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What's New during 2019

 

Spotlighting IMO's actions on climate change

18/06/2019 

IMO is at the UN climate change conference in Bonn, Germany (17-27 June), where governments are meeting to work towards significantly accelerating the pace of climate action. IMO is reporting to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA 50) on the latest and ongoing work to implement the Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships. The strategy sets out a vision confirming 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.

Specifically, IMO has highlighted the achievements of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74), which approved amendments to strengthen existing mandatory requirements for new ships to be more energy efficient; initiated the Fourth IMO GHG Study; adopted a resolution encouraging voluntary cooperation between the port and shipping sectors to reduce emissions from shipping; and, importantly, approved a procedure for the assessment of impacts on States of new measures proposed.

Capacity-building and technology transfer feature heavily in IMO's work, including the continued successful execution of important capacity-building projects, the GEF-UNDP-IMO Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) and the European Union-IMO GMN (Global Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres Network). An international project to support the initial IMO GHG strategy has been launched - the GreenVoyage-2050 project, a collaboration between IMO and the Government of Norway. 

IMO's submission to SBSTA 50 can be downloaded here.

 

IMO and UN Environment – working together to keep the Mediterranean clean

14/06/2019 

​A key IMO-administered pollution response facility in the Mediterranean is to undertake a far-reaching programme of activities designed to help address the adverse effects of shipping on human health and marine ecosystems.

At their bi-annual meeting in Malta (11-13 June), focal points for the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC), have agreed:

·  to continue developing and strengthening pollution response capacity and cooperation at national, sub-regional and regional levels

·  to explore and establish synergies between the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean and the IMO action plan to address marine plastic litter from ships

·  to examine further the possibility of designating the Mediterranean Sea area as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides under MARPOL Annex VI

·  the need to define a sustainable and collaborative approach to implement the Offshore Protocol and its action plan effectively, and

·  to launch a wide consultation process to prepare a draft post-2021 Mediterranean strategy for prevention of, and response to, marine pollution from ships involving all coastal States and relevant regional organizations

The meeting marked the 25th anniversary of the Mediterranean Assistance Unit (MAU), a group of experts and centres of expertise that can be mobilised by REMPEC in emergencies, and welcomed its latest member, the Adriatic Training and Research Centre for Accidental Marine Pollution Preparedness and Response.

More than 80 participants attended the meeting, from IMO, 19 Mediterranean coastal states, the European Union/European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), UN Environment, as well as other governmental and non-governmental organizations and shipping industry representatives.

Shipping activity in the Mediterranean has been rising considerably in recent highlighting the need for continued regional cooperation on pollution prevention and response. In particular, a rapid rise in cruise activity makes it now the world’s second busiest region for cruises. 

 

France signs up to fishing vessel training treaty

12/06/2019 

F​rance has become the 29th State to sign up to the IMO treaty on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F). The Convention sets the certification and minimum training requirements for crews of seagoing fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and above. It entered into force in 2012 and is a key pillar among the international instruments addressing fishing vessel safety. 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 (12 June).

 

IMO explores the gender agenda at Nor-Shipping

07/06/2019 

​In a year when promoting and empowering women is a dominant theme throughout the maritime community, IMO hosted a special event at the Nor-Shipping exhibition (6 June) to highlight the some of the challenges – and the solutions – around encouraging women to take up seafaring roles. 

An all-female panel of experts, with many years' combined seagoing experience, spoke of some of the issues they have faced and which still need to be tackled. Many were simple yet vital things. One panellist spoke of the absence of sanitary products on board (despite shaving equipment being readily available) or a means to dispose of them. Another mentioned the real threat of sexual harassment and even assault. Another said she had experienced a stream of belittling comments from fellow crew members and felt a continual need to prove herself.

But the overall tone was positive, with a strong feeling that a new generation of both male and female seafarers were no longer finding women at sea so surprising or difficult to cope with. There was a clear view that more female role models and mentors, as well as females in senior positions, were needed but these were coming through with the generational shift.

All the panellists spoke in inspirational terms about the rewards of a maritime career and praised the many networking and mentoring organisations now established for women in maritime. IMO itself has a long-standing gender equality programme and has helped establish seven regional associations for women in the maritime industries.

Earlier during Nor-Shipping, IMO's gender equality programme manager Helen Buni launched a new project with WISTA International to measure exactly how many women are working in the maritime industry. Encouraging more women into shipping is widely seen not only as desirable in its own right but also a vital source of labour for an industry frequently predicting human-resource shortfalls in the years to come.

This year, IMO's theme for World Maritime Day is "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community" and this is echoed in the 2019 Day of the Seafarer campaign which will ask maritime professionals regardless of gender to say "I Am On Board" with gender equality at sea.

 

A sustainable maritime future for Africa

06/06/2019 

A wide-ranging discussion during the "Africa@Nor-Shipping" event in Oslo, Norway (5 June) explored a host of topics related to unlocking the full potential of Africa’s blue economy. Three separate expert panels addressed competition among different maritime sectors, ocean governance and the importance of complying with international regulatory regimes, particularly IMO’s ship safety, maritime security and environment rules. 

Much discussion (photos) centred around viewing challenges as chances to grow, and the need to learn lessons from the past. Ensuring African ownership and participation was highlighted as a key aim. Speakers from IMO outlined the organisation's own extensive involvement in helping build institutional and technical capacity in Africa at the national and regional level. IMO is strongly aligned with a range of pan-African initiatives such as the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy.

The need to turn adversity into opportunity was a recurrent theme. One panellist referred to the billions of dollars currently lost to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and the enormous potential those sums held for positive impacts – if they could be recovered or diverted. Discussion on law enforcement, security and regulatory compliance continually highlighted the vital need for a collaborative and holistic approach at national level. Different government departments and agencies with a stake in such areas must coordinate and communicate with each other. Countering a tendency for “thinking in silos” has been a cornerstone of IMO's engagement in Africa for many years. 

Looking ahead, panelists agreed that future maritime development in Africa must be sustainable – clearly spelled out as development that would continue to benefit future generations. Linkages to the Sustainable Development Goals were not just desirable but necessary. One speaker talked of the need to avoid "institutional paralysis". In this context, IMO outlined how it can help governments throughout the continent to galvanise, enhance and mobilise their resources to achieve sustainable development.

Participants were reminded that 38 of 54 African countries are coastal States – and more than 90% of Africa’s imports and exports are transported by sea: Africa’s future depends on healthy oceans and a sustainable blue economy. There was also a call for the African Union, which took part in the event, to take leadership in efforts to bring about this vision of a sustainable blue economy.

In keeping with this year's World Maritime Day theme, the final panel featured a lively discussion on the importance of promoting gender equality in Africa's maritime sector. Mindsets are changing, panellists reported, but not quickly enough. Gender stereotypes built up over generations need to be broken down if the full potential of Africa's blue economy is to be realised.

The panels were moderated by JJ Shiundu, who heads IMO’s Technical Cooperation division.

 

Safety matters

05/06/2019 

The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is meeting for its 101st session, with a busy agenda encompassing maritime autonomous surface ships, polar shipping, goal-based standards and other agenda items. A number of draft amendments will be adopted, including amendments to mandatory Codes covering the carriage of potentially hazardous cargoes: the MSC is set to adopt the draft consolidated edition of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), and a comprehensive set of draft amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code).The MSC will be updated on the regulatory scoping exercise on maritime autonomous surface ships, taking into account different levels of autonomy. On polar shipping, the MSC is expected to approve draft guidance for navigation and communication equipment intended for use on ships operating in polar waters and  further consider how to move forward with developing requirements for ships operating in polar waters but not currently covered by the Polar Code. A new agenda item will look at fuel oil safety. A range of guidance and guidelines will be approved, including those related to standardization and performance standards for navigational equipment, linked to the development of e-navigation.   

The MSC was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr. Brad Groves (Australia). Read more here. Click for photos. 

 

“Sustainable and balanced” – IMO Secretary-General outlines blueprint for blue growth

04/06/2019 

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim delivered a strong reminder about the vital importance of balanced and sustainable development to delegates at the Ocean Leadership conference at the Nor-Shipping 2019 conference in Oslo today (4 June). 

In a keynote address, Mr Lim spoke of the Sustainable Development Goals as a unifying factor breathing life into global efforts to improve the lives of people everywhere. He confirmed IMO’s strong commitment to the 2030 Sustainability Agenda and reminded delegates that IMO's environment regulations were driving many of the technology innovations being showcased at the Nor-Shipping exhibition.

He highlighted moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the sulphur content of ships' fuel oil, requiring strict ballast water management and adopting the Polar Code as outstanding recent examples of IMO's own sustainability agenda.

"Events such as this", he said, "remind us that the world is no longer prepared to accept services or industries that are simply cost-effective. We now demand them to be green, clean and energy-efficient and safe. Through IMO, governments ensure that shipping is responding to that challenge."

Mr Lim also took the opportunity to reiterate his strong personal support for the themes of this year's World Maritime Day and Day of the Seafarer, both of which deal with gender equality in the maritime community.

 

Laying the legal groundwork to protect Viet Nam's seas

04/06/2019 

​IMO is supporting Viet Nam in its work to apply two IMO treaties aimed at protecting the marine environment. Under the MEPSEAS* project, a first national training course in Hai Phong, Viet Nam (3-7 June) is dealing with legal implementation of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) and Anti-Fouling Systems (AFS) conventions.

Participants are key personnel involved in developing national policies and drafting national regulation. They are being trained on developing the legal, policy and institutional framework to implement the priority conventions the country has chosen under the MEPSEAS project.

The workshop follows the regional train-the-trainer workshop held in Singapore at the end of May. It is being delivered by a team of international and national experts, and includes hands-on training on drafting regulations using templates and models developed by IMO. The event is being run in partnership with the Viet Nam Maritime Administration (VINAMARINE). 

* The Marine Environment Protection of the South-East Asian Seas project is run by IMO with funding support from Norad – find out more at mepseas.imo.org

 

The Polar Code - from theory to practice

04/06/2019 

IMO was on hand to offer advice and guidance at the third edition of the Arctic Council's Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum, held in London, United Kingdom (3-4 June). The Forum supports the effective implementation of IMO's Polar Code. This year's theme was "'From Theory to Practice" and provided an opportunity for sharing of best practices and experiences. The Forum was attended by representatives from a range of stakeholders with an interest in safe and environmentally sound Arctic shipping, including shipowners and operators, regulators, classification societies, marine insurers, and indigenous and local communities. 

In a video message to open the meeting, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, " IMO is fully aware of the benefits of a collaborative approach and its objectives can only be met if all stakeholders are involved and take on their responsibilities."

IMO recently became an Arctic Council Observer, which will further strengthen the two organizations' efforts in support of sustainable Arctic shipping.

The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum was established in 2017 by the eight Arctic States (Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States) to help raise awareness and to promote the effective implementation of the Polar Code. The Forum's web portal, www.arcticshippingforum.is, provides links to information essential to implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code, including hydrographic, meteorological, and ice data information needed to plan for safe and environmentally sound navigation in the Arctic. The forum event was hosted by the United States, at its Embassy in London.  

 

Multilingualism for transparency and communication

31/05/2019 

Multilingual communication is essential in bringing the work of the United Nations closer to the world’s citizens, fostering trust among Member States and facilitating informed decision-making. By making information available in all official languages, the language and conference services enable their organisations to communicate better, and to be more open, accountable and participatory.

