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What's New during 2018

 

IMO continues roll out of new port emissions training

18/05/2018 

For ports to cut emissions to ensure cleaner air and contribute to the battle against climate change, they first need to quantify emissions and then identify measures to reduce port-related emissions in a cost-effective way.The on-going strategic partnership between the IMO-run GloMEEP project on energy-efficiency and the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) is helping selected countries to develop port emission inventories and subsequently draw up a port emission reduction strategy. To-date, four countries have benefited from a new IMO training package, the latest being the Philippines – with a workshop in Manila  (15-17 May).

The three-day course was undertaken by 35 Filipino maritime officials from maritime administrations, port authorities, port terminals and academia. Participants will now be better equipped to quantify emissions in ports through the development of port emissions assessments (both ocean and land-based, including emissions from cargo handling equipment, trucks, rail etc.) and benefit from guidance on how to develop strategies for reducing emissions in port. The event was hosted by the Philippines Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and run by a team of IMO consultants.

 

​Spotlight on liability in Latin-America

18/05/2018 

​IMO is supporting a Regional Workshop for Latin-American countries in Argentina to implement and ratify treaties dealing with liability and compensation. The workshop, taking place in Buenos Aires (14-18 May), is providing a comprehensive overview of the IMO liability regime, including treaties covering wreck removal, salvage, carriage of hazardous and noxious substances, passengers, CLC, Fund, Bunkers Convention and limitation of liability.

The history of the treaties’ development, their principles and practical implications are all being covered, with a view to supporting officials to implement relevant obligations in national legislation. The workshop is being run by IMO’s Jan de Boer and hosted by the Maritime Authority of Argentina (Prefectura Naval Argentina) with the regional maritime authorities network, ROCRAM, as implementing partner.

 

Single window, ports and logistics – IMO 11 June event on the ship/port interface

18/05/2018 

​What is a “single window” and why do ports need one? What are the best practices when it comes to electronic business and port logistics? How is IMO supporting developing countries to get ready for the Facilitation Convention amendments which make electronic data exchange mandatory from 2019?

These and other questions about the role of ports in ensuring the smooth flow of trade by ship will be on the table for discussion at a special event on ports at IMO Headquarters on Monday 11 June. Expert panellists will also provide their views on how ports can contribute to sustainable development and share their experience on port issues such as, improvement of efficiency of ports and implementation of measures to reduce emissions in ports, including on-shore power supply. The importance of port security will also be covered. The event, which will be livestreamed, will run from 09:00 a.m. to 5:30.p.m. and is aimed at port officials and representatives; maritime authorities; customs; designated security officials. The programme with a list of panellists can be downloaded here. Mr. Santiago Garcia Milà, President of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), will deliver the keynote address.  

The 11 June Special event on ports will be followed by a symposium on port security operations (12-13 June), co-sponsored by the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police (INTERPORTPOLICE) and the IMO Secretariat. The event will focus on exchange of best practice on port security and law enforcement. Read more here.

How to register: Member States, IGOs and NGOs should register attendees using the IMO online meeting registration system. Queries to falsec@imo.org. Media wishing to attend should contact media@imo.org.

 

IMO begins scoping exercise on autonomous vessels

16/05/2018 

Discussions on how to address maritime autonomous surface ships have begun at IMO. The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is debating how to proceed with a regulatory scoping exercise, which is expected to touch on an extensive range of issues, including the human element, safety, security, interactions with ports, pilotage, responses to incidents and protection of the marine environment, for different levels of autonomy. Speaking at the opening of the 99th session of the MSC (16-25 May), IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, “It is important that we remain flexible to accommodate new technologies, and so improve the efficiency of shipping - while at the same time keeping in mind the role of the human element and the need to maintain safe navigation, further reducing the number of marine casualties and incidents.” Mr. Lim also announced the formation of an inter-divisional maritime autonomous surface ships taskforce, within the IMO Secretariat, to support the work on this important matter.   
 
Other matters on the busy MSC agenda include considering how the Polar Code provisions might be applied in the future to non-SOLAS ships, including cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage, fishing vessels and pleasure yachts. New and amended ships' routeing measures set to be adopted include those in the Bering Sea and Bering Strait, aimed at reducing the risks of incidents. They will be the first measures to be adopted in IMO for the Arctic region since the Polar Code entered into force on 1 January 2017.
 
Matters related to the goal-based ship construction standards for bulkers and oil tankers are also on the agenda. The outcomes of Sub-Committees will be considered, including various guidelines set for approval. The MSC will be updated on the reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships. Amendments to the SOLAS convention are set to be adopted, alongside the latest set of amendments to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. The MSC is being chaired by Mr. Brad Groves (Australia). Read more here. Click for photos.

 

India benefits from IMO training on port emissions

16/05/2018 

India is the latest country to benefit from IMO's new three-day training package on assessing air emissions in ports and strategies to address emissions from various sources. Thirty-five Indian maritime officials from maritime administrations, port authorities, port terminals and academia are taking part in the workshop in Mumbai (15-17).

The training package was developed under IMO's GloMEEP energy-efficiency project, in collaboration with the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH). It supports countries in quantifying emissions in ports through the development of port emissions assessments (both ocean and land-based, including emissions from cargo handling equipment, trucks, rail etc.) and providing guidance on how to develop strategies for port emission reduction.

The event was hosted by the Directorate General of Shipping and Indian Register of Shipping and delivered by a team of IMO consultants.

 

Forum looks at challenges and opportunities for IMO

16/05/2018 

Under the theme IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future, two panels of experts led stimulating debates at a forum held at IMO Headquarters (15 May).

Moderated by shipping journalist Richard Clayton, the forum discussed IMO's role in the future of shipping and international trade, with hundreds tuning in worldwide via online participation and hundreds of people submitting their questions to the panel, from Colombia to Indonesia.

Fascinating insights were shared by the panel, "I see tremendous opportunities for change in the industry where IMO will have to be agile and collaborate with partners to make the most of it" declared Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, Chief Executive at DNV GL Group. Meanwhile, Diane Gilpin, Founder CEO at Smart Green Shipping Alliance said "as an industry, we must harness the power of renewables, that is the future", making a clear point about how to meet the challenges faced by the maritime industry. The forum was organized as part of a series of events for World Maritime Day 2018, which celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Organization. 

Click for photos - Listen to the debate

 

IMO expands

15/05/2018 

IMO has welcomed a new member. Today (14 May) Nauru deposited its instrument of acceptance to the IMO Convention with the United Nations depositary – becoming IMO’s 174th Member State. Nauru is a Small Island Developing State in the western Pacific Ocean. Click here to find out more about IMO and its membership.​

 

New web tool to help put Polar Code into practise

15/05/2018 

A new public web portal, designed to support implementation of IMO’s Polar Code for ships operating in polar waters, has been welcomed by IMO’s Stefan Micallef, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Marine Environment Division.

Speaking at the second meeting of the Arctic Council’s Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum, Mr. Micallef highlighted the importance of both the Polar Code for safe, clean polar shipping, and the Forum´s collaboration with IMO to support the Code’s effective implementation.

The Forum’s web portal, accessible here, was launched at the meeting in London (14-15 May). It provides links to authoritative information essential to implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code. For example, links are available on hydrographic, meteorological, and ice data information needed to plan for safe and environmentally sound navigation in the Arctic.

Information for the web portal was contributed by many stakeholders, including Arctic States, intergovernmental organizations, classification societies, the shipping industry, marine insurers, and non-governmental organizations.

The Polar Code entered into force in January 2017. It sets out mandatory standards covering the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training and environmental protection matters that apply to ships operating in the inhospitable waters surrounding the two poles.

 

Monaco accedes to air pollution and energy-efficiency rules

14/05/2018 

Monaco has acceded to the IMO treaty covering emissions from ship exhausts and energy efficiency (MARPOL Annex VI). The instrument limits the main air pollutants contained in ships exhaust gas, including sulphur oxides and nitrous oxides, and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances. It also includes energy-efficiency measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Mrs. Isabelle Rosabrunetto, Permanent Representative of Monaco to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London, to deposit the instrument of accession (14 May).

Find out more about IMO’s work on sulphur oxide emissions, here.

 

Cyprus, Greece and Israel sign pollution contingency plan

14/05/2018 

​The latest sub-regional contingency plan to deal with any oil pollution incident in the Mediterranean Sea has been signed, following support from the IMO-administered Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC). An Implementation Agreement on the Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan was signed in Nicosia, Cyprus (8 May) by Cyprus, Greece, and Israel, along with other instruments for cooperation among the three countries. The objective of the contingency plan is an effective reaction to spills. It also aims to facilitate the co-operation among the three countries in the field of oil pollution preparedness and response.

The Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan was prepared with support from REMPEC, which facilitated various meetings between the countries in order to draft the plan. REMPEC also supported the organization of a marine oil pollution table-top exercise for the participating States, in October 2017. During the exercise, in Haifa, Israel, officials were able to test the initial phases of the activation of the plan in a scenario which simulated a marine oil pollution incident. REMPEC, which provides round-the-clock support in case of an marine pollution incident in the Mediterranean, provided a chief controller to participate in the exercise.

The Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan between Cyprus, Greece, and Israel is the sixth to be developed in the Mediterranean region, out of which three were also developed with the support of REMPEC, Sub-regional Contingency Plan for Preparedness and Response to Major Marine Pollution Incidents in the Mediterranean (Cyprus, Egypt, Israel; 1995); Sub-regional Contingency Plan for Preparedness for and Response to Accidental Marine Pollution in the south-western area of the Mediterranean (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia; 2005); and Sub-regional Contingency Plan for Prevention of, Preparedness for and Response to Major Marine Pollution Incidents in the Adriatic Sea (Croatia, Italy, Slovenia; 2005). The two other are: RAMOGEPOL Plan (France, Italy, Monaco 1993/2005); and LION PLAN/PLAN LEON (France, Spain; 2001).

IMO administers REMPEC, based in Malta, under the Protocol to the Barcelona Convention Concerning Co-operation in Preventing Pollution from Ships and, in Cases of Emergency, Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, 2002. 

