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.
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 Draft guidance for navigation and communication equipment intended for use on ships operating in polar waters is expected to be finalized by the current session of the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).
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 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.
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.
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
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
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).
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
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.
Simulation exercises are proving to be a valuable tool to assist countries and port authorities to prepare for a wide range of potential threats and security situations. An interactive port facility/port security officer workshop in Panama City, Panama (13-14 December) presented a series of possible scenarios which were deliberately varied, from the easiest problems to solve, to others that may require greater participation and analysis to reach a solution.
Participants discussed needs, possibilities and opportunities to improve collaboration between them and other responsible actors for port and maritime security in Panama, both at the port level as well as at the national level. The outcome is improved capacity for better prevention and response. Analysis and evaluation of results will be carried out to inform future strategies, with recommendations summarised in a final report, shared with the Panama Maritime Authority and all ports in the country.
This pilot simulation exercise during the workshop was jointly delivered by IMO and the Organization of American States Inter American Committee Against Terrorism (OAS-CICTE). This activity will assist member states in the development of the capacities of their Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) for the application and enforcement of local legislation in relation to the different threats or situations related to maritime and port security that the PFSOs face daily in ports where they develop their activities. The intention is to roll out the course in in other Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), through a collaboration between CICTE and Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP) of the OAS and IMO.
Political, legal and technical obstacles can sometimes challenge ratification and subsequently the effective implementation of MARPOL Annex VI air pollution and energy efficiency regulations. A regional workshop to identify and address any such barriers for Mediterranean coastal States took place (11-13 December) at the headquarters of REMPEC, the IMO-administered pollution emergency response centre in the Mediterranean.
Participants from 16 Mediterranean coastal States (including six which have not yet ratified MARPOL Annex VI), the European Union, IMO, HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - Helsinki Commission) and a local NGO identified the main obstacles to ratification and effective implementation and explored possibilities for (sub)regional application and enforcement of the Annex VI provisions in the Mediterranean.
Participants also discussed the draft technical and feasibility study, commissioned by REMPEC, to examine the possibility of designating the Mediterranean Sea or parts thereof, as sulphur oxides (SOx) emission control area (ECA) under MARPOL Annex VI. A Mediterranean ECA would imply a reduction to 0.1% m/m for the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships in the area.
Two other studies commissioned by the European Commission and France were also presented. Although the studies applied different data sources and methodologies, all presented similar results: a Mediterranean ECA would result in significant health and environmental benefits, fewer cases of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and premature deaths avoided annually and favourable cost effectiveness comparison for costs and health benefits. The outcome of the workshop and studies will support the Mediterranean decision-making process to define the way forward. This will be set out in a road map, which will be further discussed by the SOx ECA(s) Technical Committee of Experts in spring 2019.
The workshop was supported by IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP), the Mediterranean Trust Fund (MTF) and a voluntary contribution from the Government of France.
IMO is providing training to
countries* in the west Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden on managing insecurity in
the maritime domain in a regional workshop at the Djibouti Regional Training
Centre (9-13 December).
It’s the latest in an ongoing
series of capacity-building initiatives in the region, targeted at national
focal points and key personnel in maritime security. Participants include
officers from coast guards, marine police, navy and maritime administrations,
serving at sea or ashore, who have operational responsibility for maritime law
They are being trained on
regional and national measures that need to be taken to adequately understand,
influence, prevent, protect and respond to insecurity in the maritime domain. A
key part of these national measures is working towards a “whole-of-government”
approach, by sharing best practices on how multi-agency and multi-disciplinary
efforts can better implement and enforce the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC)
and related Jeddah
Amendment – the international treaties instrumental in repressing piracy
and armed robbery against ships in the region.
The Djibouti Regional Training
Centre is part-funded by IMO and supports implementation of the DCoC and Jeddah
* Comoros, Djibouti,
Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Tanzania, Seychelles, Somalia,
South Africa, the Sudan and Yemen.
Ships and ports will need to be able to exchange arrival and departure data electronically from April 2019, under IMO's Facilitation Convention. There requirements also encourage the use of a single window in which all the many agencies and authorities shall exchange data via a single point of contact.
To be ready to meet those requirements, IMO is conducting training workshops. The latest was a needs assessment workshop in Douala, Cameroon, (10-12 December 2018) to assist Cameroon to implement a maritime single window.
The two-day workshop saw participants discuss the Single Window for Foreign Trade Transactions (GUCE) and what necessary equipment for the implementation of procedures to electronically exchange forms documents and certificates would be required for vessels.