IMO confirmed its commitment to multilingualism at the International Annual Meeting on Language Arrangements, Documentation and Publication (IAMLADP) in Brussels, Belgium (27-29 May). IAMLADP is an international forum and network of managers of international organizations employing conference and language service providers.

IMO joined representatives of 50 international organizations and participated in sessions on data governance in conference services, how to enhance accessibility for persons with disabilities to conferences and meetings of the United Nations system, artificial intelligence and other new technologies in the field of language and conference services and inclusive communication, among others. The IMO delegation also attended parallel peer-learning sessions on specific topics related to translation, interpretation and conference management. The meeting adopted the Brussels statement on multilingualism. The European Union hosted the event.

IMO also participated in the annual Joint Inter-Agency Meeting on Computer-Assisted Translation and Terminology (JIAMCATT), in Luxembourg (13-15 May 2019), joining participants from national and international organizations, including the United Nations and many of its specialized agencies and of the Coordinated Organizations (OECD, NATO, Interpol) as well as EU institutions. Governments were also represented, as well as the University Contact Group of IAMLADP. The meeting was hosted by the European Commission’s Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union.

JIAMCATT 2020 will be hosted by IMO in London.

 

Ensuring pollution response preparedness in the Adriatic

31/05/2019 

​Planning for any marine pollution incident requires ongoing communication, collaboration and cooperation. Regional and sub-regional contingency planning is an effective way to share resources and expertise. This was in evidence at the IMO-supported 4th edition of the Adriatic Oil Spill Conference (ADRIASPILLCON 2019), held in Opatija, Croatia (28-30 May).  

REMPEC, the IMO-administered pollution emergency response centre in the Mediterranean, shared its extensive experience and expertise in building capacity on oil spill preparedness and response in the wider Mediterranean region and in supporting other sub-regional contingency plans.

The regional conference provided an opportunity for States to discuss the level of preparedness of the region to respond to oil and chemical marine pollution, as well as to consider the mitigation of the risk and challenges of (future) offshore activities in the Adriatic Sea.

Participants at the conference represented States; regional and international institutions; the oil, chemical and shipping industries; academia; individual experts; specialised companies and equipment manufacturers. IMO funded the particiaption of six representatives from Albania, Bosnia  and Herzegovina and Montenegro, through its Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP).

 

Drilling for security

30/05/2019 

​A live security drill at a cruise ship terminal in Mexico has given participants the opportunity to hone their skills and assess where any improvements can be made. The exercise, including a simulated bomb threat, was part of a workshop on Maritime Security Drills and Exercises, delivered by the Mexican National Maritime Authority (SEMAR) and the organizers of XIII International Forum on Maritime and Port Security (PBIP Forum), in cooperation with IMO, in Cozumel, Mexico (27-30 May) at the Cozumel Cruise terminal. Participants in the drills and workshop included the cruise terminal port facility security officers, the ship security officers, the navy, bomb squad and others. 

IMO also participated in the PBIP forum, with Gisela Vieira outlining the Organization's work on capacity building through its global programme on maritime security,and reflecting on this year's World Maritime Day theme, "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community". 

The PBIP fora serve as a cooperation network in maritime and port security, to help achieve the full, effective and uniform application of the requirements of IMO's International ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Participants include government officials, PFSOs and senior-level directors and managers representing the main ports and port facilities and the industry in Latin-America.

 

Training for healthy seas in South-East Asia

30/05/2019 

Seven developing countries* in South-East Asia are receiving training to help implement key IMO marine environment protection treaties at a workshop in Singapore (28-30 May). Under the MEPSEAS project, launched last year, participants are gaining the skills to train others in their countries on how to apply IMO measures to protect seas in the region.

The workshop is focusing on regulations in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); the Anti-Fouling Systems Convention; the London dumping of wastes at sea convention and protocol; and the Ballast Water Management Convention.

Find out more about MEPSEAS at mepseas.imo.org

*Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippine, Thailand, Vietnam.

 

Growing blue

24/05/2019 

What is maritime development and why is it important? Isn’t one of the biggest challenges the failure to appreciate the value of the maritime sector? These are the questions being raised by IMO at the Growing Blue Conference in Maputo, Mozambique (23-24 May).

“Ultimately, more efficient shipping, working in partnership with a port sector supported by governments, will be a major driver towards global stability and sustainable development for the good of all people” said IMO’s Chris Trelawny, speaking at the event. 

IMO’s Maritime Development programme is assisting countries to grow sustainable blue economies and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by working to help IMO Member States to develop innovative policies and strategies to respond to the needs of countries at the national, regional and global levels. This includes supporting development of national port and shipping sectors, promoting seafaring and shipping-related work as viable employment options for young people, both male and female, and facilitating regional trade by sea to foster manufacturing and export of finished products in addition to raw materials, with resulting benefits including increased and sustainable employment opportunities ashore.

More than 500 participants, including UN Special Envoy for Oceans, Peter Thomson, various Ministers and the Presidents of Mozambique and the Seychelles took part in the Conference. It builds on the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Kenya in November 2018, which featured forward-looking IMO side events on the sustainable blue economy; integrating women in the maritime sector; and reducing GHG emissions from ships.

Find out more about IMO and the Sustainable Development Goals, here.

 

Teenagers get to grip with oil spill prevention

24/05/2019 

Discussions on oil pollution prevention, preparedness and response took centre stage this week (20-24 May) at the latest edition of Spillcon 2019 in Perth, Australia.

The forum included sessions on cause and prevention, response management and environmental issues.

A raft of high calibre national and international speakers addressed the conference on their particular areas of expertise. However, this year, the audience also invited 12 to 15 years olds to join the event to learn more about issues related to environmental protection, oil and chemical pollution, preparedness and response. The curious students took part in a range of activities some of which supported by IMO to educate them on the issue.

Other senior participants at the conference gained knowledge with a view to improving their respective technical competencies and developing capacity at the national level. 

Spillcon, which is part of a conference series partly organized by IMO, enhances regional and global knowledge on the issues surrounding global oil spill. The Conferences also provided a venue for international experts in oil spill prevention, preparedness, response and restoration to share information in a common forum.

IMO sponsored 10 participants* from Asia and the Pacific to attend the event.

* Federate States of Micronesia, Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Malaysia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Timor Leste, Tonga 


 

Getting audit-ready in Cameroon

17/05/2019 

Auditing IMO Member States to assess how effectively they enforce key IMO treaties is an important part of the Organization's work to ensure its regulatory framework is universally adopted and implemented.

IMO's Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) is the subject of a national workshop taking place in Yaoundé, Cameroon (13-17 May).

The participants are made up of senior administration personnel involved in preparing audits for their government. Participants also received specific training on documentation needed to conduct an audit.  

The scheme became mandatory in January 2016. To date, 65 mandatory audits have been carried out, with a further 12 planned for later year. All Member States are required to undergo a mandatory audit within the seven-year audit cycle.

The workshop was organized by IMO and hosted by the Ministry of Transport of Cameroon. 


 

National maritime transport policy training for Saint Kitts and Nevis

16/05/2019 

Saint Kitts and Nevis is the latest country to benefit from IMO’s work promoting good maritime governance practice – through a National Maritime Transport Policy (NMTP) workshop, underway in Basseterre (14-16 May).

The event brought together participants from over 30 institutions, including ministries, State and stakeholder agencies to work towards a policy to help achieve the maritime vision of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Creating a NMPT policy will help the country’s maritime transport sector to be governed in a coordinated, efficient, sustainable, safe and environmentally-sound manner –contributing to the country’s sustainable socio-economic development and achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Find out more about the National Maritime Transport Policy concept, what it is and how it works, by watching IMO’s NMTP video, here.

The workshop was organized by IMO, in cooperation with the Department of Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Posts, Urban Development and Transport of Saint Kitts and Nevis, with support from the World Maritime University (WMU).

 

Malta accedes to ship recycling convention

14/05/2019 

Malta is the latest country to accede to IMO's treaty for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling – the Hong Kong Convention.

The Convention covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.

Under the treaty, ships to be sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.

H.E. Mr. Victor Camilleri, Permanent Representative of Malta to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (14 May) to deposit the instrument of accession.

Twelve contracting States party to the Convention now represent more than 28.8% of world merchant shipping tonnage.

 

Shipping and environment in spotlight as IMO Committee meets

13/05/2019 

IMO’s key environment protection meeting has opened for its 74th session (13-17 May). The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships is a key agenda item, following up on the initial IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships. A working group is expected to be established, continuing the work of an intersessional meeting which met last week (7-10) May. The fourth IMO GHG study is expected to be initiated, the procedure for assessing the impact on States of new measures will be considered and possible short-term measures will be discussed. 

A set of draft guidelines and guidance documents to support the implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit from 1 January 2020 are set to be approved this week. The new limit will have major health and environmental benefits.  

Other important agenda items include: the  adoption of MARPOL amendments to strengthen requirements regarding discharge of high-viscosity substances, such as certain vegetable oils and paraffin-like cargoes; the follow up on the IMO Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships; implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention; and approval, for future adoption, of draft amendments to the International Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS), to include controls on the biocide cybutryne.

Further information on the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 74th session agenda can be found here. The MEPC was opened by Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr. Hideaki Saito (Japan). Click for photos.

 

Ship recycling needs the Hong Kong Convention

10/05/2019 

Ten years after the adoption of IMO’s Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, in May 2009, there has been progress with voluntary application of its requirements, but the treaty needs to enter into force for it to be widely implemented. “I urge Member States who have not yet done so to ratify the Convention at the earliest opportunity, in order to bring it into force as soon as possible,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, speaking at an International Seminar on Ship Recycling: Towards the Early Entry into Force of the Hong Kong Convention (10 May). The seminar was organized by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan in cooperation with the IMO Secretariat.

Speakers from industry and national authorities, including ship recycling countries, are addressing the seminar, which aims to highlight how to promote sustainable ship recycling and discuss what is necessary to move forward for the early entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention. 

The Hong Kong Convention covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships. Under the treaty, ships are required to carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", specific to each individual ship to be recycled, specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.

Secretary-General Lim highlighted the work already done by IMO to develop guidelines to assist in implementation, with a range of awareness-raising workshops, training and other similar projects, to help build capacity in ship recycling countries and establish the conditions that will enable those which have not yet done so, to ratify or accede to the Convention. In particular, the ongoing project on "Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh" (SENSREC), funded by the Government of Norway and jointly implemented by IMO, the Government of Bangladesh and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS), is in its second phase, focusing on building the country's institutional capacity and implementing the training materials based on Phase I. Meanwhile, the Government of Japan has been working with relevant stakeholders to improve ship recycling in South Asia.

To date, the Hong Kong Convention has been ratified or acceded by eleven States: Belgium, Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Estonia, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Serbia and Turkey. The combined merchant fleets of these eleven States constitute 23% of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant fleet and their combined ship recycling volume constitutes about 1.6 million gross tonnage (about 0.56% of the gross tonnage of the eleven contracting States' merchant fleet). Entry into force requires 15 States, 40% of the world's merchant fleet and their ship recycling volume constituting not less than 3% of the gross tonnage of these contracting States' merchant fleet.

 

Better prepared for maritime security incidents

09/05/2019 

Suriname is the latest country to benefit from IMO maritime security training. Participants at a workshop in Paramaribo, Suriname (7-8 May) took part in table-top contingency planning exercises involving a variety of maritime security issues. These included threats to cruise ships, border security issues involving ports, airports and land border crossing, as well as potential incidents involving proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and arms and drugs consignments.