 

Jeddah workshop aims to ensure safe and secure regional waters

11/05/2018 

Signatory States to an agreement aimed at repressing piracy, armed robbery and illicit maritime activity in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden Area have agreed that building response capability and information sharing are vital steps towards achieving a more safe and secure maritime environment.

The signatories to the revised Code of Conduct concerning the repression of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden Area, known as the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017, were meeting In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a high level workshop (7-10 May) for all signatory States and States eligible to sign the Jeddah Amendment, donors and implementing partners.

The workshop, convened by IMO with the theme of “Taking action to enhance regional maritime security”, discussed the next steps in implementing the Djibouti Code of Conduct and its 2017 Jeddah Amendments, in order to strengthen regional cooperation and information sharing to ensure safe and secure regional waters.  Information sharing could include data related to maritime crimes, best practices, legal frameworks, training programmes and national initiatives that will lead to enhanced maritime domain awareness - the effective understanding of what happens at sea and effective maritime security.

The participants agreed that piracy off the coast of Somalia is contained, but continues to be a threat. A long term comprehensive solution is required that also addresses other maritime security issues. These could include transnational organised crimes, including smuggling of people, trafficking of drugs, weapons, wildlife, and charcoal, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, violent extremism and maritime terrorism, including the risk of attacks against oil and gas installations and transport systems, They also emphasized  the need to consider good maritime security as a prerequisite for a well-developed maritime sector in the region and for a thriving blue economy within the context of sustainable development goals.

The participants re-emphasised their commitment to developing capability, legal frameworks and inter-agency cooperation at national level as the foundation for effective regional cooperation in tackling maritime insecurity. This will allow countries to develop and strengthen the opportunities provided by the blue economy for the well-being of their respective population.

Following a range of presentations, participants and observer delegations witnessed a large-scale exercise and demonstration by the Border Guard of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which included a number of maritime focussed scenarios. Briefings by all participants on national achievements, plans and provided an opportunity for experience sharing and lessons learned, to enhance alignment of national plans with regional plans and to facilitate requests for external assistance from development partners.

The Participants and observer delegations also benefitted from a visit to the state-of-the-art Jeddah Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and received a demonstration of the MRCCs capability. Participants and observer delegations also had the opportunity to visit the excellent training facilities and instructors at the Mohammed bin Naif Academy for Maritime Science and Security Studies which have facilitated the provision of high quality training to maritime security practitioners throughout the region.

The workshop, held at the Mohammed bin Naif Academy for Maritime Science and Security Studies in Jeddah, was hosted by the Border Guard of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by kind permission of HRH Prince AbdulAziz bin Saud bin Naif bin AbdulAziz, Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was opened by Vice Admiral Awwad Eid Al-Balawi, Director General of the Border Guard of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Mr. Chris Trelawny, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of IMO.

The high-level meeting was attended by representatives from: Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen. Observers attended from: Denmark, Japan, Norway, United Kingdom and United States.  Representatives also attended from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union, the Indian Ocean Commission, the International Criminal Police Organisation - INTERPOL, the East Africa Standby Force and the One Earth Future Foundation. 
The workshop participants welcomed the capacity building work of international organisations, including IMO, INTERPOL, and the UNODC, as well as non-governmental organizations, including the One Earth Future Foundation’s Stable Seas project and the SafeSeas initiative led by Cardiff University. Donors were thanked, in particular Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their contributions to the Djibouti Code of Conduct Trust Fund administered by IMO. Further donations were requested to support the implementation of the Code, including assistance to the Djibouti Regional Training Centre.

 

National maritime transport policy training in Kenya

10/05/2018 

The National Maritime Transport Policy concept is being promoted by IMO as a good governance practice to guide planning, decision making and legislation in the maritime sector. It can also be a key driver for a country's sustainable development, particularly when it comes to the “blue economy”. Officials in Kenya are participating in a workshop in Kilifi, Kenya (9-11 May), to gain knowledge and understanding of the development and content of a National Maritime Transport Policy. The workshop aims to highlight how different stakeholders are involved in the maritime sector.

The event, organized by IMO, in cooperation with the World Maritime University (WMU), is being attended by representatives from a wide array of ministries, departments and agencies and other stakeholders, whose mandate and activities impact on the maritime sector in Kenya. The State Department for Maritime and Shipping Affairs within the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development is hosting the workshop, with the support of a number of entities including the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA). Also participating are three Members of Parliament from the National Assembly of Kenya who are members of Parliament’s Transport, Public Works & Housing Committee, and two of the Committee’s staff.

The delivery of the workshop is being facilitated by IMO’s Jonathan Pace and WMU’s Associate Professors Raphael Baumler and George Theocharidis.

 

Training to combat maritime crimes in West Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden

10/05/2018 

A regional train-the-trainer course on maritime law enforcement has been held at the Mohammed Bin Naif Academy for Maritime Science and Security Studies in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (29 April-10 May). The IMO-led course aims to provide official with the necessary skills to be able to train colleagues in their own countries in dealing with piracy and other crimes at sea. The course, attended by 19 officials from 18 signatory States* to the Djibouti Code of Conduct and Bahrain, is in line with the objectives of the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct. Article 14 of the Jeddah Amendment calls for regional cooperation on the development and promotion of training and educational programs on security-related matters in respect of the management of the marine domain, particularly for the maintenance of safety and law and order at sea, and the preservation and protection of the marine environment and sustainable use of marine living resources.  

In adopting the Jeddah Amendment in January 2017, the region sought a long term comprehensive solution that would address strategic threats, including terrorism against oil and gas installations and transport systems, trafficking in drugs, weapons and people, and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. The value of a well-developed maritime sector and blue economy has been recognized within the context of sustainable development goals and the prevention of violent extremism.

The course is the second of three activities to be implemented jointly between IMO and the Saudi Border Guard, during 2018, with financial assistance from Saudi Arabia. In March, a three week-long regional training course focused on combating piracy and other threats to safety and security at sea. The third event will be a high level workshop (7-10 May) for all signatory States to the Jeddah Amendment, donors and implementing partners. 

*Participating States are: Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen.

 

Belgium signs up to fishing vessel treaties

10/05/2018 

The IMO treaties covering fishing vessel safety and training of fishing vessel personnel have been acceded to by Belgium.

The Cape Town Agreement involves measures to increase fishing vessel safety and now has 10 contracting States. Once fully ratified, in force and implemented, it will be an internationally binding agreement which will facilitate better control of fishing vessel safety by flag, port and coastal States. It will also contribute to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F) now has 23 contracting States. It sets the certification and minimum training requirements for crews of seagoing fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and above.

H.E. Mr. Rudolf Huygelen, Ambassador of Belgium to the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London, to deposit the instruments of accession (10 May).

 

France accedes to treaty on unlawful acts at sea

09/05/2018 

France has become the latest country to sign up to the IMO treaty dealing with unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation. The SUA Protocol covers acts including the seizure of ships by force, acts of violence against persons on board ships, and the placing of devices on board a ship which are likely to destroy or damage it.

Ambassador Nicole Taillefer, Permanent Representative of France to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London, to deposit the instruments of accession (9 May).

 

Strengthening oil spill response in Equatorial Guinea

08/05/2018 

Emergency preparedness and response in the oil and gas sector was at the core of a workshop held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea (7-10 May). The aim of the workshop was to strengthen the country's capacity to prepare for and respond to marine pollution from oil spills.

This workshop follows on from a series of events developed with the Republic of Equatorial Guinea with a view to making recommendations to improve the national preparedness and response system in the country, including a more robust national oil spill contingency plan. The course also focused on the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC), which deals with pollution incidents, either nationally or in cooperation with other countries.

The workshop was organized under the auspices of the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF) – a joint IMO-IPIECA project. The event brought together over forty representatives from different ministries, public agencies and the private sector involved with the country's national preparation and response system.

IMO's Julien Favier of the GI WACAF project and a team of consultants facilitated the event, which was hosted by Ministry of Transport, Posts and Telecommunications.

 

IMO’s Kitack Lim heralds new Global Ocean Institute

08/05/2018 

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim attended the inauguration of the new maritime and ocean policy research institute at the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden (8 May). 

Mr. Lim, who is also Chancellor of WMU, said that the establishment of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute was of great strategic importance for IMO and, indeed, for all those who seek to advance the global ocean agenda. “The Global Ocean Institute will further WMU’s distinguished legacy of educating maritime and oceans leaders who have the knowledge and responsibility to affect change in their home countries and who will contribute to the global conservation and sustainable use of the ocean,” Mr. Lim said. 

Also speaking at the inauguration of the institute were Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President, WMU; Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chair, Nippon Foundation; and Ms Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden.

The WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute will provide a space for policy makers, the scientific community, regulators, industry actors, academics, and representatives of civil society to meet to discuss how best to manage and use ocean spaces and their resources for the sustainable development of present and future generations, supported by evidence-based research, educational programmes and capacity building. The institute was established with funding from the Nippon Foundation, supported by the Governments of Canada and Sweden and the city of Malmö.

The Ocean Institute is a concrete response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and in particular Goal 14 - the Ocean Goal - that commits governments to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development".

The inauguration was held at the opening of the WMU Global Ocean Conference 2018 (8-9 May). IMO's Stefan Micallef delivered a keynote address, outlining IMO's role in the ocean space and in supporting the sustainable development goals.

 

UN Secretary-General visits IMO

04/05/2018 

​On Friday (4 May), United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres visited the Headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for ship safety, maritime security and prevention of pollution from ships. He was welcomed by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

Addressing representatives of IMO Member States and IMO staff, Mr. Guterres highlighted the important contribution of IMO’s work towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He welcomed, in particular, the recent adoption by IMO of an Initial Strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, as a major step forward in global action to combat climate change.

Mr. Guterres also congratulated IMO on its 70th anniversary which is being marked this year, since the 1948 adoption of the Convention establishing IMO, with a mandate to ensure safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans.

 

Training to address emissions in port

03/05/2018 

Important personnel working in Jamaica’s maritime sector have undergone IMO training on how to assess air emissions in ports and develop strategies to address emissions from different sources. Thirty participants from the country’s maritime administrations, port authorities, port terminals and academia took part in the event, held in Kingston, Jamaica (1-3 May).

