Resolutions on audit scheme, places of refuge and ship recycling adopted at IMO Assembly
Member States of
the International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreed on the need for an audit
scheme to assess their effectiveness in implementing global shipping standards,
with the adoption of an Assembly resolution on the subject at the 23rd IMO Assembly,
which met at the Organization's London Headquarters from 24 November-5 December
The Assembly also
adopted guidelines on places of refuge for ships in need of assistance and guidelines
on ship recycling.
session saw 30 resolutions adopted by the Assembly. Other issues covered by
resolutions included the Organization's work programme and budget for the biennium
2004-2005 and resolutions on technical issues relating to the Organization's
work on safety and security of shipping and prevention of marine pollution by
The Assembly was
attended by around 1,000 delegates representing 149 Member States and three
Associate Members; representatives from the United Nations and specialized agencies;
and observers from six intergovernmental organizations and 30 non-governmental
IMO Member State
The Assembly resolution Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme
approved the establishment and further development of the scheme, to be implemented
on a voluntary basis. It requests the IMO Council to develop, as a matter of
high priority, procedures and other modalities for the implementation of the
The proposed IMO
Member State Audit Scheme will be designed to help promote maritime safety and
environmental protection by assessing how effectively Member States implement
and enforce relevant IMO Convention standards, and by providing them with feedback
and advice on their current performance.
Places of refuge
New Guidelines on places of refuge for ships in need of assistance
were adopted. These guidelines are intended for use when a ship is in need of
assistance but the safety of life is not involved. Where the safety of life
is involved, the provisions of the SAR Convention should continue to be followed.
The guidelines recognize that, when a ship has suffered an incident, the best
way of preventing damage or pollution from its progressive deterioration is
to transfer its cargo and bunkers, and to repair the casualty. Such an operation
is best carried out in a place of refuge. However, to bring such a ship into
a place of refuge near a coast may endanger the coastal State, both economically
and from the environmental point of view, and local authorities and populations
may strongly object to the operation.
Therefore, granting access to a place of refuge could involve a political decision
which can only be taken on a case-by-case basis. In so doing, consideration
would need to be given to balancing the interests of the affected ship with
those of the environment.
A second resolution, Maritime Assistance Service (MAS), recommends
that all coastal States should establish a maritime assistance service (MAS).
The principal purposes would be to receive the various reports, consultations
and notifications required in a number of IMO instruments; monitoring a ship's
situation if such a report indicates that an incident may give rise to a situation
whereby the ship may be in need of assistance; serving as the point of contact
if the ship's situation is not a distress situation but nevertheless requires
exchanges of information between the ship and the coastal State, and for serving
as the point of contact between those involved in a marine salvage operation
undertaken by private facilities if the coastal State considers that it should
monitor all phases of the operation.
The Assembly adopted Guidelines on Ship Recycling, which have been developed
to give advice to all stakeholders in the recycling process, including administrations
of ship building and maritime equipment supplying countries, flag, port and
recycling States, as well as intergovernmental organizations and commercial
bodies such as shipowners, ship builders, repairers and recycling yards.
note that, in the process of recycling ships, virtually nothing goes to waste.
The materials and equipment are almost entirely reused. Steel is reprocessed
to become, for instance, reinforcing rods for use in the construction industry
or as corner castings and hinges for containers. Ships' generators are reused
ashore. Batteries find their way into the local economy. Hydrocarbons on board
become reclaimed oil products to be used as fuel in rolling mills or brick kilns.
Light fittings find further use on land. Furthermore, new steel production from
recycled steel requires only one third of the energy used for steel production
from raw materials. Recycling thus makes a positive contribution to the global
conservation of energy and resources and, in the process, employs a large, if
predominantly unskilled, workforce. Properly handled, ship recycling is, without
question, a "green" industry.
However, the guidelines recognize that, although the principle of ship recycling
may be sound, the working practices and environmental standards in the yards
often leave much to be desired. While ultimate responsibility for conditions
in the yards has to lie with the countries in which they are situated, other
stakeholders must be encouraged to contribute towards minimising potential problems
in the yards.