The main objective of the exercise was to encourage a multi-agency, whole of government approach to maritime and port facility security and related maritime law enforcement issues – with participants working to identify gaps in national procedures or legislation, opportunities for improvement, and further needs for training or technical assistance.

The exercise took place following a request by Suriname to assist the country in strengthening its implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) – specifically those that fall within the scope of IMO’s SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code and/or the 1988 and 2005 SUA treaties (click for details of these treaties).

The workshop was organised in collaboration with the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC).

 

IMO gets observer status at Arctic Council

07/05/2019 

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has been granted observer status at the Arctic Council. This will allow IMO to build on previous cooperation with the Arctic Council and engage in close collaboration on a range issues related to shipping in the Arctic, in particular, search and rescue, pollution response and maritime safety and protection of the marine environment.

IMO has adopted the  Polar Code, which provides mandatory requirements for ships operating in the harsh environment of the Polar regions, to provide additional protection on top of existing mandatory rules, for ship design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters. IMO is currently developing develop measures to reduce the risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters. 

IMO's "Guide on Oil Spill Response in Ice and Snow Conditions", approved in 2016, was developed in coordination with the Arctic Council's Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group.

The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental organization which promotes greater coordination and cooperation among the Arctic States, among other things. The members of the Arctic Council are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States. IMO joins four other United Nations system bodies with observer status at the Arctic Council (UNDP, UN-ECE, UNEP and WMO). The 11th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland, welcomed IMO as an observer organization. ​

 

How to cut port waiting times to reduce emissions

03/05/2019 

Data sharing is a prerequisite to enabling the successful implementation of “Just-In-Time” (JIT) operations – which can cut the time ships spend idling outside ports and help cut emissions as well as save on fuel costs. Participants at a roundtable meeting of IMO’s Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) at IMO Headquarters, London (1-2 May), agreed that increased transparency of information through data sharing was imperative, while this should be achieved through standardized functional and data definitions. More frequent exchange of information would lead to better predictability of when a berth is available. The roundtable identified the need for a global, neutral, not-for profit data sharing platform, to allow frequent updates from terminals and vessel service providers on completion times. 

The roundtable also identified the potential benefits of regulating data sharing, while incentivising data quality.  

The roundtable meeting is the latest in a series organized by the GIA, to identify and discuss the operational, contractual and regulatory barriers – and potential solutions – to the uptake of Just-In-Time operations. Operational measures can help to substantially cut greenhouse gas emissions from ships. In 2018, IMO adopted an initial IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, setting out a vision which confirms IMO’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and to phasing them out as soon as possible.

The GIA is an innovative public-private partnership initiative of the IMO, under the framework of the GEF-UNDP-IMO Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project that aims to bring together maritime industry leaders to support an energy efficient and low carbon maritime transport system. The roundtable was attended by more than 30 GIA and non-GIA members (including shipping companies, ship agents, ship brokers, ports, terminals, bunker providers, nautical service provider, maritime organizations, maritime law firms).

 

Improving practices in oil spill preparedness and response in Liberia

03/05/2019 

Increased commercial and oil activity in Liberia's territorial waters has seen the number of tankers and other ships supporting the oil activities, rise significantly.

These activities are critical to the Liberian economy but pose a risk in the event of an oil spill. To address this issue, the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF) has organized a workshop in Monrovia, Liberia (29 April – 2 May) which provided participants with incident management process information as well as an opportunity to test the newly learned material through an exercise.

The workshop also provided Liberia with the opportunity to update its Incident Management System and strengthened its national oil spill preparedness and response system. Liberia is seeing a growing number of fishing communities along its coast and has a responsibility to protect the livelihood of these communities by having a robust oil spill preparedness and response plan in place.

The workshop was hosted by the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA).


 

Breaking down stereotypes in a male-dominated industry

02/05/2019 

​Breaking down gender stereotypes in the maritime industry is not just important in its own right, it is also beneficial for the industry as a whole. That was one of the key messages to emerge from a special event held at IMO Headquarters in London yesterday, on International Labour Day (May 1).

In a year when IMO is highlighting its efforts to empower women in the maritime community, a panel discussion among five high level female maritime professionals and an invited audience of IMO delegates and other maritime representatives explored issues around female representation in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Sakura Kuma (Executive Director of the Port of Yokohama), Fran Collins (CEO of Red Funnel Group), Katy Ware (Maritime Safety and Standards Director at the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency), Despina Theodossiou (CEO of Tototheo Maritime and President of WISTA International) and Kathi Stanzel, (MD of INTERTANKO) discussed what had inspired them to join the maritime profession and the barriers that still need to be tackled.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim confirmed that IMO is strongly committed to helping Member States achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting SDG 5 on gender equality as one of the key platforms on which a sustainable future can be built.

Four maritime NGOs (ICS, BIMCO, INTERTANKO and WISTA) combined to organise the event.

 

Canada accedes to Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention

01/05/2019 

Hazardous shipwrecks can cause many problems. Depending on its location, a wreck may be a hazard to navigation, potentially endangering other vessels and their crews. 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. Canada has become the 44th State to accede to this important IMO treaty.

H.E. Janice Charette, High Commissioner & Permanent Representative of Canada to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (30 April 2019) to deposit the instrument of accession.


 

New IMO model courses on IGF code and ship safety to be validated

29/04/2019 

IMO model courses are valuable tools that assist Member States and other stakeholders to develop detailed training programmes, to effectively implement the provisions of the 1978 STCW Convention, as amended, and to achieve the knowledge and skills demanded by increasingly sophisticated shipping industry. Three new model courses and one revised model course have been put forward to the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW 6, 29 April-3 May) for validation: draft new model courses on Advanced training for masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the International Code of Safety for Ship Using Gases or Other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code); Basic training for masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code; and Passenger safety, cargo safety and hull integrity training; and the draft revised model course on Advanced training in firefighting. The Sub-Committee will also consider the conversion of IMO model courses to e-learning versions, if appropriate, taking into account costs and other implications, and refining the process to develop, revise and validate model courses.
 
Amongst other items on the HTW 6 agenda, the Sub-Committee will continue its ongoing comprehensive review of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F), 1995, which entered into force in 2012. It is a key pillar among the international instruments on fishing vessel safety. Progress is expected with the review of all chapters and the preparation of an associated Code.

Under the agenda item on the “role of the human element”, the Sub-Committee is expected to look at developing guidance on the application of casualty cases and lessons learned to seafarers' education and training; and to consider reviewing and updating  the Checklist for considering human element issues by IMO bodies (MSC MEPC.7/Circ.1).

Implementation of the 1978 STCW Convention, as amended, is on the agenda, specifically with reference to the list of compliant   STCW Parties ("White List") and its review, based on the continuous compliance by Parties, as required by the Convention.

The Sub-Committee is expected to finalize draft amendments to table B-I/2 (List of certificates or documentary evidence required under the STCW Convention) of the STCW Code. The Sub-Committee will also consider developing a new joint ILO/IMO International Medical Guide for Ships (IMGS), as well as the establishment of a joint ILO/IMO Working Group for the development of guidelines on the medical examination of fishing vessels' personnel.

The HTW 6 meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Ms. Mayte Medina (United States). Click for photos.

 

Sharing information – vital for maritime development

26/04/2019 

Better and stronger infrastructure for sharing information is vital to support maritime sector development and a sustainable blue economy. That was one of the key conclusions from a high-level workshop in Saudi Arabia for signatory states to the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC), the IMO-led cooperation agreement that has been instrumental in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

Participants agreed that, as a basis for effective regional cooperation, it was important to establish national information sharing centres to coordinate activities of national maritime security and law-enforcement agencies.

The workshop considered ways to enhance the existing regional information-sharing network to meet the increased requirements of the 2017 Jeddah Amendment, which significantly broadened the DCoC's scope to cover other illicit maritime activities such as human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. It was agreed that the functions and capacities of the three information sharing centres established under the DCoC should be assessed to identify where capacity-building assistance might be needed.

Participants welcomed the capacity-building work of IMO and a host of other international organizations, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL, the European Union and several individual governments and NGOs, and invited other organizations to offer their assistance.

The workshop, at the Mohammed Bin Nayef Academy of Marine Science and Security Studies in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, brought together 69 senior officials from 18 DCoC States* and supporting countries and organizations under the theme "Addressing maritime security challenges through regional cooperation and goodwill".

Workshop Chair, Vice Admiral Awwad Eid Al-Aradi Al-Balawi, Head of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Border Guard, reminded participants of the need to address the root causes of piracy and other crimes. He highlighted the achievements made in the region since the DCoC and the Jeddah Amendment were signed, in 2009 and 2017 respectively.

*Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, France, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen

 

Protecting South-East Asian seas – website launch for ambitious IMO project

25/04/2019 

News and information about IMO's Marine Environment Protection of the South-East Asian Seas (MEPSEAS) project can be found on the newly-launched website: mepseas.imo.org.

The project, launched last year, is improving the environmental health of the seas in the region by supporting seven participating developing countries* to implement key IMO marine environment protection treaties. These treaties include the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); the Anti-Fouling Systems Convention; the London dumping of wastes at sea convention and protocol; and the Ballast Water Management Convention.

IMO is implementing the project, with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

*Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam

 

Inspiring maritime women

10/04/2019 

“Use your power to empower”. “Say what you’re thinking”. “Listen to the ‘yes’ voice in your head”. “Return every phone call every day”. “Believe in yourself”.

This was the advice given by a wide variety of inspiring maritime women sharing their experiences of entering, working and leading in the maritime world at a special event (photos) on "Women, ports and facilitation" at IMO Headquarters, London (10 April).

The speakers presented on, and answered questions about, their work and the future for women in the field – identifying a series of key issues and recommendations. These include the importance of promoting female role models; increased access to education; mentoring; and taking advantage of training – with the overriding point being that work promoting gender equality needed to be done by both men and women together.

In his introduction to the event, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim emphasized IMO’s commitment to empowering women in the maritime community – this year’s World Maritime Day theme – and the importance of getting “all hands on deck”, both male and female, for the maritime world to continue to carry the world’s goods in a clean safe and efficient manner.

The event, organized by IMO and WISTA*, took place in the margins of IMO’s Facilitation Committee, which, this week, has been addressing the efficiency of shipping by dealing with all matters related to the free flow of international maritime traffic.

* Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association

 

Protecting Algeria’s marine environment

10/04/2019 

IMO training on the international treaty covering waste dumping at sea, the London Protocol, is underway for Algerian government officials and participants* from shipping companies and port authorities.

The workshop, held in Alger (9-10 April), is enabling cooperation between different sectors – allowing effective implementation of measures aimed at protecting the marine environment from dumping of harmful wastes at sea**.

Participants examined ways of effectively assessing the environmental impact of dumping of certain substances, including dredged material and effluents from desalination plants at sea. They also discussed the advantages of being part of the global network of experts and scientists linked to the London Protocol and their ongoing research on innovative sustainable techniques preventing marine pollution caused by dumping.

The event was organized by IMO’s Office of the London Convention & Protocol and Ocean Affairs with the Directorate of Merchant Navy and Ports of the Algerian Ministry of Public Works and Transport, with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

* 35 participants from ministries and administrations responsible for transport, environment, fisheries, tourism and foreign Affairs, as well as shipping companies and port authorities

** as set out in the London Protocol and the Dumping Protocol of the Barcelona Convention – the regional convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea established under UN Environment’s Regional Seas Programme

 

Malaysia ratifies treaty for enhancing free flow of maritime trade

10/04/2019 

The IMO treaty enhancing communication between ships and ports to help shipments move more quickly, more easily and more efficiently has been ratified by Malaysia. This brings the number of contracting States to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) to 123.