Assessing emissions in ports can help countries to devise strategies to address those emissions, leading to better air quality for local populations.

Jamaica is the second country to benefit from the new three-day training package, following roll-out in China in April. The package was developed under IMO’s GloMEEP energy-efficiency project, in collaboration with the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH). The training aims to support countries in quantifying emissions in ports through the development of port emissions assessments (both ocean and land-based, including emissions from cargo handling equipment, trucks, rail etc.) and providing guidance on how to develop strategies for port emission reduction.

The workshop included a visit to Kingston Port – Jamaica’s largest multiuser port. It was hosted by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) and Kingston Wharves Ltd., and run by a team of IMO consultants.

 

​Halting biodiversity loss - a key challenge

03/05/2018 

​In every region, the survival of species is increasingly threatened, both at sea and on land. IMO’s role in protecting marine biodiversity was highlighted at the United Nations Environment Management Group (EMG) Nexus Dialogue on Biodiversity held in Geneva, Switzerland (2-3 May). Biodiversity Mainstreaming in the context of Human Security and Wellbeing was the theme of the meeting, involving more than 20 different entities, primarily from within the UN system.
 
IMO’s Megan Jensen participated in the meeting and reminded participants of IMO’s role in supporting the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 on the oceans, and in helping to address biodiversity loss, through its shipping regulations and recommendations. Non-native species can be spread from ocean to ocean via ship. They may be carried via ballast water or attach to the hulls and other parts of ships – a process known as fouling - hitching a ride across the oceans. IMO’s Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, which seeks to prevent the transfer of potentially harmful invasive aquatic species in ship’s ballast water, entered into force in 2017. IMO’s Biofouling Guidelines address bioinvasions via ships’ hulls. Furthermore, the IMO treaty on Anti-fouling Systems helps ensure that any systems used to combat fouling on ships does not harm the environment.
 
IMO has implemented the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast project, which supported countries to ratify and implement the BWM Convention, and is currently preparing a new global project (the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project) to support the implementation of the biofouling guidelines. Ms Jensen highlighted the need to raise awareness of biodiversity issues across multiple agencies within governments and across many different non-governmental stakeholders, each with differing priorities.
 
The Nexus Dialogue provided the opportunity to explore how biodiversity could be successfully communicated in various settings. UN agencies and other stakeholders were able to begin exploring how the biodiversity framework could be developed after 2020, beyond the so-called Aichi Targets. The Aichi Targets, adopted under the auspices of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, set a series of targets to be achieved by 2020, including raising awareness of biodiversity issues and taking steps to preserve biodiversity. It is planned to hold a high-level event on biodiversity during the July 2018 United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The HLPF is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global level. IMO’s work to protect the marine environment has particular relevance for SDG 14 (oceans) while halting biodiversity loss is also a key target under SDG 15.

 

First IMO training event for Libyan port facility security officers

02/05/2018 

IMO maritime security training is underway for Libyan port facility security officers, managers and designated authority officials (30 April – 4 May). The workshop, delivered entirely in Arabic, aims to assist the Libyan Government in enhanced security risk assessments and controls on maritime transport through its territory. It is the first IMO maritime security workshop for Libya since the country's civil war.

Twenty officers in charge of port security from ports across the country are attending, including five from the national committee in charge of oversight of compliance in the country. Participants are being trained on how to perform their duties in line with IMO’s code on International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS Code), SOLAS Chapter XI-2 (click for details) and related guidance. Participants are also being taught to train other officials with similar responsibilities.

Additionally, the workshop will allow the IMO team, led by Henrik Madsen, to understand the level of knowledge and existing skills among the officials – with a view to assessing capacity and suitability of potential follow-up assistance.

The event was organised at the request of the President of the Libyan Port and Maritime Transport Authority, and held in neighbouring Tunisia. The workshop is the second of its type to be delivered entirely in Arabic, including presentations and materials in Arabic, following a similar event held in Qatar last week.

 

Progress for Pacific maritime women

01/05/2018 

Women in maritime are a key contributor to the maritime transport sector. This was the message of Helen Buni from IMO's gender programme as she opened the second regional conference for Pacific Women in Maritime held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, (26–28 April). The conference highlighted the significant progress made by the women in maritime association (WIMA) in the Pacific to integrate more women into the industry.

The event reaffirmed the objectives to guide the Pacific region towards gender equity and equality in the maritime industry and supported the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 (to empower all women and girls). The conference also agreed to celebrate a Day for Women in Maritime to be marked annually on May 18 with the theme for 2019 being "Recognition, Visibility, Capacity".

The Conference was organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) and IMO, hosted by Papua New Guinea and attended by representatives from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

 

​IMO highlights GHG strategy at Bonn Climate Change talks

30/04/2018 

​IMO has reported on the recent landmark adoption of an initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships at the Bonn Climate Change Conference (30 April-10 May). IMO’s Edmund Hughes informed the opening of the plenary session that the vision set out in the strategy confirms IMO’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, to phasing them out as soon as possible in this century. Mr. Hughes also highlighted further progress on related matters, including entry into force of mandatory requirements for the collection and reporting of ship fuel oil  consumption data and the official launch of the Global Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCC) Network. IMO is reporting to the forty-eighth session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), which is taking place in Bonn, Germany.

 

Momentum for treaty covering hazardous and noxious cargo

27/04/2018 

The IMO treaty covering compensation for damage caused by Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) transported by sea is the subject of a workshop underway at IMO Headquarters, London (26-27 April). The event (photos) is focused on helping governments to understand and implement the HNS Convention, and follows excellent progress made earlier this week, when Canada and Turkey signed up to the treaty. This brings the total contributing cargo to 28.7 million tonns – 72% of that needed for the treaty to enter into force.

By addressing practical issues raised by States implementing the Convention, the workshop aims to enable further governments to sign up to the treaty. These issues include how to report on contributing cargo - a step that also needs to be taken prior to a State being able to ratify or accede to the Convention. HNS incidents and risks, views from the shipping industry and a panel discussion by States that have implemented the Convention are all part of a busy agenda.
 
The event is organized in cooperation with the IOPC Funds, with IMO Legal Director, Frederick Kenney, and IOPC Funds Director, José Maura, addressing the opening session – both emphasizing the importance of the HNS Convention as the key missing piece in the puzzle of the international maritime liability and compensation regime.
 
This work is representative of IMO’s on-going efforts to support its Member countries in adopting and bringing in key regulations that help make shipping safer, cleaner and greener.
 
More information about the workshop and the HNS Convention can be found here.

 

First Arabic-language port security workshop held

27/04/2018 

For the first time, a national workshop on IMO's International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS Code) was delivered in Arabic during a five-day training course held in Doha, Qatar (22-26 April).

Designated authority and port facility security officers had the chance to improve their knowledge and understanding through practical exercises as well as class-based training in how to implement the relevant provisions of the ISPS Code, SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and related guidance. The participants will now be equipped with the necessary skills to train others with similar responsibilities.

Organized at the request of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Qatar, and funded by the Government of Qatar, this workshop will also allow IMO to assess the need for developing new courses and further capacity-building missions


 

Japan-funded maritime security courses get underway in Djibouti

27/04/2018 

The first in a series of regional maritime security courses, funded by the Government of Japan, has been held at the Djibouti Regional Training Centre (DRTC). During a five-day workshop (22-26 April 2018), officials from 10 countries*  were able to learn about and share ideas on best practices for maritime domain awareness, including measures to promote coordination and sharing of information at national level as the basis for effective regional cooperation. This is in line with the objectives of the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, under which participatory States pledge to work together, with support from IMO and other stakeholders, to build national and regional capacity to address wider maritime security issues, as a basis for sustainable development of the maritime sector.

His Excellency Koji Yonetani, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Djibouti, launched the workshop, the first under a programme funded by the Government of Japan through the wider Djibouti Code of Conduct Trust Fund, to support the work of the DRTC in delivering regional training to combat piracy and other illicit maritime activities that threaten security and safety of navigation in the West Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. 

IMO’s Kiruja Micheni and Elisha Moseti led the workshop which was supported by experts from the British Peace Support Team (Africa), United States Naval Forces Africa, Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), European Union Maritime Capacity Building Mission to Somalia, EU CRIMARIO Project, United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and East African Standby Force (EASF).

*The workshop was attended by 26 officials from Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa and United Republic of Tanzania.

 

Emissions in ports under the spotlight

26/04/2018 

Assessing emissions in ports can help countries to devise strategies to address those emissions, leading to better air quality for local populations. The first national workshop on the prevention and control of shipping and port air emissions has been held in Ningbo, China (23-25 April), under the auspices of the IMO-executed GloMEEP energy efficiency project. China is the first country to benefit from the rollout of the three-day workshop package which was recently developed by GloMEEP, in collaboration with the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH). The training package aims to support countries in the quantification of emission in ports through the development of port emissions assessments (both ocean and landbased, including emissions from cargo handling equipment, trucks, rail etc.) and providing guidance on how to develop strategies for port emission reduction.

Some 30 participants from China’s maritime administrations and several ports attended the workshop, which included a practical visit to the Port of Ningbo Zhoushan, the world’s busiest port in terms of total cargo turnover. The workshop was hosted by the Ningbo Maritime Safety Administration and the Ningbo Zhoushan Port and delivered by IMO’s Astrid Dispert alongside port emission consultants. 

Experts from the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach and the Starcrest Consultancy Group are supporting implementation of a series of GloMEEP port workshops, which are designed for port personnel and aim to increase their awareness about ship and port air emissions and show how, through the implementation of tailor-made port emission reduction strategies, air quality in ports can greatly be improved.

 

Supporting IMO’s African Member States

25/04/2018 

IMO has reaffirmed support for its African Member States at the first African Shipowners Association Summit, held in the Seychelles (23-25 April). IMO’s Juvenal Shiundu delivered a goodwill message on behalf of IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, emphasising the Organization’s on-going technical cooperation support for its African Member States – to help implement IMO treaties.

