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Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments, 5th session, 24-28 September 2018


Analysis of consolidated audit reports highlights areas for improvement
The mandatory audit of all IMO Member States commenced from 1 January 2016, with the aim of determining the extent to which they give full and complete effect to their obligations and responsibilities contained in a number of IMO treaty instruments.

The mandatory IMO instruments included in the scope of the Scheme cover safety of life at sea (SOLAS 1974 and its 1988 Protocol); prevention of pollution from ships (MARPOL); standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW 1978); load lines (LL 66 and its 1988 Protocol); tonnage measurement of ships (Tonnage 1969); and regulations for preventing collisions at sea (COLREG 1972).

The IMO Member State Audit Scheme is intended to provide an audited Member State with a comprehensive and objective assessment of how effectively it administers and implements those mandatory IMO instruments which are covered by the Scheme. The Scheme is also intended to identify common areas for improvement so that IMO technical assistance programmes can be better targeted.

Analysis of the audits of IMO Member States has revealed that the main areas for improvement relate to implementation, legislation, enforcement and delegation of authority.

The Sub-Committee reviewed the Consolidated Audit Summary Report (CASR) containing lessons learned from 18 audits completed under the IMO Member State Audit Scheme during 2016.  

In the area of implementation (flag, coastal and port State), the majority of the shortcomings are related to the lack of implementation of policies through the issuance of national legislation and guidance; lack of assignment of responsibilities; absence of guidance for the requirements that are left to the satisfaction of the Administration, lack of administrative instructions/interpretative national regulations, as well as administrative arrangements for implementation of STCW 1978.

With regard to the area of initial actions/legislation, the reported shortcomings indicate that in many cases States lacked the availability of sufficient personnel to assist in the promulgation of laws and to discharge all the responsibilities of the State.

The shortcomings identified under the area of enforcement mostly comprise the following: enforcement measures to secure observance of international rules and standards to ensure compliance with international obligations; qualified personnel and training and established processes for port State control (PSC).

With regard to the area of strategy, the reported shortcomings indicate that States lacked a methodology to monitor and to assess that their developed strategy ensures effective implementation and enforcement of the relevant international instruments; there was an absence of a strategy and also, there was a lack of mechanism for continuous review of the strategy in order to achieve, maintain and improve the overall organizational performance and capability of the State as a flag, port and coastal State.

With regard to activities related to delegation of authority, the audits revealed that the most common issue faced by the States was the lack of an oversight programme of their recognized organizations in accordance with the provisions of the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code).

The four main areas of root causes that led to a majority of shortcomings are:

  • legislation: absence/lack of national provisions, capacity to promulgate internal directives/national legislation and update, legislative process, and responsibilities of entity not assigned;
  • policies and procedures: absence/lack of policies, commitment, written procedures, processes, and absence of a dedicated unit;
  • management: absence/lack of management system, clear lines of authority, coordination among entities, follow-up of the corrective actions/recommendations, job descriptions, awareness/understanding/interpretation, human resources, financial resources; and
  • implementation: absence/lack of technical instructions/guidelines, poor records/database, training programmes and technical capabilities.

The Sub-Committee addressed the issue of the reporting audit findings to the IMO Council.  A  process for providing feedback from audits for further development of technical assistance and the identified areas that might need technical assistance was developed, for forwarding  to the Technical Cooperation Committee for consideration. The Sub-Committee also prepared a proposed methodology for analysis of CASRs to assess effectiveness and appropriateness of IMO regulations and to provide input to the regulatory process.

The outcome of the analysis will be forwarded to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) for consideration. This includes a draft Guidance on communication of information by Member States, to be submitted to the next Assembly (A 31) with a view to adoption as an Assembly resolution.

The Committees are invited to agree that the specific requirements of the relevant IMO instruments identified be reviewed in terms of their effectiveness and appropriateness for implementation, and that the identification of the need for interpretations of the requirements of the mandatory IMO instruments should be part of the process for the assessment of the effectiveness and appropriateness of IMO legislation.

Model agreement for authorization of recognized organizations agreed
The Sub-Committee completed the development of a Model agreement for the authorization of recognized organizations acting on behalf of the Administration, to be issued as an MSC-MEPC.5 circular, following approval by the MSC and MEPC.

The III Code and the Code for Recognized Organizations (RO Code) require a formal written agreement between the Administration and recognized organizations. The guidance provided by the Model Agreement, including its appendix, meet the minimum standard for a formal written agreement, as set forth in both Codes.

The model agreement, at the discretion of the Administration, may be supplemented by additional matters and/or may be formulated in more detail. Member Governments will be invited to use the Model Agreement when concluding a formal agreement with organizations carrying out surveys and issuing certificates on their behalf.

Importance of adequate port reception facilities to address marine litter
Compliance of ships with the discharge requirements of MARPOL depends largely on the availability of adequate port reception facilities, especially within Special Areas. The Sub-Committee noted the importance of adequate port reception facilities for dealing with marine plastic litter from ships.

The 2017 summary information on reported cases of alleged inadequacies of port reception facilities was presented to the Sub-Committee. During 2017, there were 75 reported cases of alleged inadequacies of port reception facilities (five more than in 2016), received from eight flag States, and Associate Member, and one Territory of the United Kingdom. The Secretariat was requested to consider ways to address the low rate of response of port States to the reported alleged inadequacies.