Captain Haji Samad, Alternate Permanent Representative of Malaysia to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (10 April) to deposit the instrument of accession.

IMO’s Facilitation Committee is meeting for its 43rd session (8-12 April) this week, coinciding with the entry into effect of new requires for all public authorities to introduce electronic exchange of information between ships and ports (see details here).

Find out more about the FAL Convention, including why it is needed, advice for governments, here.

 

Improving the efficiency of shipping

08/04/2019 

IMO’s Facilitation Committee addresses the efficiency of shipping by dealing with all matters related to the facilitation of international maritime traffic, including the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo from ports. The Committee is meeting for its 43rd session (8-12 April), coinciding with the entry into effect of new requires for all public authorities to introduce electronic exchange of information between ships and ports (see details here).

Alongside other agenda items, the Committee is expected to continue its ongoing work on harmonization and standardization of electronic messages and develop Guidelines for setting up a single window system in maritime transport. The Committee will also receive an update on a successful IMO maritime single window project, which has been implemented in Antigua and Barbuda by Norway. The source code developed for the system established in Antigua and Barbuda will be made available to other interested Member States.

The Facilitation Committee was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mrs. Marina Angsell (Sweden). Click for photos.

The Facilitation Committee session sees two side events focusing on trade by ship. A special event on "Women, ports and facilitation", co-sponsored by IMO and WISTA, will reflect on the 2019 World Maritime Day theme, "Empowering women in the maritime community" (10 April). A seminar on making cross border trade simpler (11 April) is co-sponsored by IMO and the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) and covers “Values and benefits of a Port Community System, links to Single Window and WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement”. Read more here

 

Protecting Ukraine’s marine environment

08/04/2019 

Two important IMO treaties helping to protect the marine environment have been under the spotlight training workshops for Ukrainian officials in Kiev (1-5 April).

Participants took part in training on implementing and enforcing both the i) Ballast Water Management Convention (BWM), which aims to counter the threat to marine ecosystems by potentially invasive species transported in ships' ballast water, and ii) the Anti-Fouling Systems Convention (AFS), which prohibits the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints and establishes a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems. Participants were also introduced to ways in which to implement IMO’s Biofouling Guidelines.

The BWM workshop focused on compliance monitoring and enforcement, and provided training on how to plan and conduct port biological baseline surveys as well as risk assessments, including ship targeting for port State control and exemptions. The AFS-Biofouling workshop contributes to developing a national biofouling management strategy and action plan for Ukraine.

 

Global gathering of regional Women in Maritime Associations

07/04/2019 

“Education is the greatest engine of personal development”, said Ms. Lorraine Masiza (from Namibia), Chair of the Association for Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa region (WOMESA), speaking at the first ever meeting of all seven IMO regional Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAS).

This historic meeting took place on the sidelines of the third World Maritime University (WMU) International Women’s Conference, Empowering Women in the Maritime Community, Malmö, Sweden (4-5 April). 

WIMAFRICA and WMUWA also joined the gathering to share experiences and generate ideas for the future.

On the subject of education, Ms. Masiza also said that mentoring programmes were crucial in order to advance women and girls in the maritime sector. The key themes of training, visibility and recognition were echoed by representatives from the other WIMAS, who also highlighted the need for research and data, to help inform strategies to mainstream gender issues throughout the maritime sector.

Ms. Carol Schroeder of the WMU Women's Association (WMUWA) spoke about the network of past, current and prospective female students of the University. Recognizing the need to involve everyone in gender issues, the WMUMA currently has 11 male associate members.

The seven regional networks promote and improve gender balance in the shipping industry have been established, with support from IMO’s Women in Maritime programme.

IMO’s Women in Maritime Programme funded two representatives from each WIMA to attend the Malmö conference on Empowering Women in the Maritime Community. IMO's Women in Maritime Programme forms part of the Organization's strong commitment towards helping its Member States achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls".


 

Be bold for change – how to empower women in the maritime community

04/04/2019 

Remove structural barriers, build good networks and support quality education to ensure no woman, no girl is left behind in the maritime sector where women remain significantly under-represented. These were some of the themes reiterated by maritime leaders speaking on the first day of the third World Maritime University (WMU) International Women’s Conference, Empowering Women in the Maritime Community, Malmö, Sweden (4-5 April), reflecting this year’s World Maritime Day theme.

Opening the conference, WMU President Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry called on the whole maritime sector to “be bold for change” in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 5 on gender equality. “We need to ensure a quality education is made available to everyone, including and empowering women and girls. No one should be left behind,” she said.

“To make progress we need bold and innovative initiatives to ensure we progress gender diversity,” said Helen Buni, focal point for IMO’s Women in Maritime Programme, which supports women to access maritime training and other opportunities, including through gender-specific fellowships for high-level technical training. Through this programme, IMO has facilitated the establishment of seven women in maritime associations across the globe to provide networking, mentorship and other opportunities.

Heike Deggim, Director of IMO’s Maritime Safety Division said while there had been some progress in female representation at IMO meetings amongst national delegations, the maritime industry needed more women, particularly in leadership roles. “There are infinite possibilities for a more fair and equitable workplace that takes advantage of the strengths that both genders bring to management and leadership,” Ms Deggim said. ”IMO recognizes that the shipping industry must reach out to every sector of the community if it is to attract the very best people to pursue a maritime career. Employing and empowering more women will go a long way to solving the challenges faced by the maritime industry, especially the predicted shortage of skilled seafarers, in particular officers.”

In a video message to the conference, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, “The maritime world needs all hands on deck, both male and female, to continue to carry the world’s goods in a clean safe and efficient manner.”

Follow the conference via #maritimewomen2019

 

GPS rollover - 6 April 2019: are you ready?

02/04/2019 

Maritime users of the Global Positioning System Standard Positioning Service (GPS-SPS) are urged to check their systems ahead of the week counter roll over on 6 April 2019. Some outdated GPS receiver systems may cease to function properly - with potentially serious impacts on navigation.

The roll over occurs because the GPS system transmits time to GPS receivers using a format of time and weeks as a 10-bit value, which started from 6 January 1980, and can only count 1023 weeks. The previous roll over was on 21 August 1999, when systems reset and began counting towards week 1023 again. When the GPS system reaches week 1024, the system will revert back to week zero.

Some GPS receivers are known to be unable to make the transition from week 1023 to 1024. If the GPS receiver is outdated or has not been properly updated, the receiver will revert on 6 April 2019 to reading the week zero as August 1999. The internal clocks of these GPS receivers will experience a lack of absolute reference and may give the wrong time and position or may lock up permanently. Some of these GPS receivers are repairable with upgrades and others will become unusable.

Maritime users are advised to check the status of their receiver with their GPS manufacturer. IMO has issued a safety of navigation circular SN.1/Circ.182/Add.1 warning maritime users to take action for the roll over.

The GPS-SPS has been recognized by IMO as a component of the world-wide radionavigation system since 1996.

 

Georgia accedes to load lines convention

28/03/2019 

​Georgia is the 112th State to accede to the International Convention on Load Lines (1988 Protocol). Limitations on the draught to which a ship may be loaded are included in the treaty, making a significant contribution to the ship's safety. These limits are given in the form of freeboards. The treaty takes into account the potential hazards present in different ocean zones and different seasons.

The 1988 Protocol updates and revises the earlier treaty. The technical annex contains several additional safety measures concerning doors, freeing ports, hatchways and other items. These measures help to ensure the watertight and weathertight integrity of ships' hulls below the freeboard deck. All assigned load lines must be marked amidships on each side of the ship, together with the deck line.

H.E. Tamar Beruchashvili, Ambassador of Georgia and Permanent Representative of Georgia to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London (28 March) to deposit the instrument of accession.


 

Japan accedes to ship recycling convention

27/03/2019 

IMO's treaty for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling has received another boost. Japan has become the 10th country to become a Party to the Hong Kong Convention.The Convention covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.

Under the treaty, ships are required to carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", specific to each individual ship to be recycled, specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.

H.E. Mr. Koji Tsuruoka, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom and Permanent Representative of Japan to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (27 March) to deposit the instrument of accession.

To help increase international awareness of the importance of the early entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan in cooperation with the IMO Secretariat is hosting an international seminar on “Ship Recycling - Towards the Early Entry into Force of the Hong Kong Convention”. The seminar will be held on 10 May 2019 at IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom. The seminar will discuss how to promote sustainable ship recycling and how to move forward for the early entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention.

The Contracting States to the Hong Kong Convention are: Belgium, Denmark, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, the Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Serbia and Turkey. They represent approximately 23.16% of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping. The combined annual ship recycling volume of the Contracting States during the preceding 10 years is 1,709,955 GT, i.e. 0.57% of the merchant shipping tonnage of the same States. The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force 24 months after the following conditions are met: 1. not less than 15 States have concluded this Convention,  2.  the combined merchant fleets of the States Parties constitute not less than 40 percent of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping, and 3.  the combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of the States Parties during the preceding 10 years constitutes not less than 3% of the gross tonnage of the combined merchant shipping of the States Parties.

 

Addressing fraudulent registration

27/03/2019 

​IMO’s Legal committee will discuss a number of proposed measures to prevent fraudulent registration of ships and other deceptive shipping practices, during its 106th session (27-29 March). This follows reports of fraudulent use of their flag by a number of IMO Member States.

Amongst other agenda items, the Committee will consider the growing number of cases of seafarer abandonment and the orchestrated action needed to address this issue. The Committee will be updated on the latest cases and review cases which have been successfully resolved, following intervention by the IMO Secretariat, the International Labour Organization (ILO), relevant flag States, port States, seafarers' States and other organizations.

The Committee will also begin its work on the regulatory scoping exercise of conventions emanating from the Legal Committee for the use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). Another important agenda item is on encouraging ratification and implementation the 2010 HNS Convention, which covers liability and compensation in the event of an incident involving hazardous goods. The number of ships carrying HNS cargoes is growing steadily with more than 200 million tonnes of chemicals traded annually.
 
The Legal committee was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr. Volker Schöfish (Germany).

 

Expanding collaborative efforts to promote maritime security

21/03/2019 

Members of three key regional maritime security agreements*, which IMO has helped to establish, are undergoing training on tackling maritime crime in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (10-28 March 2019).

Thirty participants from 24 countries** are learning theoretical and practical skills to deal with piracy/robbery against ships, drug trafficking, marine terrorism, weapons smuggling, human trafficking and more.

The course is organized by IMO and Saudi Arabia under the auspices of the Jeddah Amendment to Djibouti Code of Conduct and conducted by experts from the Saudi Arabia Border Guard, UNODC, INTERPOL and IMO.

The training is taking place at the Mohammed Bin Naif Academy for Maritime Science and Security Studies and is the first of three training workshops to be organized by IMO and the Saudi Border Guard in Jeddah during 2019 – with financial assistance from Saudi Arabia.

The series of workshops will enable participants from different regions  to share ideas and best practices in order to promote maritime security.

* The Djibouti Code of Conduct; the West and Central Africa Code of conduct; and the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP)

** Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, the Sudan, Cabo Verde, Sri Lanka, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen

 

Progress in Guyana’s oil spill preparedness

21/03/2019 

​Guyana is the latest country to benefit from IMO’s continuing work to strengthen oil spill response capacity in the Wider Caribbean Region.