The event was hosted by the Seychelles Petroleum Company Limited (SEYPEC) in collaboration with the African Association of Shipowners, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the African Union Commission – under the theme Promoting African Ownership and Participation in African’s Shipping and Maritime Sectors. It was opened by President of the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Mr. Danny Faure, who highlighted the importance of the African continent seizing the rich opportunities afforded by the maritime sector, particularly in terms of sea trade.

 

Progress on safety of domestic ferries

25/04/2018 

Domestic ship services is a major part of the transport system in Pacific Island Countries. To address key concerns surrounding the safety of domestic ferries, a three-day event was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (23-25 April). One major outcome of the forum was the adoption of a community-based approach which aims to involve end users of domestic ship services to improve awareness as well as to enhance safety measures.

Under the theme, Supporting safe shipping to protect safety of life and environment, the third domestic ship Safety Forum also looked at the progress made in implementing the 2012 Suva Action Plan, which aims to bring safer ferry operations throughout the region.

IMO's Bekir Sitki Ustaoglu, Head Asia-Pacific of IMO Technical Co-operation Division said, "The dependence of Pacific Islanders on inter-island shipping is of paramount importance and every effort must be made by government and industry alike to ensure that only safe ships sail."

The Forum reiterated that all stakeholders in the Pacific are committed to working towards ensuring that all vessels operate in a sound and safe condition, posing no danger to the lives of those on board or to the marine environment.

Over 100 participants from Pacific Island countries and territories*, as well as local stakeholders from the industry participated in the forum. They shared experiences and agreed on solutions to deal with emerging and persistent issues in relation to domestic shipping safety in the Pacific and discussed the responsibilities of ship operators and maritime administrations. 

The forum was organized by IMO in collaboration with with the Pacific Community (SPC) and the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) of Papua New Guinea.

*Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The conference also addressed the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, which provides an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention. A workshop was conducted to enhance awareness of the ISM Code in the South Pacific Community. The workshop discussed the socio-economic, political, and cultural specifics of the region. Participants were encouraged put forward their thoughts about issues that specifically impacted upon domestic ferry safety in their respective administrations. The interactive workshop allowed participants to understand the challenges in their own region but also to facilitate learning and sharing experiences from other regions. 

 

Philippines accedes to air pollution and energy efficiency rules

25/04/2018 

The Republic of the Philippines has become the latest country to accede to the IMO instrument providing rules for the prevention of air pollution from ships and energy efficiency requirements. This brings the total number of ratifications of MARPOL Annex VI to 90, representing 96.5% of world merchant shipping tonnage. MARPOL Annex VI limits the main air pollutants contained in ships exhaust gas, including sulphur oxides and nitrous oxides, and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances. It also includes energy-efficiency measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

The Philippines also deposited its instruments of accession to the 1988 Protocol to the International Convention on Load Lines (LL), 1966; and the 1978 Protocol to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974.

His Excellency Mr. Gilberto Asuque, Deputy Chief of Mission, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to IMO at the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in the United Kingdom, handed over the instruments of accession to Mr. Fred Kenney, Director, Legal Affairs and External Relations division, IMO, during the 105th session of the IMO Legal Committee. 

 As a lead pilot country in the Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships Project (GloMEEP Project), the Philippines has received technical cooperation support towards accession and implementation of MARPOL Annex VI. GloMEEP aims to support the uptake and implementation of energy efficiency measures for shipping, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.

 

Piracy reporting discussed at Singapore roundtable event

25/04/2018 

IMO took part in discussions on piracy reporting and response procedures at a ReCAAP-ISC* event in Singapore (25 April). IMO’s Chris Trelawny provided a history and overview of the Organization’s reporting procedures relating to piracy and armed robbery against ships.

A number of IMO treaties and guidelines help to address the issue of piracy and improve maritime security. These include the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) and Djibouti Code of Conduct. IMO Member States are encouraged to report incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships on the IMO piracy database via the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).

Find out more about IMO’s maritime security and piracy work here.

*The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP-ISC) and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) co-organised the Maritime Roundtable discussion.

 

Seafarer issues to the fore at IMO Legal Committee

23/04/2018 

The increase in the number of reported cases of abandonment of seafarers is expected to be highlighted during the 105th session of IMO's Legal Committee (23-25 April). A joint International Labour Organization (ILO)/IMO database recorded 55 such cases during 2017, against an average 19 annually during the preceding three years. Seafarers may be left without proper supply of food and fresh water, without wages and resources for their families and with no prospect of being repatriated. Amendments to the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) requires shipowners to have compulsory insurance to cover abandonment of seafarers, as well as claims for death or long-term disability of seafarers. These amendments were based on guidelines which were developed by a joint IMO/ILO working group, which reported to both IMO's Legal Committee and ILO's governing bodies.

The Legal Committee will also consider the fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime incident. IMO has issued guidelines on fair treatment, but, in some cases, seafarers have been detained or imprisoned, facing criminal charges without legal assistance or other support.

Other important matters on the Legal Committee agenda include the implementation of the treaty covering liability and compensation for hazardous and noxious substances (2010 HNS Convention). Two new agenda items will be proposed for inclusion for debate at future sessions: the problem of fraudulent registration of ships; and a proposal to carry out a gap analysis of existing liability and compensation treaties and a scoping exercise in relation to maritime autonomous surface ships. The latter would complement work to be carried out by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) on autonomous vessels.    

The Legal Committee was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr. Volker Schöfish (Germany). (Click for photos)

 

Better prepared against security threats

20/04/2018 

Mexico has hosted a five-day workshop on IMO's International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), which sets out preventive security measures in case of threats to ships and port facilities.

Designated authority and port facility security officers had the chance to improve their knowledge and understanding through practical exercises as well as class-based training in how to implement the relevant provisions of the ISPS Code, SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and related guidance. The participants will now be equipped with the necessary skills to train others with similar responsibilities.

The national workshop, which was conducted at the request of the National Maritime Authority of Mexico (SEMAR), concluded today in Lázaro Cárdenas (16-20 April) – assisted by a team of IMO consultants. 


 

Tackling oil and fuel theft

19/04/2018 

Oil and fuel theft is a major, global challenge in the maritime industry, with potential widespread repercussions, ranging from ecological damage to depriving governments of customs and tax revenues. IMO participated in the inaugural Oil & Fuel Theft conference (18-19 April) in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference brought together governments, oil majors, energy industry companies and national security stakeholders to understand and shed light on the scale of the problem and examine ways to combat this issue.

Oil and fuel theft typically takes place in the maritime domain, with oil tankers accounting for a fourth of global trade. But law enforcement control over vast maritime spaces is often hindered by scarcity of resources. Largely ignored forms of hydrocarbons crime pose a very real threat to regional and global stability, security, and prosperity. Downstream oil theft is not merely an end in itself; it is also a means to the criminal ends of terrorist groups, organized crime syndicates, and violent insurgents which must be addressed as a global issue. 

IMO's Henrik Madsen addressed the conference during a session on Maritime Piracy: Measures to ensure the security of oil and fuel assets. Mr. Madsen highlighted IMO’s maritime security initiatives and its capacity-building work in regions such as the Gulf of Guinea, where the organization supports the implementation of the Code of Conduct concerning the repression of piracy, armed robbery against ships, and illicit maritime activity in west and central Africa. 

The conference was organized by Defence IQ in partnership with the cantonal government of Geneva.

 

Training on ship air pollution and low carbon measures

18/04/2018 

Iranian officials responsible for implementing IMO standards on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from shipping are undergoing IMO training at a national workshop in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran (16-18 April).

Around 30 participants from the country’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), Department of Environment and numerous ports are taking part.

They are being trained on the IMO treaty restricting air pollution from ships as well as ship energy-efficiency measures – MARPOL Annex VI. This includes measures addressing sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx), which have been successful in lowering the amount of those pollutants being emitted from ships.

The event was hosted by the PMO and run by IMO’s Astrid Dispert and a consultant. It is funded and carried out as part of IMO’s on-going technical cooperation work – under the Organization’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme.

Find out more about IMO and low carbon shipping and air pollution control, here.

 

President of Cyprus visits IMO

18/04/2018 

Cyprus’ President, H.E. Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, visited IMO Headquarters, London, today (18 April), touring the building, meeting senior staff and exchanging ideas about the future of shipping.

The President was received by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, who expressed his appreciation for Cyprus’ involvement in IMO’s work as a Member State of the Organization, and looked forward to further cooperation in the future.

Cyprus is a long-standing IMO Member State, having joined the Organization in 1973.

Photos of the visit can be found here.

 

Keeping updated on the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention

11/04/2018 

Hazardous ship wrecks can cause many problems. Depending on its location, a wreck may be a hazard to navigation, potentially endangering other vessels and their crews. It may also cause substantial damage to the marine and coastal environments, depending on the nature of the cargo. On top of this, there is the issue of costs involved in marking and removing hazardous wrecks.

IMO’s Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention goes some way to resolving these issues. It covers the legal basis for States to remove, or have removed, shipwrecks, drifting ships, objects from ships at sea, and floating offshore installations.

To help spread knowledge of the specific aspects of the Convention, IMO’s Jan De Boer provided an update to the Royal Institution Of Naval Architects (RINA) on the HQS Wellington, London (9 April).

The Convention entered into force in 2015, filling a gap in the international legal framework on liability and compensation by providing the first set of uniform international rules aimed at ensuring the prompt and effective removal of wrecks located in a country’s exclusive economic zone. The Convention covers shipowners’ liability for costs of locating, marking and removal of hazardous wrecks; compulsory insurance to cover shipowner liability; the criteria for determining the hazard posed by wrecks, including environmental criteria. The treaty also includes an optional clause enabling States Parties to apply certain provisions to their territory, including their territorial sea.

 

Initial GHG strategy for international shipping set for adoption

09/04/2018 

The adoption of an initial strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships is one of the key items on the agenda of the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72), which is now under way at IMO Headquarters in London (9-13 April). The initial strategy will be a framework for all Member States, which is expected to set out the future vision for international shipping, the levels of ambition to reduce GHG emissions and guiding principles. Following discussions in an intersessional working group last week, the Committee is expected to instruct a working group to finalize the strategy for adoption.