The reports covered 244 waste categories in 36 different countries or territories, and 212 (more than 85%) related to waste categories under MARPOL Annex V, notably "plastics", "domestic wastes" and "operational wastes", underlining that more can be done to avoid plastic litter from ships ending up in the marine environment.

The Secretariat was invited to forward the report to the MEPC for consideration in relation to marine plastic litter from ships. The IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) supports the presence of adequate reception facilities in developing countries. Member States were reminded that any specific requests for such assistance should be submitted to IMO. In March 2018, IMO issued Revised Consolidated Guidance for port reception facility providers and users (MEPC.1/Circ.834/Rev.1).

Addressing IUU Fishing - agenda agreed for joint working group meeting
The Sub-Committee approved the draft provisional agenda for the next meeting of the Joint IMO/ The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Ad Hoc Working Group on Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Related Matters (JWG 4), for consideration by MEPC 74 and MSC 101 for approval. The session is expected to be held in 2019 or 2020.

The Sub-Committee was updated on progress made with a number of recommendations which emanated from the last joint working group. IMO and other partners have been undertaking a global effort to encourage ratification and implementation of the Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety.

There has also been work on  the development of an effective roadmap; fishing vessels identification and application of the IMO Ship Identification Number Scheme; the coordinated implementation of inspection regimes; cooperation among the Secretariats of IMO, FAO and ILO, in particular, on joint capacity development programmes and the sharing of data; and on navigational hazards and environmental issues.

The Sub-Committee invited relevant proposals to be submitted to III 6, in relation to how the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance (VGFSP) could be implemented effectively in conjunction with relevant instruments adopted by IMO. This could include identifying which instruments, and where in those instruments, a reference to VGFSP could potentially be included. 

Lessons Learned from Marine Casualties
Following analysis of a number of casualties, lessons learned for seafarers were approved, for publication, while the Sub-Committee agreed that the drafting of future lessons learned from marine casualties by casualty analysts be replaced by submissions from investigating States.

The Sub-Committee stressed the importance of the submission of relevant and comprehensive casualty data by Member States, including on casualties to fishing vessels.

Potential safety issue - presence of cargo vapours in the forecastle spaces
The Sub-Committee identified a safety issue related to the presence of cargo vapours in forecastle spaces to be referred to the MSC for further action, as appropriate, following the analysis of fire incidents on board three ships (Liang Sheng, Royal Diamond 7 and Border Heather).

The Sub-Committee also agreed to the Procedure for identifying safety issues and suitability criteria for casualty analysts.

Updating the procedures for port State control
The Sub-Committee reviewed the recommendations of the Seventh IMO Workshop for PSC MoU/Agreement Secretaries and Database Managers (PSCWS 7), held in  October 2017.  The Sub-Committee supported the development of a training manual for new entrant as flag State surveyor/port State inspector, to be regularly updated, for voluntary use, under a new output. The Sub-Committee also supported the holding of future workshops for PSC MoU/Agreement Secretaries and Database Managers; the availability of a support tool for PSCOs; and the clarification of the purpose of the collection of PSC data under the relevant instruments and the intended use of, and access to, such a compilation in an electronic format.

The Sub-Committee was advised that, in the context of activities which might be related to the follow-up to PSCWS 7 with regard to Outreach Partnership, cooperation is taking place with the Tokyo and Caribbean MoUs. This includes the Caribbean Ship Inspector Training (CASIT) course on carrying  out flag State and port State inspections. This course has been developed to prepare ship surveyors to be able to work in a Caribbean maritime administration. On completion, trainees will be able to carry out flag State inspection (FSI) on all vessels under 24 meters in length and conduct annual and renewal surveys on vessels up to 500 GT.

The Sub-Committee considered matters related to the updating of the IMO Procedures for port State control. In particular, work progressed on the revised 2009 Guidelines for port State control under the revised MARPOL Annex VI; the Guidelines for PSCOs on the ISM Code; and the Guidelines for PSCOs on certification of seafarers, manning and hours of rest.

The updated procedures for PSC will be compiled during the next session and forwarded to the IMO Assembly(A.31) in late 2019, for adoption.

Revisions to the “non-exhaustive list of obligations”
The Sub-Committee continued its routine work to update the 2017 Non-exhaustive list of obligations under instruments relevant to the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code). The next, 2019 edition will include the requirements deriving from all amendments to relevant mandatory IMO instruments that have or will have entered into force up to and including 1 July 2020.

HSSC revision
The Sub-Committee continued its routine work to revise the Updated Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC), to bring them up to date for adoption at the next IMO Assembly. The next, 2019, edition will include the requirements deriving from all amendments to relevant mandatory IMO instruments that have or will have entered into force up to and including 31 December 2019.

Other survey-related issues
The consideration of the presence of a surveyor for the examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats, rescue and fast rescue boats, launching appliances and releasing gear; and the consistency of in-water survey (IWS) provisions for passenger and cargo ships was progressed for referral to the SSE Sub-Committee and the MSC, respectively. With regard to the development of different definitions of UNSP barges under each individual MARPOL annex or a unified definition for MARPOL Annexes I, IV and VI; and the exemption from relevant technical and operational requirements of MARPOL Annexes I, IV and VI for UNSP barges, The Sub-committee  agreed to consider these matters further at the next session.

The Sub-Committee invited the Committees to agree that references to resolutions A.739(18) and/or A.789(19) in existing IMO instruments should be replaced with references to the RO Code and resolutions A.739(18) and A.789(19) should be revoked.