Guyanese officials from 28 different government agencies, environmental stakeholders, and local industry representatives took part in the REMPEITC-Caribe* training workshop (18-20 March) funded by IMO. Participants assessed Guyana’s oil spill readiness programme and further developed the National Contingency Plan for the country.

The workshop supports continued efforts by the Government of Guyana to ratify international conventions, develop contingency plans, and enact domestic oil spill legislation.

The event followed a sub-regional training which took place in St Kitts and Nevis last week and further workshops to support the Wider Caribbean Region on oil spill preparedness will be taking place throughout the year.

* The Regional Marine Pollution Emergency, Information and Training Centre for the Caribbean

 

Promoting good practice in spill preparedness and response

21/03/2019 

Increased maritime traffic as well as offshore oil and gas industries in west and central Africa means more risks of oil spill in the region. To strengthen the capability for preparedness and response of a potential oil spill, a workshop is underway in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (18-21 March). The event aims to help participants with to ratify and effectively implement IMO conventions relating to oil pollution and liability and compensation.

Participants will be trained on how to best transpose IMO treaties into domestic laws. The workshop will also look at the technical context by which these conventions operate and the challenges they aim to address. The workshop will improve the capacity of these countries to protect their marine and coastal resources at risk from an oil pollution incident. The workshop is organized by the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF).


 

Global alliance for low carbon shipping expands

18/03/2019 

A.P. Moller - Maersk A/S and the Panama Canal Authority are the latest entities to join the IMO-supported Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA). The GIA now has 18 members, including leading shipowners and operators, classification societies, engine and technology builders and suppliers, big data providers, oil companies and ports.

The new members signed up to the GIA during the fifth meeting of the GIA Taskforce at IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom (15 March).

The GIA Taskforce meeting (photos) progressed work on several on-going projects, including on the validation of performance of Energy Efficiency Technologies, the assessment of barriers to the uptake of Just-in-Time Operation of ships and resulting emission saving opportunities from its effective implementation, as well as work on the current status and application of alternative fuels in the maritime sector and barriers to their uptake. The Taskforce was also shown a preview of an open access E-Learning course on the Energy Efficient Operation of Ships, which is expected to be completed and launched later this year.

The Taskforce also formalized the extension of the GIA until 31 December 2019 and agreed to develop a White Paper outlining a vision and potential priority areas for the GIA.

The GIA is an innovative public-private partnership initiative of the IMO, under the framework of the GEF-UNDP-IMO Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project that aims to bring together maritime industry leaders to support an energy efficient and low carbon maritime transport system. 

 

Getting to grips with national maritime transport policy

15/03/2019 

​The latest in a series of workshops on developing a national maritime transport policy has been held in Accra, Ghana (13-15 March). IMO is promoting the development of national maritime transport policy as a means to bring all relevant stakeholders together, and create a policy to achieve the maritime vision of a country and ensure that the sector is governed in an efficient, sustainable, safe and environmentally sound manner. This can help ensure a coordinated approach to a sustainable maritime transport sector  - which in turn can contribute to the country’s sustainable socio-economic development and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. (Watch the NMTP video here.)

The Accra workshop involved participants from nearly 20 institutions, including ministries, state agencies and stakeholder agencies. Ghana has recently revised its National Transport Policy, which itself includes policy goals and objectives relating to the maritime transport sector. The workshop participants adopted a set of conclusions, among which they urge the relevant national authorities to initiate and lead the process for the development and adoption of a national maritime transport policy and related strategy.

The workshop was organized by IMO, in close cooperation with the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Ministry of Transport, with the active involvement of the World Maritime University (WMU). IMO and WMU officials facilitated the workshop. 

 

Keeping abreast of maritime security measures in Asia

15/03/2019 

Emerging maritime challenges were at the forefront of discussions at the 11th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-Sessional Meeting (ISM) on Maritime Security in Da Nang, Viet Nam, (14-15 March).

Participants had the opportunity to exchange views on regional maritime issues, review progress of their maritime security work plan, and discuss proposed activities over the coming year. 

IMO took the opportunity to update ARF members on IMO's work in Asia and told senior maritime officials of potential future technical cooperation projects in the region. IMO also talked about improving the implementation, among ASEAN members, of maritime security measures, including the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS).

The forum also discussed three priority areas, namely maritime security and cooperation; safety of navigation; and marine environment and sustainable development.  More specifically they looked at patrols in the Sulu Sea, the importance of international cooperation and capacity building, as well as managing cyber risks in the shipping industry. 

The meeting was chaired by Australia, Viet Nam and the EU.


 

Strengthening oil spill response in the Wider Caribbean Region

13/03/2019 

Training is underway for oil spill response managers in the wider Caribbean region at a course* in St Kitts and Nevis (11-14 March).

Participants from 15 countries** are attending the IMO-funded event, which is focused on tactical aspects of spill preparedness and response, and applying incident management systems to assist effective coordination of spill response. The event is showcasing success stories of several countries in ratifying relevant international preparedness and response conventions, adopting national oil spill legislation and developing oil spill response capacity.

This training course supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 14 – Life Below Water, by developing capacity to protect marine and coastal ecosystems.

The course is taking place under the auspices of REMPEITC-Caribe, the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency, Information and Training Centre for the Caribbean, which was set up under the UN Environment’s Regional Seas Programme for the Caribbean.

* IMO-OPRC (Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation) Level 2 Training Course

**Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela

 

How to monitor plastics in the oceans

13/03/2019 

​A new set of publicly-available guidelines for monitoring plastics and microplastics in the oceans will help harmonize how scientists and others assess the scale of the marine plastic litter problem. 

The Guidelines for the monitoring and assessment of plastic litter and microplastics in the ocean have been published by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), a body that advises the United Nations system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection. The guidelines cover what to sample, how to sample it and how to record and assess plastics in the oceans and on the shoreline, including establishing baseline surveys. They include recommendations, advice and practical guidance, for establishing programmes to monitor and assess the distribution and abundance of plastic litter, also referred to as plastic debris, in the ocean.

The guidelines include common definitions for categories of marine litter and plastics, examples of size and shape, how to design monitoring and assessment programmes, sampling and surveys. Sections cover citizen science programmes - which involve members of the public in marine litter surveying and research. There are detailed chapters on monitoring sea surface floating plastic and plastic on the seafloor.

The full set of guidelines is available to download free-of-charge from the GESAMP website here.

The guidelines can be used by national, inter-governmental and international organisations with responsibilities for managing the social, economic and ecological consequences of land- and sea-based human-activities on the marine environment.

The guidelines are a response to the hitherto lack of an internationally agreed methodology to report on the distribution and abundance of marine plastic litter and microplastics and directly contribute to the UN SDG Goal 14 on the oceans. Specifically, the guidelines are a response to target 14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including plastic debris and nutrient pollution. 

 

Sea-based sources of marine litter

11/03/2019 

Understanding the impact of plastic litter found at sea and how to get rid of it was at the heart of discussions in Nairobi Kenya, (11-15 March) at a side-event called Sea-Based Sources of Marine Litter, in the margin of the UN Environment Assembly.

Sea-based sources of marine litter, in particular from the fishing and shipping industries are a significant component of marine litter with severe impacts on the marine environment, food security, animal welfare and human health, safety and livelihoods.

IMO addressed the audience, showing how it plans to further tackle the issue through its action plan, adopted in 2018, which aims to enhance existing regulations and introduce new supporting measures to reduce marine plastic litter from ships.

Even though IMO pioneered the prohibition of plastics' disposal from ships anywhere at sea almost 30 years ago, it is constantly reviewing practices in order to improve them.  More details about its action plan was shared at the event, such as the use of adequate reception facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of garbage and its recommending that "all shipowners and operators should minimize taking on board material that could become garbage".

A minute of silence was observed, in honour of fellow UN colleague Joanna Toole, who had planned to be in attendace at this event, but was sadly involved in the tragic Ethiopian airline crash.

The event was co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UN Environment, the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) the Ocean Conservancy and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative.


 

Addressing invasive aquatic species

11/03/2019 

​IMO contributes to the protection of biodiversity through its Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, which requires ships to manage their ballast water to limit the spread of potentially invasive aquatic organisms. Work on the experience-building phase of the BWM Convention (EBP) was highlighted at the annual meeting (6-8 March) of the joint International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) and IMO (ICES/IOC/IMO) Working Group on Ballast and Other Ship Vectors, which was held in Weymouth, United Kingdom. The group provides scientific support to the development of international measures aimed at reducing the risk of transporting non-native species via shipping activities.

The experience-building phase involves data gathering and analysis and the group discussed sampling and analysis work conducted by its members that could be submitted to the EBP. The group also discussed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for collection of treated ballast water samples, which were developed by the group and agreed by IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) to be included in the data gathering and analysis plan for the EBP. Moreover, the group highlighted progress in the development of a standard for ballast water monitoring equipment, which is expected to be further discussed by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). 

IMO’s Biofouling Guidelines also address bioinvasions via ships’ hulls and contribute to protecting the ocean environment. The group discussed the review of the Biofouling Guidelines, which is to be undertaken by the PPR Sub-Committee. The group will input its views into this work. The review of the guidelines comes as IMO begins to implement a global project to build capacity in developing countries for improved implementation of biofouling management. The GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project was launched in 2018. 

 

Think equal: empowering women in the maritime community

08/03/2019 

​On International Women’s day 2019 (8 March), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is putting the spotlight on women in the maritime sector. This year, IMO’s World Maritime Day theme is "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community", giving particular resonance to this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations.

The global 2019 theme for International Women’s Day - Think equal, build smart, innovate for change - focuses on innovative ways in which gender equality and the empowerment of women can be advanced, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.

IMO is committed to gender equality and advancing women in the maritime sector. IMO’s Women in Maritime programme has, over the past three decades, helped women reach leadership positions in the maritime sector and bring a much-needed gender balance to the industry by giving them access to high-level technical training.

Today, IMO launches a video trailer for a forthcoming film which will showcase success stories of how IMO’s Women in Maritime programme has benefitted women in ports, on the shoreside and on ships. A series of profiles of individual women also launches today, helping to inspire the next generation.

The trailer and profiles were unveiled to delegates to the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment meeting and IMO staff, who gathered to celebrate International Women’s Day. 

 

IMO training for Central America maritime administrations

08/03/2019 

A regional workshop has provided senior maritime administration officials in Central America with the latest information on current and future developments at IMO. The training was organized by IMO and the Central American Commission on Maritime Transport (COCATRAM) in Medellin, Colombia (4-6 March).

The 24 participants* received detailed information about the activities within the IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) aimed at building capacity in the region to comply with international rules and standards related to maritime safety and the prevention of maritime pollution. The workshop also provided a platform for information exchange between Central America maritime administrations and facilitated the identification of technical assistance priorities for the region for the 2020-2021 biennium.

In the region, technical assistance and capacity building led by IMO will focus in the next two years on IMO’s search and rescue, pollution prevention (MARPOL) and Facilitation Conventions as well as on the development of national maritime transport policies (NMTP).

The Regional Workshop for Senior Maritime Administrators of the Operative Network of Regional Cooperation of Maritime Administrations in Central America (ROCRAM-CA) was hosted by the Maritime Authority of Colombia (DIMAR). Following the training, the V Extraordinary meeting of ROCRAM-CA also took place in Medellin (7-8 March).

