, Standard 7.8 is amended to require authorities to facilitate the arrival and departure of ships engaged in:
The FAL amendments relating to persons rescued at sea are closely linked to the amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR), which were adopted in May 2004 and entered into force on 1 July 2006 (See Briefing 24/2006 ). The SOLAS and SAR amendments place obligations on Contracting Governments to co-ordinate and co-operate so that assisted survivors are disembarked from the assisting ship and delivered to a place of safety within a reasonable time.
A single window is defined as a facility that allows parties involved in trade
and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single
entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit- related regulatory requirements.Ref:
Briefing 40, 1 November 2006