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Council, 122nd session, 15-19 July 2019 


Tanker attacks in Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman condemned

After debate, the IMO Council decided to condemn the attacks and expressed its concern over the grave danger to life and the serious risks to navigational safety and the environment to which such incidents may give rise. The Council also emphasised the need for flag States and shipowners and operators to review the maritime security plans for their ships and implement necessary measures to address the heighted security risk to ships operating in the Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman.

(Read more: Press Briefing 15/2019)

World Maritime theme for 2020

The Council selected "Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet" as the World Maritime theme for 2020. This will provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and showcase the work that the International Maritime Organization (IMO), its member States and the shipping industry are undertaking to achieve the targets.

(Read more: Press Briefing 17/2019)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) strategy
The Council expressed its appreciation to the Secretariat for developing a Strategy for the IMO Secretariat to identify, analyse and address emerging issues and opportunities to further support Member States in their implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The Secretariat's SDGs Strategy 2020-2030 aims to set the general direction for the efforts of the Secretariat to further enhance the SDGsʹ integration into its programming and planning, to establish a more tangible and targeted approach to support Member States in their implementation of the 2030 Agenda and to strengthen visibility of IMO, and as such the shipping industry, in the United Nations and beyond as a key contributor to sustainable development. 

Preserving the legacy of the World Maritime theme for 2019 – Empowering women

A draft Assembly resolution aimed at ensuring barriers to women in the maritime sector are overcome was developed. The aim is to ensure that the World Maritime theme for 2019, "Empowering women in the maritime community", has a legacy beyond the year end. 

The resolution would urge Governments, maritime administrations and the maritime industries to endeavour to reach a barrier-free environment for women, by considering ways to continuously identify and overcome existing constraints; to facilitate effectively the achievement of UN SDG 5; and to encourage the development of a Women's Network at IMO.

The aim is to finalize the draft resolution, for submission to the 30th Extraordinary Session of the Council (C/ES.30), which meets 20-21 November 2019, for submission to the 31st Assembly (A 31), which meets 25 November-4 December, for adoption.

American rescuer to be recognized with IMO bravery accolade

The Council endorsed the decision of a panel of judges to award the 2019 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea to Petty Officer Michael Kelly, a rescue swimmer with the United States Coast Guard, for his courage, perseverance and skill in rescuing four survivors from a life raft, in extremely high winds and heavy seas.  

Of a total of 34 qualifying nominations, received from 16 Member States and four non‑governmental organizations in consultative status with IMO, a further four will receive Certificates of Commendation and eight will receive Letters of Commendation.

(Read more: Press Briefing 18/2019)

International Maritime Prize for 2018

The Council decided to award the International Maritime Prize for 2018 to Mr. Joseph J. Angelo, a former United States Coast Guard (USCG) and International Group of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO)  executive who participated in the work of IMO for many years, providing leadership on a number of key regulatory developments.

(Read more: Press Briefing 16/2019)

Council agrees its size and term should be extended

As part of its work on review and reform, the Council agreed to recommend to the Assembly that the size of the Council be expanded to 52 Members (from 40 at present) and that the term of Council membership be extended to four years (from two years at present).

The majority agreed to recommend retention of the same criteria as present for Council membership and agreed to recommend to the Assembly that 12 seats should be allocated to categories (a) - States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services; (b) - States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade each; and 28 seats to category (c) - States not elected under (a) or (b) above, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.

Expanding the Council membership requires amendments to the IMO Convention to be adopted by the Assembly, so until such amendments are adopted and enter into force, the Council will remain at 40 Members elected for a two-year term.

The Council noted progress within the Working Group on Council Reform on the issue of geographical regions and representation and the complexity of the matter. Member States were encouraged to submit concrete proposals to C 124 for further consideration of this issue

The Council approved draft amendments to rule 40 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly for submission to A 31, with a view to adoption. The rules require candidates to obtain a required majority. If the candidate does not get a majority of votes after the second ballot, such candidate should be declared not elected and the President of the Assembly shall call for additional candidates to fill the remaining places.

The Council approved a draft Assembly resolution on Ethical Considerations and Guidelines for Conduct of IMO Council Election Campaigns for submission to the IMO Assembly (A 31) in November-December, with a view to adoption.

Revised rules and guidelines for NGOs at IMO

The Council approved the revised text of the Rules and Guidelines for Consultative Status of Non-Governmental International Organizations with IMO, for submission to A 31 for adoption. The updates include a new provision allowing prospective NGOs to outline their application in a presentation

Access to information

The Council agreed that live streaming for Assembly, Council and Committee meetings should be made available for Member States, IGOs and NGOs in consultative status. The Group further agreed to limit such live streaming to the Assembly, Council and Committee meetings only. The Council has now started the analysis of the necessary means to make possible the introduction of live streaming capabilities for the meetings of the Assembly, Council and Committees.