“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

  • Amended Recommended Practice 1.3 provides that measures and procedures for security, or for preventing the trafficking of narcotics, should be efficient, use information technology, and should not cause unnecessary delays.
  • New Recommended Practice 1.7.1 encourages the development of electronic systems to exchange information relating to the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo.
  • New Recommended Practice 1.8.1 encourages submission of all information required required by public authorities, in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo, to a single entry point, avoiding duplication.

Section 2 - Arrival, stay and departure of the ship

  • New Recommended Practice 2.1.2 urges the use of pre arrival and pre-departure information to facilitate the subsequent release/clearance of cargo and persons.
  • New Recommended Practice 2.1.4 says that a separate General Declaration, Cargo Declaration, Crew List and Passenger List should not be needed if the data are already included in pre-arrival information.
  • New Recommended Practice 2.1.5 urges the development of systems for the electronic transmission of data for pre arrival and pre-departure information and the re-use or subsequent use of the same information for release/clearance of passengers and cargo.
  • The IMO FAL Forms 1 to 7 are also updated.

Persons rescued at sea
References to "persons rescued at sea" are added to Section 2 - Arrival, stay and departure of the ship, in part H Special measures of facilitation for ships calling at ports in order to put ashore sick or injured crew members, passengers, persons rescued at sea or other persons for emergency medical treatment and in Section 7 - Miscellaneous provisions in part C. Emergency assistance

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:

  • disaster relief work;
  • the rescue of persons in distress at sea in order to provide a place of safety for such persons;
  • the combating or prevention of marine pollution; or
  • other emergency operations designated to enhance maritime safety, the safety of life at sea, the safety of the population or the protection of the marine environment.

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.

 

Note: 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: http://www.wcoomd.org/ie/wto/Single%20Window%20Concept.pdf

Briefing 40, 1 November 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).