The event also looked at how to prepare reports to analyse the needs, and the cost and timeline for implementing the project.
This project will also help to determine the potential role of maritime transport facilitation in poverty reduction, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and as mentioned by an IMO study.
IMO’s Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response (OPRC 90) requires states to plan and prepare for marine pollution incidents. REMPEC, the IMO administered pollution emergency response centre in the Mediterranean, facilitated a meeting in Larnaca, Cyprus (6 December) between Cyprus, Greece and Israel, to follow up on the Implementation Agreement on the Sub-regional Marine Pollution Contingency Plan the three countries signed in May. The meeting saw considerable progress in ensuring the efficient implementation of the common contingency plan and addressing operational matters and trans-national issues. REMPEC officials provided valuable input to the discussions based on their extensive experience with developing national and (sub)regional contingency plans in other parts of the Mediterranean.
Officials from Cyprus, Greece and Israel also took part in a Sub-Regional Workshop (4-5 December) on Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, which included a visit of the Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Centre “Zenon”. The workshop was organized by REMPEC, with the support of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC), the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF), and the International Group of P&I Clubs.
A ship wreck can be a hazard to navigation. Other vessels and their crews can potentially be endangered, and, depending on the nature of the cargo and remaining fuel on board, a wreck may also cause damage to marine environments and other coastal interests. Then there is the issue of costs and risks involved in marking and removing hazardous wrecks.
To help resolve these issues, IMO's Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention, covers the legal basis for States to remove, or have removed, shipwrecks, drifting ships, objects from ships at sea, and floating offshore installations.
To spread knowledge of the specific aspects of the Convention, IMO led a panel discussion on wreck removal challenges, at the Salvage & Wreck Removal Conference in London, United Kingdom (5-7 December).
The Convention entered into force in 2015, filling a gap in the international legal framework on liability and compensation by providing the first set of uniform international rules aimed at ensuring the prompt and effective removal of wrecks located in a country's exclusive economic zone. The Convention covers shipowners' liability for costs of locating, marking and removal of hazardous wrecks; compulsory insurance to cover shipowner liability; the criteria for determining the hazard posed by wrecks, including environmental criteria. The treaty also includes an optional clause enabling States Parties to apply certain provisions to their territory, including their territorial sea.
To-date, 41 States have signed up to the Convention, representing more than 72% of world merchant shipping tonnage. Find out more about the Convention, here.
Oman has become the 16th signatory* to the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct – the instrument developed and adopted by countries in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden that has been a key factor in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships operating in that region.
The Amendment significantly broadened the scope of the Djibouti Code when it was adopted at a high-level meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in January 2017. It covers measures for suppressing a range of illicit activities, including piracy, arms trafficking, trafficking in narcotics, illegal trade in wildlife, illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft, human trafficking, human smuggling, and illegal dumping of toxic waste.
Mr. Said Bin Al-Harthy, Under Secretary for Ports & Maritime Affairs of Oman deposited the instrument with Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London (7 December).
* Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen.
Civil-military cooperation can support effective maritime security and contribute to developing the maritime sector and the sustainable blue economy. This was the message highlighted by IMO at the Combined Force Maritime Component Command (CFMCC) Flag Course, in Naples, Italy (3-7 December), which was attended by senior naval officers from 28 countries. The course was hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet and conducted by the U.S. Naval War College. It aims to foster dialogue among participants to share experiences and discover innovative solutions to the challenges facing African nations in today’s maritime security environment.
IMO is at the UN climate change conference (COP 24) in Poland, highlighting key elements of the Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships. The strategy sets out a vision to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, while, at the same time, pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely. This sets a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals.
IMO reported to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA 49) on the Organization’s actions and commitment to reduce emissions from international shipping, including the adoption of the Initial IMO Strategy and work on technology cooperation and capacity building.
Discussions at a number of side events at COP 24 have focused on prospects for alternative and low-carbon fuels, as both industry and Governments discuss the need for a shift away from fossil fuels. The IMO initial GHG strategy recognizes that technological innovation and the global introduction of alternative fuels and/or energy sources for international shipping will be integral to achieve the overall ambition. The implications for economic development, including for vulnerable countries, have also been key points for discussion. IMO’s GloMEEP energy efficiency partnerships project and the global maritime technology centre network (GMN) are supporting developing countries to implement IMO energy efficiency measures and to push forward with pilot projects and trials for emissions recording and reporting.