The Assembly confirmed the importance of technical co-operation as the key element
in securing a general increase in the rate of implementation by developing countries
of IMO conventions and standards.
The Assembly resolution
Development and improvement of partnership arrangements for technical
co operation encourages the development of effective technical co operation
partnership arrangements and invites Member States, international and regional
organizations, non-governmental organizations and the industry to provide financial
and in-kind support for implementation of International Technical Co-operation
Programme (ITCP) activities through development of effective partnership arrangements
IMO Budget and
The Assembly agreed the work programme for the forthcoming biennium and budgetary
appropriations of £46,194,900 for 2004-2005. This is a 7.7 per cent increase
in the appropriation for 2002-2003. The Assembly also approved the long-term
work plan of the organization up to 2010, including lists of indicative subjects
for consideration by each Committee.
the appointment of Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos as Secretary-General
The Assembly confirmed the appointment of Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos of Greece
as the new Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, for
an initial term of four years, to succeed the incumbent, Mr. William O'Neil
of Canada, when he steps down from the post at the end of this year.
O'Neil appointed Secretary-General Emeritus
The Assembly agreed unanimously to honour Mr. O'Neil by designating him as Secretary-General
Emeritus from 1 January 2004.
The Assembly approved the holding of the following Conferences to adopt new
or amend existing regulations:
to adopt a new International Convention for the Control and Management of
Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, to be held 9-13 February 2004.
- One Legal Conference
to be held in the biennium 2004-2005 - this will adopt either revisions to
the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of
Maritime Navigation, 1988, and its Protocol of 1988 relating to Fixed Platforms
Located on the Continental Shelf (SUA Convention and Protocol), or a new Wreck
The Assembly elected His Excellency Mr. Mel Cappe, High Commissioner for Canada
as President of the Assembly.
Honourable Mr. Symeon Matsis, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications
and Works, Cyprus
Excellency Mr. Edgardo B. Espiritu, Ambassador of the Philippines to the
The Assembly elected
the following to chair the two Committees of the Assembly:
Admiral Peter Brady, Head of the Maritime Authority, Jamaica
Frederick Ouma Wahutu, Merchant Shipping Superintend, Kenya
Pawel Czerwinski, Permanent Representative to IMO, Poland
Koichi Yoshida, Vice Principal Research/Co-ordinator National Maritime Research
Clive Davidson, Chief Executive Officer, AMSA, Australia
Marcelo Gustavo Genne, Alternate Permanent Representative to IMO, Argentina
Credentials Committee was made up of the following countries: Cote d'Ivoire,
Croatia, Ecuador, Lebanon, Tonga
The Assembly adopted the following resolutions:
of the services to the Organization of Mr. William A. O'Neil
of the appointment of the Secretary-General
with non-governmental organizations
of the External Auditor
of accounts and audit reports
programme and budget for the twenty-third financial period 2004-2005
work plan of the Organization (up to 2010)
plan for the Organization (for the six-year period 2004 to 2010)
Amendments to the Convention on the International Maritime Organization
(Institutionalization of the Facilitation Committee)
IMO Member State Audit Scheme
element vision, principles and goals for the Organization
survey guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification
on places of refuge for ships in need of assistance
Assistance Services (MAS)
guidelines for marine portable fire extinguishers
symbols for shipboard fire control plans
use of VHF channels at sea
to the principles of safe manning (Resolution A.890(21))
to the guidelines for the onboard operational use of shipborne Automatic
Identification Systems (AIS) (Resolution A.917(22)
Traffic Separation Scheme "Off Finisterre"
of hydrographic services
and guidelines for the maintenance of the Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR)
on training and certification and operational procedures for maritime pilots
other than deep-sea pilots
acceptance of the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention
on Load Lines, 1966
Guidelines on ship recycling
Policies and practices related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
action to UNCED and WSSD
and improvement of partnership arrangements for technical co-operation
The Assembly normally meets once every two years. All 163 Member States and
three Associate Members are entitled to attend as are the intergovernmental
organizations with which agreements of co-operation have been concluded and
non-governmental organizations which have consultative status with IMO.
IMO - the International
Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility
for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution
Web site: www.imo.org