Secretary-General places IMO at forefront of efforts for harmony in shipping
In a forthright
speech at the 1st Lloyd's List International Shipping Convention
in London on Wednesday 18th October, IMO Secretary-General Mr. William
ONeil raised the prospect of an expanded role for the Organization in
helping to ensure that its standards are met. Confirming the Organizations
readiness to adopt a more robust role, Mr. ONeil said, "If its
Members choose to give it new powers and new tasks, and are prepared to supply
the necessary resource, then IMO is ready to respond. The fact that authority
for assessing implementation of the 1995 amendments to the convention on training
was delegated to IMO by Member States indicates that the will to give the Organization
a greater role in the implementation of its standards does exist".
In a speech focussing on IMOs role in promoting harmony within the shipping
industry, Mr. ONeil went on to stress the importance of the work
carried out recently by IMO to draw up a revision to the MARPOL regulation concerning
the phasing out of single-hull tankers. "There were many different views
on whether this phasing out should be accelerated and, if so, how it should
be approached," he told delegates. "There were considerations both
technical and political. Several Governments and many industry bodies had their
own strongly held views on what needed to be done or not done, in some
cases. What happened at IMO was that a series of apparently entrenched positions
was transformed, through a process of consultation, talking, listening and understanding,
into a single, coherent way forward for the industry."
According to Mr. ONeil, "a number of recent high-profile accidents
had placed under an intense spotlight the need for shipping to deliver a cohesive
response to criticism levied at it. As we all know, the worlds public
media only pays any attention to shipping when there has been a casualty. The
maritime media, however, presents an entirely different and more accurate interpretation
of the facts".
Stressing the importance of a harmonized, global approach to regulatory matters,
he told delegates, "what if the collision regulations were different from
region to region? Or, if one region decided to adopt and impose its own standard
language of the sea? It doesnt make sense. It would lead to chaos and
could actually increase the risk and the number of accidents and casualties.
The presence of a strong IMO brings harmony to the safety regime world-wide
and there can be no alternative."
He concluded, "there is no doubt that, because of the vast array of players
involved, our industry can only survive and prosper if all are working in a
concerted way towards achieving our common objectives. IMO has already demonstrated
that it has the capability and expertise to provide the leadership necessary
to draw the disparate elements together and thereby fulfil its role".