The Committee will also address the implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit. From 1 January 2020, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas will be reduced to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass). This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides emanating from ships and should have major health and environmental benefits. The Committee is expected to approve draft amendments to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil (except when ships are fitted with measures such as exhaust gas cleaning systems or “scrubbers”).

Also on the busy agenda is the implementation of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, which entered into force in September 2017 and requires ships to manage their ballast water to prevent the spread of potentially harmful invasive aquatic species. The Committee is expected to adopt draft amendments to the BWM Convention which will determine the implementation schedule for installations of ballast water management systems.

The MEPC was opened by Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr. Hideaki Saito (Japan). Click for photos. Further information here.

 

Enhancing ship/shore interface in Mozambique

30/03/2018 

When the communication between ships and port is smoothly run, shipments move more quickly, more easily and more efficiently. This is where IMO’s Facilitation Convention comes in. The FAL convention contains standards and recommended practices and rules for simplifying formalities, documentary requirements and procedures on ships’ arrival, stay and departure. The benefits of ratification and implementation of the FAL Convention were highlighted during a National Seminar on Facilitation of Maritime Traffic (27-29 March), held in Maputo, Mozambique. The aim was to support Mozambique to ratify the Convention, including its latest amendments. Participants were advised on the benefits of using the maritime single window and electronic data interchange to facilitate ship clearance.
 
IMO’s Julian Abril and IMO consultants were at the seminar, which was organized by IMO and the Instituto Nacional da Marinha (INAMAR). It was attended by 50 participants from ministries with responsibilities in the clearance of ships, cargo, crew and passengers at ports of Mozambique, and private stakeholders (Escola Superior de Ciências Náuticas, Portos do Norto, LBH Mozambique LDA, MPDC Maputo Port, Ovarah Mutheko Serviços Sociedade, CLN Corredor Logistico Integrado Nacala, PIL Mozambique Bollore Transport Logis).

 

Boosting Gulf of Guinea maritime security capability

29/03/2018 

​IMO participated in an annual maritime security exercise aimed at improving interoperability and cooperation among the maritime forces of Gulf of Guinea nations, Europe, and North and South America. The 2018 Obangame Express exercise (21-29 March) put special emphasis on encouraging navies and civilian agencies and different countries to work together, as envisaged in existing frameworks such as the Yaoundé Code of Conduct – a regional agreement against maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea, which IMO helped to establish.
 
IMO’s Chris Trelawny contributed to a Senior Leadership Symposium, in Libreville, Gabon, organized by the United States Naval War College in the margins of Obangame Express. Mr Trelawny addressed the symposium on the theme of “the Yaoundé Code of Conduct – Linking maritime security and development".
 
IMO also participated in the 2018 Cutlass Express maritime security exercise, which took place in February in the vicinity of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Mombasa, Kenya; and the Seychelles.
 
Participants in Obangame Express 2018 also include: Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, Turkey and the United States, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

 

Face-to-face meeting to talk about the oceans

28/03/2018 

Ensuring that the many positive initiatives to protect the world's oceans are working in synergy is a key task for UN-Oceans, a UN interagency coordination mechanism for ocean issues.  The group held its 17th annual face-to-face meeting (26-28 March) hosted by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO in Paris.

The meeting has allowed UN-Oceans member organisations to exchange information on current and forthcoming activities, and to identify synergies for further collaboration.  The participants also discussed how the outcomes of The Ocean Conference, including the 1400 voluntary commitments, are fully analysed and implemented. 

The meeting also shared ideas on how to coalesce and encourage their activities in support of the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.

The International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 also featured on the agenda to ensure ocean science can fully support countries in the achievement of SDG 14. The event concluded with reviewing the UN-Oceans terms of reference as well as its future work programme for 2018.  IMO was represented by Fredrik Haag, Head, Office for London Convention/Protocol and Ocean Affairs. 


 

Poland prepares for official World Maritime Day celebration

27/03/2018 

World Maritime Day is celebrated all over the world and every year IMO sanctions an official “Parallel Event” to formally mark the occasion away from the Organization’s London headquarters.

This year it is the turn of Poland to host the Parallel Event, in the port city of Szczecin (13-15 June). The 2018 Parallel Event will focus on four key aspects of IMO’s overall theme for its 70th anniversary year, "IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future". It will examine in detail green and smart shipping, big data and cyber security, new transport routes and the future of the maritime labour market.

Poland’s Parallel Event will be hosted by the Ministry of Maritime Economy & Inland Navigation; and at the Polish Embassy in London this week (26 March), Deputy Minister Grzegorz Witkowski formally invited London-based permanent representatives to IMO to attend the June event.

 

​​Port security training in Djibouti

26/03/2018 

Ports provide the critical interface between the ship and the shore. For maritime trade to flow effectively, this vital infrastructure needs to be secure – and this involves people at all levels. A national maritime security training workshop in Djibouti (19-23 March) included practical exercises and a site visit to a nearby port facility as well as class-based training in how to implement the relevant provisions of IMO’s code on International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS Code) and SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and related guidance (click for details). The workshop was held at the Djibouti Regional Maritime Training Centre, Djibouti, and was aimed at port facility security officers and other port security personnel. In addition, designated maritime security officials from the Djiboutian Maritime Authority were involved in the training, to gain insight into their oversight roles and responsibilities.

The training was organized by IMO at the request of the Djiboutian Maritime Authority and was conducted by IMO’s Kiruja Micheni and a team of consultants.  

 

Reducing stowaway incidents

26/03/2018 

How to cut the numbers of stowaways in African ports was the subject of a regional IMO seminar in Yaoundé, Cameroon this week (20-22 March). The event gathered representatives from nine ports* to share the actions they have taken since 2014 – when similar IMO events took place in Abidjan and Durban. 

Stowaway incidents continue to have a significant impact on safe ship operation and on the life and health of stowaways. Incidents cause considerable difficulties for shipmasters, shipping companies, shipowners and ship operators in disembarking stowaways from ships into the care of appropriate authorities. The estimated cost of stowaways to the shipping community is over US$15 million per year.

Proper application of security measures and access controls on board ships and within port facilities can reduce the number of stowaway incidents.

The Yaoundé seminar was organized with the National Port Authority of Cameroon and the Ministry of Transport of Cameroon, and attended by a variety of interested international organizations and IMO Member States. It was opened by Cameroon’s Minister of Transport, Hon. Jean Ernest N. Bibehe, and also attended by with the Secretary of State in charge of Defence and Director-General of the National Port Authority, Mr. Josué Youmba. The seminar was conducted by IMO’s Julian Abril, Gisela Vieira and Honorat Hoba.

* Abidjan, Cape Town, Dakar, Djibouti, Durban, Lagos, Mombasa, Tema, and Takoradi

 

Developing African solutions for maritime security

22/03/2018 

Work to address maritime security challenges in Africa’s major maritime zones is underway at a regional workshop in Victoria, Seychelles (19-23 March). Over 60 maritime security professionals from more than 30 States are attending the ACSS* event, which is designed to emphasize whole-of-Africa solutions to the maritime security challenges faced in the Gulf of Guinea, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and the Horn of Africa.

IMO’s Henrik Madsen provided an outline of two IMO-supported regional codes helping to address a range of interrelated maritime crimes and threats to security and development in Africa – the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, and the Code of Conduct concerning the repression of piracy, armed robbery against ships, and illicit maritime activity in west and central Africa.

Speaking at the Seychelles event, Mr. Madsen underlined that development of maritime security in Africa must be based on a solid foundation at national level, saying that "The initial focus must be on developing capability, legal frameworks and inter-agency cooperation nationally as the foundation for stronger regional cooperation. It is therefore vital that the signatory States establish their own national organizations, legal frameworks and develop their capacity in order to benefit from the maritime sector".

Participants at the workshop are analysing key areas where their national approaches both align and differ, as well as identifying areas for collaboration. The workshop will help identify both the gaps between regions – including neighbouring regions – and the common elements that can be used to help close gaps and enhance maritime security.

* Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS)

 

Joining forces in the fisheries sector

22/03/2018 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), fishing at sea is probably the most dangerous occupation in the world. To address this issue, a two-day regional seminar, "Joining forces in the fisheries sector: promoting safety, decent work and the fight against Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU)", has been held (21-22 March) in Manila, Philippines.

IMO's Sandra Allnutt, Head of Marine Technology, delivered a presentation on IMO's work in promoting safety at sea. Mrs Allnutt also emphasized the longstanding cooperation with FAO and ILO through which safety recommendations have been developed and adopted on the design, construction, equipment, training and protection of fishing vessels. But she stressed that more States must comply with IMO conventions on safety at sea and greater cooperation is needed amongst the relevant stakeholders.

The event also discussed many related issues including, the protection of human rights in the fishing sector, the need for increased political commitment, the development of regional actions to fight labour abuses and ways of inter‐agency collaboration and future actions by concerned stakeholders.

The seminar was organized by the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

 

Nitrogen deposition in the oceans needs further study – report

22/03/2018 

Human activity increases the amount of nitrogen that reaches the oceans by 50%, on top of natural processes, according to a new report which assesses the magnitude and impacts of anthropogenic atmospheric nitrogen inputs to the ocean. 

The study by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), a United Nations advisory body, provides a new estimate of the extent that human beings are altering the cycling of nitrogen in the oceans. Extra nitrogen is reaching the oceans through rain or dust fall, as a result of fossil fuel burning and intensive agriculture.

The natural process of nitrogen fixation is essential for life. Inert nitrogen gas in the earth’s atmosphere dissolves in the ocean, where it is converted into reactive nitrogen forms used by living marine organisms as nutrients for growth and development.

However, too much extra nitrogen in particular ocean areas can cause problems such as algal blooms and the release of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.

The atmospheric input of reactive forms of nitrogen to the ocean is now estimated to be almost four times that in 1850. In areas of high emissions to the atmosphere, such as in Southeast Asia, Europe and North America, human-induced increases in reactive nitrogen deposition to the ocean are proportionately higher.

