IMO Secretary-General urges early implementation of maritime security measures in wake of Madrid attacks

Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation - 12th session: 15-19 March 2004

IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, has urged Member States to implement the IMO maritime security regime adopted in December 2002 as early as possible, in the wake of the Madrid atrocities of 11 March 2004.

Speaking at the opening of IMO's Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI), which meets from 15 to 19 March, Mr. Mitropoulos led a minute of silence for the victims of last week's attacks in the Spanish capital, as well as for those in the United States, Bali, Moscow, Istanbul and in all other parts of the world which have suffered at the hands of terrorists.

"The devastating news of last week's atrocities in Madrid has filled us all with anguish and a feeling of personal loss for fellow human beings whom we did not know, while the pictures of the scenes where the atrocities were committed brought home the terror in its full dimension," Mr. Mitropoulos said.

"Those atrocities should serve as a grim reminder of the vulnerability of all modes of transport to acts of terrorism. As far as we, servants of the maritime mode are concerned, our concern, in the context of the question posed by analysts and commentators as to which country will be the next target, should be which mode of transport will attract next the interest of the perpetrators of these unlawful acts," he said. "We should mobilize all our resources to protect our industry, the international trade and the global economy from those whose motives and acts have nothing at all to do with all that the civilized world stands for."

The IMO Secretary-General urged all parties concerned, be they Administrations, designated authorities, port authorities, companies, recognized security organizations, training institutions or others, to intensify their efforts to meet the entry-into-force deadline for the new security regime specified in SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. The new measures enter into force on 1 July 2004.

"I might even go one step further by urging all parties concerned, in particular SOLAS Contracting Governments and port organizations, to implement the new measures as early as possible, as far as ships entitled to fly their flags and port facilities under their jurisdiction are concerned," Mr. Mitropoulos told delegates.

"My argument, in so doing, is simple," he added. "While the 1st July deadline constitutes a pact among Governments doing business in a civilized manner under the mutually binding provisions of a treaty instrument, this deadline means nothing to terrorists who may decide to strike wherever and whenever such an act might suit their evil purposes - and, have no doubt, they will do so if they assess that our defences are low or, to put it in a different manner, when they think that our defences are not high enough to prevent and deter them from committing any atrocities they may have in mind to commit against our industry, the international trade and the world economy."

Mr. Mitropoulos also highlighted other items on the FSI agenda, including the development of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme, responsibilities of Governments and measures to encourage flag State compliance, review of the self-assessment of flag State performance, , ISM Code-related matters and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

The Chairman of the FSI Sub-Committee is Mr. K.T. Lim (Republic of Korea).


Presentation on progress of implementation of the ISPS Code

By invitation of the IMO Secretariat, a number of delegations attending the FSI Sub-Committee are to make presentations on the status of their countries' implementation of the ISPS Code at an evening presentation session arranged for Monday, 15 March 2004. The Government of the United Kingdom will be making a presentation on the detailed process the competent UK authorities have gone through in the implementation of IMO's regulatory security regime, with a view to sharing their experience with other countries and industry. It is expected that the delegations of Germany, Japan, Singapore and possibly other delegations will also provide information on their implementation of the ISPS Code at the same presentation session.


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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 by ships.

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Maritime security: http://www.imo.org/home.asp?topic_id=551

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Lee Adamson, Senior External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3153 (media@imo.org) or
Natasha Brown, External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3274 (media@imo.org ).

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