* From Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. IMO, through COCATRAM, sponsored the participation of 11 participants through the Technical Cooperation Fund.

 

Sharing information to enhance maritime security

07/03/2019 

Sharing information among the various different agencies involved is vital for maintaining maritime security, especially where there is a strong multi-national element. That’s why IMO is running a workshop in Djibouti on maritime security in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean area.

The participants* are developing best practices to help develop common templates and standard operating procedures for sharing security-related information including on maritime crimes, legal frameworks, training programmes and national initiatives. These templates will form part of a toolkit to support collaboration between the existing reporting framework under the Djibouti Code of Conduct DCoC (a regional agreement against maritime crime in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean area which IMO helped to establish) and newly established centres in Madagascar, Seychelles and Saudi Arabia.

The activity supports the commitment by Member States in the region to build response capabilities at both a national and regional level, a vital step towards achieving a more safe and secure maritime environment.

The workshop is taking place at the Djibouti Regional Training Centre in Doraleh (3-7 March) and run with important partner agencies UNODC, MSCHOA/UKMTO, EU CRIMARIO and United States Naval Forces Africa. It brings together personnel from national maritime information sharing centres, joint maritime operation centres, maritime rescue coordination centres and other key international partners.

Find out more about the DCoC and Jeddah Amendment, here.

* From Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, United Arab Emirates and Yemen

 

Spotlight on IMO's gender programme

05/03/2019 

IMO's Women in Maritime programme and this year's World Maritime Day theme were given increased visibility at the Houses of Parliament, London, UK (4 March 2019), during a session on Women, Peace and Conflict Resolution. Information was provided on the strategic approach IMO has taken towards enhancing the contribution of women as key stakeholders over the last 31 years. IMO is strongly committed to helping its Member States achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 5 "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls". Some 2% of the world's 1.2 million seafarers are women.

There is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Gender diversity in a team often makes for a more effective team i.e. some women are better piracy negotiators as those softer skills are more developed. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all. 

The event was organized by Rotary International. 


 

Making lifting and winching operations safer

05/03/2019 

​Draft mandatory regulations to make lifting appliances such as onboard cargo cranes safer are being developed by the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE), which meets this week (4-8 March). The Sub-Committee aims to finalise the draft SOLAS regulations and related guidelines covering design, construction, installation and maintenance of onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches. The rules are intended to help to prevent accidents and harm to operators and damage to ships, cargo, shore-based structures and subsea structures, as well as the marine environment.

On fire safety matters, the Sub-Committee is working to minimize the incidence and consequences of fires on ro-ro spaces and special category spaces of new and existing ro-ro passenger ships. Current SOLAS regulations and associated codes are being reviewed. The meeting is expected to further develop draft interim guidelines and draft amendments to the SOLAS Convention and associated Codes. The Sub-Committee will also develop amendments to relevant guidelines for the approval of fixed dry powder systems used on ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk. 

Agenda items related to life-saving appliances and arrangements include the work to develop the goal-based standards safety-level approach for the approval of alternative designs and arrangements for regulations on life-saving appliances. The Sub-Committee is also expected to finalize draft amendments to the Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code on ventilation requirements for survival craft and related draft amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances, to ensure a habitable environment is maintained in such survival craft. Another item on the agenda is the finalization of draft Interim guidelines on life-saving appliances and arrangements for ships operating in polar waters, to support the implementation of the mandatory Polar Code.

On-shore power supply is another item on the agenda. A correspondence group will report on its work to develop draft guidelines on safe operation of on-shore power supply to ships, also known as “cold ironing”, “alternative maritime power” and “shore-side electricity”. The Sub-Committee is expected to consider whether there is a need for relevant amendments to SOLAS. 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.

The SSE 6 meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Dr. Susumu Ota (Japan). See photos.

 

Promoting port security in Mexico

04/03/2019 

The second in a planned series of interactive workshops to prepare countries for a wide range of potential threats and security situations has been held, in Veracruz, Mexico (26-27 February). The interactive Port Facility Security/Port Security Officer Tabletop Exercise was run by IMO in collaboration with the Organization of American States Inter American Committee Against Terrorism (OAS-CICTE), following a successful pilot in Panama 2018. 

Participants in Mexico took part in a simulation exercise, designed to allow port facility security officers to develop their decision making skills in different situations, ranging from the simple to more complex challenges that require intervention and coordination with other departments or management of their respective international port or ports with the respective authorities.

The aim is to roll out this workshop in other Member States of the OAS in the future, through a collaboration between CICTE and Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP) of the OAS, and IMO.

Ahead of the workshop, high level representatives of the relevant agencies with key roles in maritime and port security in Mexico met in Mexico City, Mexico (21 February) to discuss the need for better coordination and communication and to ensure the implementation of maritime and port security measures.  Representatives of a number of different government agencies - including Customs, Environment, Navy, Ministry of Justice, Defence, Police, Transport -  explained their role on maritime security and how capabilities could be strengthened by working together. During the meeting, OAS-CICTE briefed the authorities on their visits to the Mexican ports of Ensenada, Mazatlan and Progreso.   

 

Caribbean commitment to IMO standards to support the blue economy

01/03/2019 

​Caribbean States and Territories have re-affirmed their commitment to implementing IMO standards for safe, secure and sustainable shipping. This is part of wider efforts to intensify investments and harness the full potential of the oceans, rivers and lakes to accelerate economic growth, create jobs and fight poverty. Ministers responsible for maritime transport and other participants representing the Governments in the region* met at a High Level Symposium (27 February) in Montego Bay, Jamaica, under the theme, “Maritime Transportation: Harnessing the Blue Economy for the Sustainable Development of the Caribbean”. More than 90% of trade in the Caribbean is carried by ship.

Addressing the meeting, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim highlighted the importance of collaboration and cooperation in the region to implement IMO measures and support the achievement of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, to which the IMO is fully committed.

“The achievement of these goals requires strong collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders. Our understanding of sustainable development today embraces a concern both for the capacity of the earth’s natural systems and for the social and, not least, economic challenges faced by us all. A prosperous, smart and green shipping industry can contribute to a blue economy from which we will all benefit,” Mr. Lim said.

The High Level Minister Symposium adopted a resolution, which highlights the need for commitment at the highest policy making level in order to harness the potential of the blue economy. The resolution supports IMO’s initiative for Member States to develop national maritime transport policies, recognising the vital role that a structured maritime transport policy contributes towards sustainable growth and employment in the maritime sector.

During his visit to Jamaica, Secretary-General Lim visited the Caribbean Maritime University in Kingston, Jamaica, where he toured the facilities and met cadets.

Mr. Lim also met the Hon Robert Montague, Minister of Transport and Mining, Jamaica, and host of the High Level Minister Symposium and Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Jamaica.

Following the symposium (27 February), senior maritime administrators in the region met for a Regional Workshop, in Montego Bay Jamaica, from 28 February to 1 March, facilitated by IMO and chaired by Jamaica. The workshop covered the latest regulatory and other developments in the international maritime sector in the Caribbean Region. The workshop was designed to provide Caribbean maritime administrators with the latest information on current and future developments at IMO and to facilitate the exchange of information between Caribbean administrations. The workshop also identified the development of a list of technical assistance priorities for the region for the 2020-2021 biennium.

*Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Curacao, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

 

Uptake of alternative fuels in the spotlight

01/03/2019 

The barriers and incentives relating to the uptake of alternative fuels in the shipping industry were in the spotlight at a roundtable meeting of IMO’s Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) at IMO Headquarters, London (28 February).

Experts from across the maritime industry were brought together to discuss successful incentives in other transport sectors and how they might be applied to shipping and ports.
 
The group discussed economic, technological and institutional barriers that are hindering greater market penetration of cleaner fuels. These include capital and operating costs, uncertainty over life-cycle emissions, lack of operational experience in the use of new fuels, onboard fuel storage, availability of fueling infrastructure as well as legal or regulatory barriers.
 
Possible incentive schemes for the maritime sector, as well as potential challenges in their application, were considered at the roundtable. Examples of such schemes were given, including an incentivization scheme in the United Kingdom to promote the uptake of renewables as well as lessons learned from the Norwegian NOx Fund.
 
Participants deliberated how ship owners could be incentivized to use alternative fuels, as well as incentives for alternative fuel supply and infrastructure development. The group collated lessons learned and key principles that could be considered for any future incentive schemes for the maritime sector.
 
The work undertaken at the roundtable specifically contributes to one of the short-term measures defined in IMO’s Initial GHG Strategy, on “incentives for first movers to develop and take up new technologies”. The Strategy recognizes that technological innovation and the global introduction of alternative fuels and/or energy sources for international shipping will be integral to achieving zero-carbon shipping.

 

Green technology for reducing GHG emissions from ships

27/02/2019 

How can green technology and innovation help deliver IMO’s initial strategy on reducing GHG emissions from ships? This was one of the questions being addressed this week at the Greentech in Shipping Global Forum in Hamburg, Germany (26-27 February).

Speaking at the conference, IMO’s Camille Bourgeon addressed maritime sector experts in green technology and innovation, saying that their work will be important in delivering IMO’s Initial GHG Strategy and achieving the goal to make shipping carbon free.
The Strategy, adopted by IMO Member States last year, makes a firm commitment to a complete phase out of GHG emissions from ships, a specific linkage to the Paris Agreement and a series of clear levels of ambition, including at least a 50% cut in emissions from the sector by 2050.

Mr. Bourgeon said that “these are ambitious targets, and technology will play a key role towards low- and zero-carbon shipping in the future, including in technological innovation in alternative fuels and energy sources”.

He said that it is encouraging to see so many people working in companies, classification societies and research groups exploring new solutions, and that the forum gives opportunity for industry stakeholders to further discuss such solutions – from alternative fuels, to engine technology, post-combustion devices, energy-saving technologies and more.

Find out more about IMO’s work on low carbon shipping and air pollution control, here.

 

United Arab Emirates accedes to air pollution and energy efficiency rules

20/02/2019 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the latest State 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 93, representing 96.6% 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.

Ms. Rawdha Al Otaiba, Deputy Head of Mission of the UAE to the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (20 February) to deposit instrument of accession.

 

The Netherlands ratifies ship recycling convention

20/02/2019 

IMO's treaty for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling has received another boost. The Netherlands has become the eighth country to become a Party to the Hong Kong Convention.

The Convention covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.

Under the treaty, ships to be sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.

Mr. Dick Brus, Directorate for Maritime Affairs of the Netherlands, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (20 February) to deposit the instrument of acceptance.

 

IMO treaties ratified by Guyana

20/02/2019 

Guyana has signed up to a host of IMO treaties supporting safe, secure and clean international shipping. The treaties cover a wide variety of topics including marine pollution, dumping waste at sea and responding to pollution incidents involving hazardous and noxious substances. Guyana ratified two key IMO measures designed to preserve bio-diversity – the Ballast Water Management Convention and another on use of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships hulls – as well as others covering unlawful acts against the safety of navigation and removing wrecks from the seabed. It also signed four instruments covering liability and compensation.

In all, Guyana ratified eleven IMO instruments. H.E. Mr. Frederick Hamley Case, High Commissioner of Guyana, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (20 February) to deposit the instruments of accession.

 

​IMO Secretary-General urges all aboard for GHG reduction

19/02/2019 

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has called for Member States and the entire maritime sector including shipping and ports, to come on board to achieve the ambitions set out in the historic IMO initial strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, adopted last year. The strategy makes a firm commitment to a complete phase out of GHG emissions from ships, a specific linkage to the Paris Agreement and a series of clear levels of ambition, including at least a 50 per cent cut in emissions from the sector by 2050.

