Suppression of unlawful acts at sea - regulations under scrutiny at Legal Committee
IMO will consider
proposed amendments to expand the scope and effectiveness of regulations concerning
the prosecution and extradition of those engaged in the perpetration of unlawful
acts at sea during the 85th session of the Organization's Legal Committee (IMO
Headquarters, London, 22 - 24 October).
The Committee will
review the text of draft proposed amendments to the 1988 Convention for the
Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA
Convention) and its related Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against
the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, 1988.
the proposed amendments, developed by a Correspondence Group, would expand the
list of offences in article 3 of the SUA Convention to ensure that it sufficiently
covers a wide range of terrorist acts and would introduce a variety of measures
aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the Convention.
of the SUA Convention and its related Protocol followed the unanimous adoption
in November 2001 by the IMO Assembly of resolution A.924(22) calling for a review
of measures and procedures to prevent acts of terrorism which threaten the security
of passengers and crews and the safety of ships.
The main purpose
of the SUA convention and its related protocol is to ensure that appropriate
action is taken against persons committing unlawful acts against ships. In the
present Convention, these acts include the seizure of ships by force; acts of
violence against persons on board ships; and the placing of devices on board
a ship which are likely to destroy or damage it. The proposed amendments would
significantly broaden the range of offences and make it more relevant to modern
obliges Contracting Governments either to extradite or prosecute alleged offenders
thereby ensuring that those responsible for perpetrating acts of violence against
or on board ships, will be brought to justice, wherever in the world they seek
The SUA Convention
has been ratified by 73 States, representing 75.4 per cent of world merchant
shipping tonnage and the SUA Protocol has been ratified by 66 States, representing
75.1 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage
is expected to consider the text of the draft wreck removal convention (WRC),
with a view to making a recommendation to the IMO Assembly as to the holding
of a diplomatic conference to adopt it.
The WRC is
intended to provide international rules on the rights and obligations of States
and shipowners in dealing with wrecks and drifting or sunken cargo which may
pose a hazard to navigation and/or pose a threat to the marine environment.
The draft Convention currently being considered by the Legal Committee is intended
to clarify rights and obligations regarding the identification, reporting, locating
and removal of hazardous wrecks, in particular those found beyond territorial
session is expected to address some fundamental issues such as the definitions
of "wreck" and "hazard", the "convention area",
the "State whose interests are most directly threatened by the wreck"
and issues concerning liability, compensation and financial security.
items on the Legal Committee's agenda include issues relating to monitoring
the implementation of the HNS Convention, which forms a vital link in the compensatory
regime for pollution damage at sea.
will also receive an oral report of the fourth session of the Joint IMO/ILO
Ad Hoc Expert Working Group on Liability and Compensation regarding Claims for
Death, Personal Injury and Abandonment of Seafarers, which developed proposed
questionnaires to be distributed in order to monitor implementation of previous
Assembly resolutions and guidelines on these issues.
Committee will meet for three days (Tuesday 22 to Thursday 24 October), alongside
the International Conference on the Revision of the Athens Convention relating
to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 1974) which opens on
Monday 21 October and continues on Friday 25 October through to Friday 1 November.
The Conference is expected to adopt a Protocol to revise the Athens Convention
(see briefing 31/2002).
IMO - the International Maritime Organization - is the United Nations Specialized
Agency with responsibility for the safety of shipping and the prevention of
marine pollution by ships.
Web site: www.imo.org
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