The report suggests that current human nitrogen emissions may remain relatively stable on a global basis through 2050, but more research is needed, particularly in the Northwest Pacific and Northern Indian Ocean. These are areas of the oceans that currently receive high inputs of atmospheric nitrogen and where there are also likely to be substantial changes in the future, with potential impacts at regional and global scales.  Areas of the Mediterranean and North Atlantic are also candidates for further research, due to the particular nature of the additional nitrogen deposition in those areas, influenced by different levels of phosphorus and iron. 

The report, The Magnitude and Impacts of Anthropogenic Atmospheric Nitrogen Inputs to the Ocean, is published by the World Metrological Organization (WMO) and can be downloaded from the GESAMP website here

 

Reducing emissions in ports

21/03/2018 

How can ports cut emissions to ensure cleaner air and contribute to the battle against climate change? First, ports need to quantify emissions in ports, then they need to identify measures to cost-effectively reduce port-related emissions. A strategic partnership between the IMO-executed GloMEEP energy efficiency project and the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) is helping selected countries to develop port emission inventories and subsequently draw up a port emission reduction strategy. 

A new three-day workshop package on the “Prevention and control of shipping and port air emissions” is being developed as part of the GloMEEP-IAPH strategic partnership. Training will begin in May 2018 and will be rolled out to the ten lead pilot countries participating in the GloMEEP project. The workshops will train port personnel in how to develop an inventory of emissions in a port, and subsequently how to develop a strategy to address emissions from ports, based on two technical guides which are also being developed (Guide for assessment of emissions in ports; and Guide for the development of port emissions reductions strategies). 

The workshop package is designed for port personnel and aims to increase their awareness about maritime energy efficiency from a port perspective and show how port management, port infrastructure development and port logistical systems contribute to overall maritime energy efficiency and air quality.

The GloMEEP team, Astrid Dispert and Minglee Hoe, met (19 March) with experts representing IAPH, from the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach and Starcrest Consultancy Group, to further develop the draft workshop package and guides.

GloMEEP technical adviser Astrid Dispert outlined the prospective new training course and the ongoing collaboration between GloMEEP and IAPH at the 5th Pacific Ports Clean Air Collaborative (PPCAC) Conference, hosted by the Port of Los Angeles, United States (20-22 March).

GloMEEP is a GEF-UNDP-IMO project aimed at supporting the uptake and implementation of energy efficiency measures for shipping, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. The Lead Pilot Countries of the GloMEEP project are: Argentina, China, Georgia, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Morocco, Panama, Philippines and South Africa.

 

Future of shipping in the spotlight

20/03/2018 

Sustainable use of the oceans, maritime trade, and the digital revolution were some of the issues addressed by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at the International Shipping Summit in Istanbul, Turkey (17 March).

In his opening address to maritime industry and government representatives from around the world, Secretary-General Lim spoke about how IMO, in its leadership role as the global regulator of shipping, is and will be addressing a number of challenges facing the shipping industry.

On the marine environment, he said that to be sustainable, human activities have to be balanced with the oceans' capacity to remain healthy and diverse in the long term – and that a major part of IMO's role is to ensure that shipping continues to make its contribution to the global economy without upsetting that delicate balance. He highlighted IMO’s work on GHG emissions and ship energy-efficiency, ballast water management, and polar shipping.

He also emphasized that improving ports, developing and strengthening inter-modal links and hinterland connections can both drive and support a growing economy, through promoting trade by sea. And on the digital revolution – Mr. Lim said that the shipping industry is entering a new era, through new, emerging technology in areas such as fuel and energy use, automation and vessel management, materials and construction.

The Summit also saw IMO’s Jan De Boer take part in a special session on the marine environment. Mr. De Boer provided an outline of IMO’s HNS Convention on transporting hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by sea – in anticipation of Turkey’s upcoming ratification of the treaty.

The Summit was organized by the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communications, and opened by Prime Minister of Turkey, Binali Yıldırım, with Transport Minister, Mr. Ahmet Arslan, also speaking at the opening ceremony.

 

Cooperation for maritime security in Nigeria

19/03/2018 

Cooperation amongst various government agencies can be key to achieving maximum maritime security enforcement. This was the theme running through the latest national table-top exercise on maritime security, held in Lagos, Nigeria (14-16 March). Representatives from various government agencies which form the national implementation committee for the International ship and Port Facilities Security (ISPS) Code participated in the workshop.  
 
The findings and recommendations from this exercise will help form the basis of a maritime security strategy. This forms part of a project to strengthen the Nigerian Criminal Justice response to maritime crime threats which IMO is delivering in conjunction with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), supported by funding from the Government of the United Kingdom.  
 
The table-top exercise was conducted by two IMO consultants and organized in conjunction with Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and aimed to build on a maritime security training programme which IMO delivered in Nigeria from 2015-2017. 

 

Role-playing to design security drills

16/03/2018 

A four-day workshop on how to best design and conduct maritime security drills and exercises, has been held in Kingston, Jamaica (13-16 March). The aim of the event was to equip participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to plan, conduct and assess security drills and exercises in their port facilities, in accordance with the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

The workshop included live role-playing sessions with various communication equipment, with participants taking turns acting as "players" and "controllers" respectively. It demonstrated to practitioners how to make use of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Manual of Maritime Security Drills and Exercises for Port Facilities in their work. The newly learned activities will continue to help port facility security officers and personnel, as well as designated authority officials, to improve and test existing procedures and practices in order to maintain vigilance and security awareness in ports.

 

Training for port facility security staff in the Dominican Republic

15/03/2018 

IMO maritime security training is underway for port facility security officers, managers and designated authority officials in Santo Domingo City, Dominican Republic (12-16 March). Run by IMO in collaboration with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Defence*, the workshop is training participants on how to perform their duties in line with IMO’s code on International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS Code) and SOLAS Chapter XI-2 (click for details). Participants are also being taught to train other officials with similar responsibilities.

The workshop follows a 2016 national table top exercise on maritime security, organized in cooperation with the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC). The 2016 exercise identified a number of recommendations for further training, parts of which are being addressed by this week’s workshop.

Find out more about IMO's security work, here.

* Cuerpo Especializado de Seguridad Portuaria

 

Latin America maritime cooperation centre launched

14/03/2018 

The Latin America Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre, part of a global network established under an ambitious IMO-EU project to further efforts to combat climate change, has been launched in Panama (13 March). The centre, hosted by the Universidad Marítima Internacional de Panamá (UMIP), is one of five such centres established under the GMN project, which is funded by the European Union (EU) and run by IMO.

The centres, in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific regions, act as regional focal points for a wide range of activities. These include, improving compliance with existing and future international energy-efficiency regulations; promoting uptake of low-carbon technologies and operations in maritime transport, and establishing voluntary pilot data-collection and reporting systems to feed back into the global regulatory process. In doing so, they will play their part in supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Latin America Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre – or MTCC-Latin America – was launched at the host institute at a special event attended by representatives of the European Union, the Government of Panama, non-governmental organizations and academia as well as representatives from 17 countries in the region.  

Speaking at the launch event, IMO’s Jose Matheickal said, “The global network of MTCCs will promote understanding and knowledge of technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector and will help to navigate shipping into a low-carbon future.”

Also speaking during the launch ceremony was the Minister of Maritime Affairs of Panama and Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority, Mr. Jorge Barakat, who congratulated IMO for its efforts toward the promotion of a more energy-efficient maritime industry and reaffirmed the support of the Panama Maritime Authority. He said, “The Panamanian maritime administration is proud and pleased with the inauguration of this regional centre.”

The launch was followed by the first regional workshop to be run by MTCC-Latin America (13-15 March). Participants will be updated on the GMN project, share experiences of implementing IMO’s energy efficiency regulation and discuss constraints and opportunities.

More info on the European Union’s capacity building work can be found here.

Find out more about the GMN project and the five centres at gmn.imo.org

 

Spill preparedness and response – a collaborative effort

13/03/2018 

IMO has joined leading oil spill experts and stakeholders to discuss future issues concerning oil spill preparedness, response and restoration – at the Interspill 2018 conference and exhibition in London (13-15 March).

Speaking at the opening session, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said that “many years of collaborative work between governments and industry, at IMO, have helped reduce dramatically the number of oil spills and the amount of oil spilt from ships”. Mr. Lim outlined how individual incidents had been catalysts for significant improvements, through IMO regulations, in areas such as ship design, operation, disposal of engine room wastes, as well as the framework for compensating the victims of pollution incidents.

He also highlighted IMO’s continuing support, with assistance from a number of key partners, to countries to improve their capacity in preparing for, and dealing with, major incidents that might result in pollution damage.

During the conference, IMO’s Patricia Charlebois will present contributions of GESAMP as part of the science workshop on hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) pollution, and Colleen O’Hagan will chair a session on government/industry partnerships.

Additionally, IMO’s latest environment-related publications, e-reader software (IMO Bookshelf) and IMO News Magazine are being showcased at by IMO Publishing’s Lee-Ann Dell and Sally McElhayer. The team are sharing a stand with the IOPC Funds. IMO and IOPC Funds are co-sponsors of the Interspill event.

 

Safety aspects of shore-side power

12/03/2018 

Plugging a ship into shore-side power - and turning off onboard generators - is one solution to reducing air pollution from ships, as well as limiting local noise. IMO is this week beginning to look at the safety aspects of on shore power supply to ships, also known as “cold ironing”, “alternative maritime power” and “shore-side electricity”. The Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), meeting 12-16 March, has been instructed to develop guidelines on the safe operation of cold ironing and to consider developing any necessary draft amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.

On other matters, the Sub-Committee is expected to finalize draft new requirements for ventilation of totally enclosed lifeboats. This important work is aimed at ensuring that a habitable environment is maintained in such survival craft. The meeting will also consider specific conditions and performance criteria for life-saving appliances and arrangements intended for use in polar waters, following the entry into force of IMO’s Polar Code

Fire protection issues on the agenda include the ongoing review of current SOLAS regulations and associated codes to minimize the incidence and consequences of fires on new and existing ro-ro passenger ships, specifically in the ro-ro spaces and special category spaces. 