“We need to focus on technology transfer and research and development; we need expertise; we need IMO’s Member States to come together as one; we need the Member States to bring forward concrete proposals to IMO. We need to involve all maritime sectors – not just shipping. Investment in port infrastructure is just as important,” Secretary-General Lim said. He was speaking at the High Level Conference on Climate Change and Oceans Preservation, in Brussels, Belgium (19 February). The strategy includes a series of candidate measures that might be applied to achieve these targets in the short, medium and long terms. The detailed work of agreeing which of these will actually be adopted to enable these ambitions to be achieved is now under way. 

Mr. Lim said that the initial steps - the candidate short-term measures - are likely to include strengthening the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Shipboard Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMP) for ships, as well as gathering information under the fuel-oil data collection scheme. 

In the mid-term (before 2030), he highlighted the need to make zero-carbon ships more attractive and to direct investments towards innovative sustainable technologies and alternative fuels. In this context, the reduced sulphur limit for ships’ fuel oil, which enters into force on 1 January 2020, “should be seen as not only a landmark development for the environment and human health but also as a proxy "carbon price" – increasing the attractiveness of lower-carbon fuels or other means of propulsion for ships”. 

The Conference was opened by Mr. Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Belgium, and H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.

On the sidelines of the Conference, Secretary-General Lim met H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. Monaco hosts the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). IMO and IHO collaborate on a number of areas, particularly when it comes to the provision of hydrographic charts for ships. 

Mr. Lim also met, separately, Mrs. Emma Navarro, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, and Mrs. Magda Kopczynska, Director for Innovative and Sustainable Mobility in the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport within the European Commission.

 

Preparing for the sulphur 2020 limit

18/02/2019 

IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) meets this week (18-22 February) at IMO headquarters. The meeting will focus on finalizing draft Guidelines on consistent implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit under MARPOL Annex VI. The aim of the Guidelines is to assist in the preparations for and uniform implementation of the lower limit for sulphur content in ships’ fuel oil, which will take effect on 1 January 2020 and will have a significant beneficial impact on human health and the environment. The meeting will also consider draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI (related to fuel oil samples and testing and verification of fuel oil sulphur content) and draft amendments to associated port State control and onboard sampling guidelines. IMO has already issued ship implementation planning guidance, to help shipowners prepare for the new limit.
 
Among other agenda items, the Sub-Committee will begin its work to develop measures to reduce the risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters. In addition, work on identifying appropriate control measures to reduce the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping will also continue. 
 
The Sub-Committee will address the IMO Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention), which prohibits the use of biocides using organotin compounds. A comprehensive proposal to amend annex 1 to the AFS Convention to include controls on the biocide cybutryne will be considered. 
 
The meeting will also consider revisions to guidelines for the provisional assessment of liquid substances transported in bulk; and is expected to finalize the draft guide on practical implementation of the pollution prevention and response treaties (OPRC Convention and the OPRC-HNS Protocol).
 
The Sub-Committee will also continue its review of the 2015 Guidelines on Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems.
 
The meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr Sveinung Oftedal (Norway). Click for photos.

 

Experience-building for ballast water management

15/02/2019 

Experience with implementing the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention, which aims to prevent the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species, is now underway. IMO’s participation at the Global TestNet 10th annual meeting (14-15 February) provided an opportunity to highlight a new module on IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS), which allows port States, flag States and other stakeholders to gather, prepare and submit data on ballast water sampling and chemical and biological analysis. Analysis of such data will allow a systematic and evidence-based review of the requirements of the BWM Convention and potentially the development of a package of amendments to the Convention.  Ballast Water Management Convention requires ships to manage their ballast water and sediments to a defined standard.

IMO participation at the meeting covered all the latest regulatory developments related to anti-fouling systems and biofouling. IMO is considering a proposal to amend the IMO Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention) to include new controls on the biocide cybutryne. Currently, the AFS Convention prohibits the use of biocides using organotin compounds.

IMO is also reviewing IMO biofouling Guidelines, which provide a globally-consistent approach on how biofouling should be controlled and managed to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species through ships’ hulls. A new global GloFouling project has been launched, to drive actions to implement the guidelines. The project will also spur the development of best practices and standards for improved biofouling management in other ocean industries.

The Global TestNet is 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

 

Ports for greener shipping

15/02/2019 

Ports are key players in the maritime transport system when it comes to achieving ambitious emissions reduction. IMO’s initial greenhouse gas strategy recognizes that shipping and ports are intrinsically linked. The role of ports in achieving emissions reductions was highlighted at the Future Port congress, Bilbao, Spain (12-14 February). IMO participation at a roundtable on green ports highlighted the potential for provision of ship and shore-side/on-shore power supply from renewable sources, infrastructure to support supply of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels, and activities to further optimize the logistics chain and its planning, including ports.

In particular, the event discussed onshore power supply and the steps to take when initiating onshore power supply projects, including ensuring equipment is compatible across the world and safe to use. IMO‘s Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment is developing draft guidelines on safe operation of on-shore power supply service in port for ships engaged on international voyages, and considering the need for mandatory provisions.

IMO also highlighted the work of the Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) in tackling contractual and operational barriers to implementing “Just-In-Time” (JIT) operations, which could cut the time ships spend idling outside ports and help cut emissions.

 

Training to enhance maritime security in Kenya

15/02/2019 

Maritime law enforcement officials* from Kenya are taking part in a two week training course on best practices for visit, board, search and seizure of vessels, in Mombasa, Kenya (11-22 February). The multi-agency course brings together 30 officials to learn skills for effective coordination in combating maritime crimes and procedures used to successfully board and search a vessel of interest.

The training is part of IMO’s support for implementing the Jeddah Amendment to Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017, a regional agreement against maritime crime in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean area, which IMO helped to establish. Implementation of the code of conduct is supported by a range of international partners including United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Police Organization (INTERPOL), Mohammed Bin Naif Academy for Maritime Science and Security Studies (Saudi Arabia), United States Coast Guard, US Naval Forces Africa, Canadian Coast Guard, British Peace Support Team (Africa), NATO Maritime Interdiction Training Centre (NMIOTC) and others.

The ongoing course is supported by a joint Royal Navy/Royal Marine training team of seven experts from the United Kingdom and four experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross – to teach skills on International Humanitarian Rights Law, use of force, arrest and detention, search and seizure, and judicial guarantees.

* from the Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Coast Guard Services, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Maritime Police Unit, Kenya Navy, Kenya Fisheries Service, Immigration, Port Health, and Kenya Revenue Authority

 

Costa Rica ratifies treaty for enhancing free flow of maritime trade

12/02/2019 

​Costa Rica is the latest country to ratify the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention). The IMO treaty enhances communication between ships and ports to help shipments move more quickly, more easily and more efficiently. H.E. Mr. Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, Ambassador of Costa Rica, met IMO Secretary-General at IMO Headquarters, London (12 February) to deposit the instrument of accession. Find out more about the FAL Convention, including why it is needed, advice for governments, and information on the 8 April 2019 electronic data exchange deadline, here.

 

Promoting international counter-terrorism treaties in South and South-East Asia

08/02/2019 

IMO maritime security and counter-terrorism treaties* are key international instruments supporting countries to counter terrorism. To boost implementation of these treaties in South and South-East Asia, IMO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are running a cross-regional workshop in Bali, Indonesia (5-8-February).

The workshop is addressing the need to ratify the relevant international counter-terrorism instruments and to incorporate their provisions into national laws as well as promoting multi-agency and regional collaboration.

The event builds on recent national workshops held in Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Viet Nam, as well as a sub-regional event held at IMO Headquarters in November 2018.

Participants** are sharing experiences and best practices, and are exploring the potential for regional and cross-regional collaboration on maritime counter-terrorism prevention and response.

This is the last activity under Phase One of the “partnership without paperwork” project initiated by UNODC with funding from the Government of Japan. IMO is presenting on subjects including “the International Legal Framework against Maritime Terrorism”; “Suspected transport of BCN weapons by vessel in transit and passing through territorial waters” and “Bio-Terrorism/Mass Casualty event involving a Cruise Liner alongside in port”. 

* Including SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the suppression of unlawful acts (SUA) instruments

** Participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam.

 

IMO collaborates to boost African maritime development

06/02/2019 

As part of its continuing efforts to help African countries improve the sustainability of their maritime sectors and their blue economies, IMO frequently works with partners to help support their initiatives.

This work includes participating in two major annual maritime security exercises in Africa, the first of which, Cutlass Express, is currently underway in Djibouti, Mozambique and the Seychelles (25 January 7 February). Cutlass Express puts special emphasis on encouraging navies and civilian agencies and different countries to work together, as envisaged in existing frameworks such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) and the Jeddah Amendment to the DCoC – a regional agreement against maritime crime in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean area, which IMO helped to establish.

IMO is also taking part in a Senior Leaders Seminar, organized by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in the margins of Cutlass Express, in Maputo, Mozambique, in which heads of navies from the region are participating. IMO emphasized the need for multi-agency, multi-disciplinary and whole of government approaches to maritime development within the context of the Codes of Conduct and how maritime security can underpin economic development and generate wider stability.

 

Safe mooring rule set to be finalized

04/02/2019 

IMO work to preventing accidents when ships are being moored at their berth in a port continues this week. A draft SOLAS regulation aimed at better protecting seafarers and shore-based mooring personnel from injuries during mooring operations is set to be finalized by the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 6). The meeting (4-8 February) also aims to complete draft guidelines on the design of mooring arrangements; and on their inspection and maintenance; as well as to revise existing guidelines on shipboard towing and mooring arrangements.

Safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in Polar waters, not currently covered by the Polar Code, are also on the agenda. The Sub-Committee will consider the first draft set of recommendations for safety measures for fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over, as well as pleasure yachts above 300 gross tonnage not engaged in trade, operating in polar waters.

Another important agenda item is the ongoing development of a draft new SOLAS chapter XV on Safety measures for ships carrying industrial personnel and the associated draft Code, aimed at providing minimum safety standards for ships that carry industrial personnel, as well as for the personnel, so as to ensure their safe transit prior or after their deployment in relation to the construction, maintenance, decommissioning, operation or servicing of offshore facilities. The Sub-Committee will also continue its work on developing second generation intact stability criteria, including preparing guidelines on the specification of direct stability assessment; the preparation and approval of operational limitations and operational guidance; and  vulnerability 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.

 

Tackling barriers to Just-In-Time ship operation

01/02/2019 

Implementing “Just-In-Time” (JIT) operations to cut the time ships spend idling outside ports can help cut emissions. This is good for the environment and can cut costs too. But there are a number of contractual and operational barriers to overcome before this could be implemented worldwide.

For some types of ships, such as bulk carriers and tankers, clauses in charterparty contracts currently act as a barrier to the uptake of JIT. For other ship types, such as container ships, contractual barriers do not exist, allowing the ship’s master to reduce speed without breach of contract, thereby enabling JIT to start being implemented today.

Focusing on those ship types that can already contractually implement JIT, IMO’s Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) brought together a wide range of industry stakeholders to discuss how to operationally make JIT a global reality. Convening at IMO Headquarters in London (31 January), representatives from shipping companies, port authorities, terminal operators, service providers (including ship agents, bunker providers and tug operators) and other maritime organizations, discussed in detail how to tackle existing operational barriers.