Mandatory requirements for onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches are also on the agenda. The Sub-Committee is expected to identify where draft requirements should be included in the SOLAS treaty and further develop draft related guidelines.
The SSE 5 meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Dr. Susumu Ota (Japan). See photos.

 

Plurinational State of Bolivia joins International Mobile Satellite Organization

09/03/2018 

​The Plurinational State of Bolivia has become the 104th country to join the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO), the inter-governmental body that oversees the provision of certain satellite-based maritime distress communication services. The IMSO Convention was adopted by IMO in 1976 to establish and oversee satellite communications for shipping. Ms. Giovanna Lenny Vidal, Chargée d'Affaires, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and IMSO Director General Capt. Moin Ahmed (pictured: right) to deposit the instrument of accession to the Convention.

 

Philippine officials trained in forming maritime transport policy

09/03/2018 

Officials from various government entities in the Philippines have received training in how to develop a National Maritime Transport Policy (NMPT). The concept is being promoted by IMO as a good governance practice to guide planning, decision making and legislation in the maritime sector, and as a key driver for a country's sustainable development. The event took place in Manila, Philippines (6-8 March), organised by IMO together with the Philippines Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the World Maritime University (WMU).

The training comes at an opportune moment – with the Philippines in the process of adopting its Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP) 2018-2028 – designed to enhance the country’s maritime industry. Forty-five officials took part in the Manila event, which was run by IMO’s Josephine Uranza and WMU’s Professor Neil Bellefontaine and Associate Professor Henning Jessen.

 

Stopping the spread of invasive species

07/03/2018 

Non-native species can be spread from ocean to ocean via ship. They may be carried via ballast water or attach to the hulls and other parts of ships, hitching a ride across the oceans. IMO is addressing this problem through the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, which entered into force in September 2017 and requires ships to manage their ballast water to limit the spread of aquatic organisms. Also, IMO’s Biofouling Guidelines address bioinvasions via ships’ hulls. The joint International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and IMO (ICES/IOC/IMO) Working Group on Ballast and Other Ship Vectors, discussed various topics related to the management of both ballast water and biofouling, which are the two vectors for ship-mediated introductions of invasive aquatic species, at its annual meeting, held in Madeira, Portugal (5-7 March).
 
IMO’s Theofanis Karayannis updated the meeting on the latest developments and outcomes on ballast water management from recent IMO meetings, including the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71) and the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 5), as well as expected discussions at MEPC 72 to be held in April.  
 
Mr Karayannis also outlined the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project which will aim at building capacity in developing countries for improved implementation of biofouling management. The Project is in its preparatory phase, selecting the recipient countries and designing the list of activities that will be carried out once the full-size Project is launched later this year. 

 

Maritime women to benefit from new leadership course

02/03/2018 

Maritime subjects are set to feature on a new Leadership in the Public Sector course being developed by the training arm of the UN system – the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). This was decided at a UNITAR meeting at IMO Headquarters, London (28 February) where a task force, including IMO, was set up to develop the course.

The training will be launched in Marrakech, Morocco (23 June) with a view to delivering the training to women officials attending the next regional meeting of the network for women of maritime authorities in Latin America later this year.

This initiative is part of IMO's ongoing efforts to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls (SDG5).

Representatives from IMO’s Technical Cooperation Division also discussed the potential for future collaboration with UNITAR in its role in providing high-quality learning solutions to individuals, organizations and institutions, particularly in the developing world.

 

New sponsor for marine science

02/03/2018 

IMO's marine science advisory group, GESAMP*, is welcoming a new sponsor. The International Seabed Authority (ISA), the agency responsible for regulating mining and related activities in the international seabed, beyond national jurisdiction, an area that includes most of the world's oceans, is becoming the tenth sponsoring organization of GESAMP.

The new sponsor is joining the other nine organizations whose task is to advise the United Nations on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection. The ISA's expertise is already being put to good use, with the Authority taking part in a working group dealing with the impacts of wastes and other matter in the marine environment from mining operations, including marine mineral mining.

The newly added sponsor is good news for GESAMP, which will celebrate 50 years of service as an advisory mechanism to the UN next year.

* The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection

 

France ratifies fishing vessel safety treaty

23/02/2018 

Efforts to increase global fishing vessel safety have received a boost with France becoming the ninth State to ratify IMO’s Cape Town Agreement. The treaty covers various important safety requirements including radiocommunications, life-saving appliances and arrangements, emergency procedures, musters and drills. The Cape Town Agreement will enter into force 12 months after it has been ratified by 22 States which, collectively, have 3,600 or more fishing vessels of at least 24 metres in length operating on the high seas.

H.E. Ambassador Nicole Taillefer, Permanent Representative of France to IMO, presented the instrument of ratification to IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (23 February).

 

Putting the Polar Code into practice

22/02/2018 

IMO’s Polar Code, when properly applied, is a powerful tool for safeguarding the environment and protecting the lives of seafarers and passengers in the challenging polar regions. This was the message from IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to an international conference on implementing the Polar Code, in Helsinki, Finland (22 February).

The Code entered into force in January 2017 and sets out mandatory standards covering the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training and environmental protection matters that apply to ships operating in the inhospitable waters surrounding the two poles.

Speaking at the opening of the event, Mr. Lim addressed the wide variety of stakeholders involved in applying the treaty, including law makers, business leaders, diplomats and international organizations. He emphasized that one of the Code’s strengths, as a “living document”, was that it can and will be regularly reviewed, amended and adjusted to reflect changing considerations, new concerns and new experience gained in its practical application.

Some of these developments may involve amending the treaty to cover issues like oil spill response, search and rescue facilities, and applying the code to non-SOLAS ships such as fishing vessels, pleasure yachts, and cargo ships under 500 gross tonnage.

During his trip to Finland (photos) Mr. Lim also visited the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Vessel Traffic Services Centre, an ice-breaker, and H.E. Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland – using the experience to exchange ideas with those directly involved in putting the Polar Code into practice.

More information about the Polar Code, including videos and infographics, can be found here.

 

Distress and safety at sea

20/02/2018 

Seafarers depend on a robust distress and safety system when life is in danger at sea. This week’s meeting of the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (19-23 February) will be focusing on core areas of IMO’s work relating to safety at sea.

The meeting will review progress in its ongoing work to modernize the Global Maritime Distress and Safety system (GMDSS). The GMDSS was adopted in 1988 to ensure full integration of maritime radio and satellite communications so that distress alerts can be generated from anywhere on the world’s oceans. The modernization plan aims to update the provisions, including allowing for the incorporation of new satellite communication services.

The meeting will consider updates to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual, which contains detailed guidance for a common aviation and maritime approach to organizing and providing search and rescue services. Draft amendments prepared by the October 2017 meeting of the meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)/IMO Joint Working Group on the Harmonization of Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue include a new section related to search and rescue operations in areas remote from search and rescue facilities; and updates to the section on mass rescue operations.

E-navigation matters are also on the agenda, focusing on harmonization and standardization which is key for the effective implementation of the e-navigation strategy, which aims to harness the benefits of integrated high-tech navigation solutions. Draft Guidelines on standardized modes of operation (S-mode) will be considered.

Amongst other regular agenda items, the Sub-Committee will review proposed new or amended ships' routeing measures and consider matters relating to the functioning and operation of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT).

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim opened the session, which is being chaired by Mr. Ringo Lakeman (Netherlands). (Click for photos).

 

Policy planning lessons for maritime law students

16/02/2018 

Students from the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) in Malta are being introduced to key policy planning issues as part of IMO's on-going work to support the future leaders of the maritime world (15-16 February). 

The event focused on National Maritime Transport Policy (NMTP) formulation, which is being promoted by IMO as a good governance practice to guide planning, decision making and legislation in the maritime sector, and a key driver for a country's sustainable development. IMO has been providing training to its interested Member States on developing, adopting and updating NMTPs.

The end of the seminar will see students participate in a practical group exercise, in which they themselves will practise formulating the key aspects of a maritime transport policy. The students were introduced to the topic by IMO's Jonathan Pace and World Maritime University (WMU) Associate Professor George Theocharidis.

The seminar is being held for a second consecutive year and is the result of continuing, fruitful collaboration between IMO and its two global maritime training institutions – WMU and IMLI


 

UN Environment visits IMO

14/02/2018 

​When it comes to ocean protection and delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, IMO and UN Environment share a great deal of common ground. Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment, paid a visit to IMO today to talk with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim about collaboration between the two Organizations, particularly how to address SDG 14 -  life below water. The issue of microplastic and how to curb its presence in the ocean was discussed as a high priority, and a potential partnership with the World Maritime University, particularly its new Ocean Institute, was explored. There are clearly many areas where the two agencies can find synergies and this visit was a positive step in that direction. 

 

Qatar accedes to Ballast Water Management Convention

08/02/2018 

​Sixty-eight countries have now signed up to IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, with Qatar being the latest to accede to the treaty helping to protect the marine environment. The signatories now represent more than 75% of the world's merchant fleet tonnage. Under the treaty, ships are required to manage their ballast water, which can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants and organisms, which are then carried across the globe.

H.E. Mr. Yousef Ali Al-Khater, Ambassador of Qatar to the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (8 February) to deposit the instrument of accession.

Find out more about the Ballast Water Management Convention, including FAQs, videos, infographics and more, here.​

 

Implementing the 2020 sulphur limit

05/02/2018 

The 0.50% limit on sulphur in fuel oil on board ships (outside designated emission control areas) will come into effect on 1 January 2020. Ensuring consistent implementation of the 0.50% requirement is a key item on the agenda of IMO’s Sub-committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) which meets this week (5-9 February) at IMO headquarters, London. The meeting will also continue to look at how to measure black carbon emissions from shipping. 

Other matters on the agenda include the development of further guidance to support the implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention, including ballast water sampling and analysis. Revised guidelines for the use of dispersants for combating oil pollution at sea, which take into account experience from the Deepwater Horizon incident, are expected to be finalised.

The ongoing revision of the product lists and index in the international code for carriage of chemicals in bulk will continue, as well as consideration of requirements to address the discharge of high-viscosity solidifying and persistent floating products (such as certain vegetable oils). The meeting will also consider including new controls on the biocide cybutryne in the convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention).

The meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr Sveinung Oftedal (Norway).

Click for photos.

 

Fine-tuning ballast water testing

02/02/2018 

Experts from ballast water testing facilities from around the world gathered in London (1-2 February) to discuss the science behind ballast water management. They were meeting as part of the Global TestNet – a forum of organizations involved in standardization, transparency and openness of land-based and/or shipboard testing for the certification of ballast water management systems.

Standardized testing helps to ensure the effectiveness of IMO measures to protect marine ecosystems from potentially harmful invasive aquatic species transported in ships’ ballast water. IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention requires ships to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard.

Another key issue on the agenda was biofouling – the build-up of aquatic organisms on ships’ underwater hull and structures – which the Global TestNet will also be addressing. IMO’s Antoine Blonce gave a presentation on the subject, introducing IMO’s new GloFouling project, which is building on the Organization’s work to help protect marine ecosystems by dealing with potentially invasive species.

Further technical issues discussed at the 9th Global TestNet meeting included so-called challenge water validations, representative sampling and ring testing between test facilities. 

The Global TestNet was created in 2013 under the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) of the GloBallast project. IMO was represented at the meeting, which took place at IMarEST headquarters, by Theofanis Karayannis, Megan Jensen, Antoine Blonce and John Alonso.

 

IMO collaborates to boost African security capability

02/02/2018 

As part of its continuing efforts to help African countries improve their maritime security capabilities, IMO frequently works with other partners to help support their initiatives.

The United States, for example, leads two major annual maritime security exercises in Africa and one of these, Cutlass Express, is underway now (Feb 2018). Cutlass Express puts special emphasis on encouraging different agencies and different countries to work together, as envisaged in existing frameworks such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) – a regional agreement against maritime crime in eastern Africa, the West Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, which IMO helped to establish.

IMO is making a contribution to Cutlass Express with two training workshops being held at the DCoC information sharing centres in Mombasa, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (29 Jan – 7 Feb). Both are designed to enhance inter-agency cooperation in dealing with maritime security issues at national level. This has been identified as one of the most pressing needs for the region during a series of “table top” exercises carried out previously by IMO.

IMO is also participating in a senior leadership seminar in support of Cutlass Express, highlighting the progress of the DCoC and the similar Yaounde Code of Conduct in building capacity, capability and co-operation in Africa to combat maritime crime and thereby help promote the “blue economy”.

 

Blue border security assessment

02/02/2018 

IMO’s maritime security provisions and the IMO treaties for the suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of navigation can be seen in the wider context of the global fight against terrorism. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED) carries out assessment visits to countries to assess their compliance with various international security instruments and UN Security Council resolutions. IMO has participated in a follow-up UNCTED assessment visit to Greece (31 January to 1 February), alongside the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the international police agencies Interpol and Europol.

The maritime security aspects of the visit (which was a follow-up to a 2010 assessment) focused in particular on compliance with the ISPS Code for ships and port facilities, as well as Greece's experience with inter-agency cooperation on risk assessment, amongst entities which include the coast guard, police and customs, with a view to identifying best practices.

The multi-agency inclusion in the UNCTED assessments of IMO and partner organizations demonstrates a "one UN" response and provides an opportunity to highlight maritime security responsibilities as part of wider national security policies and procedures in a dialogue involving senior levels of government departments and agencies. Henrik Madsen participated on behalf of IMO. 

 

Maritime graduates step out

01/02/2018 

Be ambitious. Make navigation safe, always. This was the message from IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to young, aspirational maritime transport and technology graduates in Alexandria, Egypt (26 January). Speaking at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), Mr. Lim praised the graduates’ dedication and challenged them to be ambitious in their maritime careers and, above all else, to focus on being safe when involved in ship navigation – no matter what the role. He also emphasized that the International Maritime Organization would always be a place they could call their “international home”.

Watch the full parade and ceremony speeches, here.

 

Data models for maritime E-business

31/01/2018 

Effective global electronic data exchange for ships entering and leaving ports depends on standardized and harmonized practices for data exchange. This can include data models which define and format data which might be transferred between automated systems, such as for export, import and transit. Such systems will be key to implementing IMO’s Facilitation Convention requirements on electronic data exchange from April 2019. 

IMO participated in the World Customs Organization (WCO) Data Model Project Team meeting (22-26 January) in Brussels, to receive updates on the latest work by the WCO. The WCO Data Model supports the implementation of a “single window” for electronic data exchange, as it allows the reporting of information to all government agencies through the unique way it organizes regulatory information.

IMO, WCO, UN/CEFACT, ISO and other stakeholders also participated in a dedicated focus group on the revision of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business, which provides guidance and standardised forms for electronic exchange of information on cargo, passengers and crew, for ships, carriers, port authorities, customs, terminals, consignees and other parties in the supply chain. The Focus Group refined the contents of the draft revised Compendium, identified new issues to be addressed, and discussed additional coding possibilities.  The Focus Group also identified some data elements related to the electronic transmission of data, that should be included in the updated IMO Compendium. An update on progress with the revision will be presented to the next session of IMO’s Facilitation Committee in June 2018.

Under a partnership agreement between IMO and WCO, WCO has responsibility for the technical maintenance of the Compendium, including liaison with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the global focal point for trade facilitation recommendations and electronic business standards (UN/EDIFACT).

IMO’s Julian Abril attended the Data Model Project Team meeting and the Focus Group on the IMO Compendium.  

 

IMO supports maritime security in west and central Africa

30/01/2018 

Efforts to prevent piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in west and central Africa are being boosted by an extended IMO mission to Yaoundé, Cameroon (18 January – 2 February). An IMO consultant is working with the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) to support the Centre’s work to carry out a regional maritime safety and security strategy under the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct was signed by governments in the region, in 2013, to enhance cooperation on maritime safety and security. The consultant is identifying the current needs, status and requirements under the Code and is supporting the ICC’s work to create a regional mechanism for collaboration in the centre – as well as the urgent need to support the regional organizations and States involved. Some of the tasks include creating a list of focal points under the Code of Conduct, developing the centre’s work programme, and creating an inventory of international laws and conventions on maritime crimes. The work will continue in March, with a further two weeks of assessments and support.

Find out more about IMO’s maritime security work, here.

 

The latest on e-Navigation

26/01/2018 

Reliable, user-friendly and integrated navigation and communications systems can help with decision making on a ship. That is where e-Navigation comes in. IMO attended the e-Navigation Underway International Conference which takes place every year on board a ship travelling between Copenhagen and Oslo (24-26 January 2018). IMO's Sascha Pristrom gave a presentation on IMO's plan to lead shipping into a new digital era. He updated participants on IMO's e-Navigation Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP) as well as its work with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to develop guidance on definition and harmonization of the format and structure of Maritime Service Portfolios (MSPs). IMO also highlighted the need for a coordinated approach between regulators and the industry.   

IMO plays a central and coordinating role in harmonizing and enhancing navigation systems in order to improve safety of navigation and reduce errors. This conference is a key forum for discussions about the many challenges facing e-Navigation around the globe and a way to explore new strategies and technical progress. Some of the other topics covered included e-Navigation services in the Polar regions, e-Navigation and big data and autonomous operations.


 

Mooring matters

23/01/2018 

​IMO is working to prevent accidents and injury when ships are being secured at their berth in a port. A revised SOLAS regulation on safe mooring is expected to be finalised when the  Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) meets this week (22-26 January). The meeting will also further develop new and revised related guidance to support the safe use of equipment, including mooring lines, pulleys, winches and so on.

Other important items on the agenda include guidelines and regulations for passenger ships in the event of flooding. Ships should be designed so that essential systems remain operational after a casualty. The meeting is expected to finalize draft guidelines on stability computers and shore-based support for specific passenger ships, to support draft SOLAS amendments regarding operational information after a flooding casualty for new and existing ships expected to be adopted this year. Also in development are draft amendments to SOLAS on the availability of passenger ships' electrical power after flooding from side raking damage. On other matters, the Sub-Committee will continue ongoing work, including developing a draft new SOLAS chapter and related Code on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages; and developing second generation intact stability criteria.

The SDC Sub-Committee was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, and is being chaired by Kevin Hunter (United Kingdom). Click for photos.

 

Armenia joins IMO

22/01/2018 

The Republic of Armenia has become the latest Member of IMO, following the deposit of an instrument of acceptance of the Convention on the International Maritime Organization with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 19 January 2018.
With the acceptance of the Convention by Armenia, the number of IMO Member States stands at 173, with a further three Associate Members.

 

Myanmar accedes to treaty covering bunker oil pollution damage

19/01/2018 

The IMO treaty ensuring that adequate compensation is available to persons that suffer damage caused by oil spills, when carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers, has been ratified by Myanmar. The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (BUNKER) applies to damage caused on the territory, including the territorial sea, and in exclusive economic zones of States under the Convention.

Under the Convention, the registered owner of a vessel is required to maintain compulsory insurance cover, and there is also the requirement for ‘direct action’ – which allows a claim for compensation for pollution damage to be brought directly against an insurer.

H.E. Mr. Kyaw Zwar Minn, Ambassador of Myanmar to the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London to deposit the instrument of accession (19 January). Myanmar’s ratification brings the number of States to accede to the treaty to 87, representing 92.5% of the world's merchant fleet tonnage.

 

Sanchi tanker - a message from IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

15/01/2018 

​“Following confirmation that the oil tanker Sanchi has now sunk, after the collision off the coast of China, our thoughts and hopes remain with the seafarers still missing. Our deepest condolences go to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.

“I would like to commend all those involved in the international search and rescue operations and the efforts to battle the fire and contain pollution from the ship.

“This is an ongoing situation which we are monitoring. Although the vessel has sunk, efforts to contain the pollution continue. IMO stands ready to offer any technical assistance that may be needed.

“In the longer term, a full investigation into this incident is expected and the results and findings will be brought to IMO so that we can do whatever may be necessary to reduce the chances of such an incident happening again.”