The roundtable identified that for ports be able to provide incoming ships with a reliable berth arrival time, firstly a reliable departure time of the ship at berth needs to be achieved - which involves collaboration of many stakeholders. The ship currently at berth will only depart after loading, unloading, bunkering, provisioning and other critical services have all been completed. However, the terminal and other service providers currently share very few updates about completion times.

The roundtable also identified the need for global standardisation and harmonization of data, which is currently being discussed under IMO’s Facilitation Committee, to provide ships with regular updates about the availability of berths, especially in the last twelve hours prior to port arrival. Timing the arrival can allow ships to optimise their speed – such as by slowing down - providing further reduction in the carbon footprint of shipping as well as saving on fuel costs. Additionally, it improves the safety of navigation and rest hour planning of ship crew and nautical services.

GIA members plan to hold another meeting later this year to discuss contractual barriers to JIT. The alliance is also in the process of preparing a real-time JIT pilot trial, in order to test the tangible solutions identified so far and gather experience. The GIA will submit a progress report on its work on JIT to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) with a view to continue supporting IMO member States in tackling emissions from ships and reaching the ambitious emissions targets set out in IMO’s Initial GHG Strategy.

The GIA is a public-private partnership initiative of the IMO under the framework of the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloMEEP Project that aims to bring together maritime industry leaders to support an energy efficient and low carbon maritime transport system. The GIA currently has 15 members, representing leading shipowners and operators, classification societies, engine and technology builders and suppliers, big data providers, oil companies and ports.

A GIA video explaining the Just-In-Time concept can be viewed here.

 

Turkey ratifies ship recycling convention

31/01/2019 

Turkey, one of the five major ship recycling countries in the world, has ratified the IMO Hong Kong Convention, the treaty for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling. 

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009, covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.

Under the Hong Kong Convention, ships to be sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.

In its ratification instrument, Turkey declares that it requires explicit approval of the Ship Recycling Plan before a ship may be recycled in its authorized Ship Recycling Facility(ies).

H.E. Mr. Ümit Yalçın, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Turkey to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to deposit the instrument of ratification to the treaty today (31 January).

Turkey becomes the seventh State to become a Party to the Hong Kong Convention. The treaty will enter into force 24 months after ratification by 15 States, representing 40 per cent of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than 3 per cent of their combined tonnage.

The seven contracting States represent more than 20% of world merchant shipping tonnage and the combined annual ship recycling volume of the Contracting States during the preceding 10 years is 1,652,961 GT, i.e. 0.62% of the merchant shipping tonnage of the same States (Belgium, Congo, Denmark, France, Norway, Panama and Turkey).  

The top five ship recycling countries in the world, accounting between them for more than 90% of all ship recycling by tonnage, are Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey.

IMO is implementing a project (SENSREC Phase II) in Bangladesh to enhance safe and environmentally sound ship recycling develop a roadmap towards accession to the Hong Kong convention and focus on building capacity within Bangladesh to develop a legal, policy and institutional reform roadmap towards accession to the Hong Kong Convention and  training a variety of stakeholders

 

Promoting trade facilitation in Djibouti

25/01/2019 

New requirements for electronic exchange of data for the clearance of ships become effective from 9 April 2019. To help prepare for this, a National Seminar on Facilitation of Maritime Traffic was held in Djibouti (22-24 January). The workshop raised awareness of the new requirements for participants from ministries with responsibilities in the clearance of ships, cargo, crew and passengers at ports of Djibouti, and private stakeholders. The event addressed the benefits of using a maritime single window and electronic data exchange; and also addressed other facilitation issues, including stowaways and persons rescued at sea. The seminar was organized by IMO and the Direction des Affaires Maritimes of Djibouti.

 

The Russian Federation accedes to passenger compensation treaty

18/01/2019 

​The Russian Federation has acceded to the IMO treaty dealing with compulsory insurance covering passengers on ships. The 2002 Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea sets the limits of liability for incidents on a ship involving passengers, including death of or personal injury to a passenger and loss of or damage to luggage and vehicles. Mr. Yury Melenas, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to deposit the instrument of accession (16 January).

 

Crossing language barriers

18/01/2019 

​One of the great strengths of the UN system is its multi-national and multi-cultural nature. As far as possible, UN bodies try to work in their delegates’ own languages or at least in a language they are familiar and comfortable with. There are six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) and the vast majority of international meetings throughout the UN system enjoy simultaneous interpretation into all of them.

That means interpreters are often the unsung heroes of international diplomacy. Last week (12-13 January) IMO hosted a meeting of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). The UN system works closely with AIIC and 2019 marks 50 years since the first agreement between the UN and AIIC setting out terms and conditions of employment for freelance conference interpreters. The meeting gave interpreters the chance to trial IMO’s own interpreting booths and meeting facilities, as well as evaluating new platforms for remote interpreting during simulated real-time interpreting exercises.

 

Polar communication and navigation equipment guidance to be finalized

16/01/2019 

IMO’s Polar Code helps ensure that ships operating in the harsh Arctic and Antarctic areas take into account extremes of temperature and make sure critical equipment remains operational. Draft guidance for navigation and communication equipment intended for use on ships operating in polar waters is expected to be finalized by the current session of the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR 6, 16-25 January). The guidance will include recommendations on temperature and mechanical shock testing, and on how to address ice accretion and battery performance in cold temperatures.

The Sub-Committee will also consider the report of the 14th meeting of the Joint IMO/ITU Experts Group on maritime radiocommunication matters. The meeting will finalize the draft IMO position on maritime radiocommunication matters for submission to the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), to be held in November. The availability of interference-free parts of radio spectrum, dedicated for maritime radiocommunication and radionavigation purposes, is essential to ensure the safety and security of shipping.

The Sub-Committee will continue its work on a number of key agenda items, including the ongoing work to modernize the Global Maritime Distress and Safety system (GMDSS). The mandatory 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.

On e-navigation matters, the meeting will focus on harmonization and standardization which is key for the effective implementation of the e-navigation strategy. The Sub-Committee will further develop the description of various maritime services coordinated by different organizations with the view to enhance harmonization; and draft guidelines on standardized modes of operation, or S-mode, which will improve standardization of the user interface and information used by seafarers.

On search and rescue matters, the Sub-Committee will consider recommendations from the latest regular International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)/IMO Joint Working Group. IMO works closely with ICAO on the harmonization of aeronautical and maritime search and rescue. The meeting is expected to validate a revised model course on SAR Mission Coordinator. 

Amongst other regular agenda items, the Sub-Committee will review proposed new and amended ships' routeing measures, consider updates to Maritime Safety Information (MSI) related provisions and will discuss 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).

 

Seafarers, technology and automation - managing future challenges

16/01/2019 

​IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has highlighted the need to consider seafarer training and standards as shipping evolves, with increasing levels of technology and automation. Speaking at IMO Headquarters (15 January) at the launch of a new report “Transport 2040: Automation, Technology and Employment - the Future of Work”, Secretary-General Lim set out key questions that will require focus from all stakeholders:  “How will the seafarer of the future manage the challenges related to an increasing level of technology and automation in maritime transport? How will the new technologies impact on the nature of jobs in the industry? What standards will seafarers be required to meet with respect to education, training and certification to qualify them for the jobs of the future?”

An important strategic direction for IMO is the integration of new and advancing technologies into the regulatory framework - balancing the benefits  derived from new and advancing technologies against safety and security concerns, the impact on the environment and on international trade facilitation, the potential costs to the industry and  their impact on personnel, both on board and ashore. “Member States and the industry need to anticipate the impact these changes may have and how they will be addressed,” Mr. Lim said.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU) Transport 2040 report is the first-ever, independent and comprehensive assessment of how automation will affect the future of work in the transport industry, focusing on technological changes and automation in road, air, rail and maritime transport. The report concludes that the introduction of automation in global transport will be “evolutionary, rather than revolutionary,” and that “despite high levels of automation, qualified human resources with the right skill sets will still be needed in the foreseeable future”. Technological advances are inevitable, but will be gradual and vary by region. Workers will be affected in different ways based on their skill levels and the varying degrees of preparedness of different countries. Read more and download the report here.

Mr. Lim welcomed the report, noting that it would contribute to the efforts of the global shipping community to help implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the goals on quality education; gender equality; decent work and economic growth; and industry, innovation and infrastructure.

 

Qatar accedes to load lines convention

15/01/2019 

​Qatar is the 111th State to accede to the International Convention on Load Lines (1988 Protocol) – an important IMO ship safety treaty. Limitations on the draught to which a ship may be loaded make a significant contribution to the ship's safety. These limits are given in the form of freeboards, which, together with external weathertight and watertight integrity, is the main objective of the Convention. Measures under the treaty take into account the potential hazards present in different zones and different seasons.

The 1988 Protocol updates and revises the earlier treaty. The technical annex contains several additional safety measures concerning doors, freeing ports, hatchways and other items. These measures help to ensure the watertight integrity of ships' hulls below the freeboard deck. All assigned load lines must be marked amidships on each side of the ship, together with the deck line.

Mr. Mohamed Abdulla Al-Jabir, Deputy Ambassador, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London (15 January) to deposit the instrument of accession. The Protocol's signatories now represent more than 97% of world merchant shipping tonnage.

 

IMO helps Member States with sustainability targets

11/01/2019 

In 2015, 193 countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)It calls for action by all countries to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030, world-wide.

 
To help its Member States gain a better understanding of the SDGs and the role IMO can play in achieving them, IMO and the United Nations System Staff College held a workshop (11 January) for Member State delegations at IMO’s London headquarters. Among the topics covered in the workshop were how to integrate different stakeholders and develop coherent policies with regard to sustainable development, and how to generate engagement and buy-in among potential partners.
 
As part of the United Nations family, IMO is actively committed to helping its Member States achieve the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Indeed, most of the elements of the 2030 Agenda will only be realized with a sustainable shipping sector supporting world trade and facilitating global economy. The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs are widely seen as an opportunity to transform the world for the better, leaving no one behind.
 
Find out more about IMO and the SDGs, here.

 

Training on maritime counter-terrorism measures in Viet Nam

11/01/2019 

IMO is assisting the Government of Viet Nam to implement international counter-terrorism measures involving the maritime sector.

The training workshop is part of an on-going project with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which assists States’ capability to implement and enforce maritime safety and security legislation* to support countering terrorism, piracy and armed robbery against ships.

The exercise is taking place in Hai Phong, Viet Nam (9-10 January). The programme emphasises and demonstrates the need for cooperation among government departments and agencies. Participants are taking part in a range of evolving scenarios, to determine respective roles, responsibilities, processes and procedures, and how these may develop, both during an incident and during routine business.
 
The results will help determine possible gaps in policies and plans, and help IMO and other agencies to provide improved assistance in the future. 
 
* Relevant treaties include IMO’s maritime security instruments in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) Code; the Convention on the Suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation (SUA); and the security-related aspects of the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL).

 

Costa Rica accedes to maritime search and rescue treaty

08/01/2019 

International search and rescue plans are crucial, so that, no matter where an accident occurs, the rescue of persons in distress at sea can be coordinated successfully. The worldwide ratification and implementation of IMO's International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR Convention) is a key component in efforts to ensure the safety of international shipping.

 Costa Rica is the 112th State to accede to the treaty, whose signatories now represent more than 80% of world merchant shipping tonnage. H.E. Mr. Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (7 January) to deposit the instrument of accession.