Download IMO presentations and statements here.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited IMO Headquarters in London (5 December). The Princess Royal was received by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and addressed the 100th session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and took a keen interest in the proceedings, as the Committee discussed measures to enhance maritime security and piracy and armed robbery against ships. The Princess Royal, who is Master of Trinity House and President of the Mission to Seafarers, then met delegates from a number of Member States and non-governmental organizations. Photos here.
The visit was organised as part of a series of events commemorating IMO’s 70th anniversary and the World Maritime Day theme - “IMO 70: Our Heritage: Better Shipping for a Better Future". In March 1948, the convention establishing IMO was adopted. The Maritime Safety Committee was one of the IMO bodies established by that convention and is the oldest technical committee of IMO. On 6 March this year, 70 years to the day since the IMO was established, Her Majesty the Queen visited IMO Headquarters.
Ukraine has acceded to an important IMO ship safety treaty – the 1988 Protocol relating to the International Convention on Load Lines. 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 constitute, besides external weathertight and watertight integrity, the main objective of the Convention. Measures under the treaty take into account the potential hazards present in different zones and different seasons.
Mr. Andriy Galushchak, State Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London (5 December) to deposit the instruments of accession. The 1988 Load lines Protocol now has 110 Contracting States, representing more than 97% of world merchant shipping tonnage.
The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is meeting for its milestone 100th session, with a busy agenda encompassing maritime autonomous surface ships, fatigue guidance for seafarers, polar shipping, goal-based standards and other agenda items. The MSC will receive the report of a correspondence group which has been testing the proposed methodology for the regulatory scoping exercise on maritime autonomous surface ships, taking into account different levels of autonomy. Focusing on the human element, the MSC is expected to approve revised guidance on fatigue, a key tool for seafarers and ship operators. On polar shipping, the MSC is expected to establish a working group to further consider how to move forward with developing mandatory and/or recommendatory measures for ships operating in polar waters but not currently covered by the Polar Code.
Matters related to the goal-based ship construction standards for bulkers and oil tankers are on the agenda, following the successful initial verification of 12 Recognized Organizations by IMO GBS audit teams. The MSC will consider the initial audit of a further recognized organization.
The outcomes of Sub-Committees will be considered, including various guidelines set for approval. The MSC will be updated on the reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
Amendments to update the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers are set to be adopted, alongside amendments to the Code of Safety for Special Purpose Ships (SPS Code).
The MSC is being chaired by Mr. Brad Groves (Australia). Read more here. Click for photos. A special event marking 100 sessions of the MSC was held on Monday (3 December).
Legal experts and port and maritime security officers from Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka have gathered at IMO in London (27-29 November) for a focused sub-regional workshop on implementing transport-related (maritime) counter terrorism instruments. The joint United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and IMO Counter Terrorism/Security sub-regional workshop was a follow-up to three national workshops in the same countries.
This is part of an ongoing UNODC/IMO project to boost implementation of IMO maritime security and counter terrorism treaties, including SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the suppression of unlawful acts (SUA) instruments. These are key elements of the international counter terrorism instruments. The emphasis of the capacity building is on the need for good supporting national legislation, as well as multi-agency collaboration.
The national workshops have recognized the benefits of developing national maritime security strategies and national counter-terrorism strategies. Representatives from the United Kingdom, who have developed both, contributed their experiences in strategy development at this sub-regional workshop. Interport Police and the UN 1540 Committee also participated in the workshop. The World Customs Organization (WCO), UNCTED and Interpol will be involved in future workshops on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction via the maritime domain.
The ongoing joint UNODC/IMO Counter Terrorism/Security project will continue, with table-top exercises in Indonesia, Malaysia and Viet Nam in early 2019, and with a regional meeting planned for February 2019 which will include Philippines, which recently completed a table-top exercise tailored for testing contingency plans on possible terrorism-related incidents in the maritime domain.
The first regional donor/recipient workshop on maritime Technical Cooperation activities is underway in Seoul, the Republic of Korea (26-30 November). The workshop builds on the long-term resource mobilization strategy for IMO's Technical Cooperation activities, approved at the sixty-eighth session of the IMO Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC). This strategy identified a more proactive and methodical approach with regard to generating new resources by encouraging the development of partnerships with Member States, the United Nations system and multilateral development banks, through the design of new and innovative projects.
The regional workshop brings together officials representing transport ministries, responsible for maritime affairs, and finance ministries, responsible for official development assistance (ODA). This is the first workshop of its kind since the launch of the Strategy; with participants sharing knowledge, skills and experience as vital resources, as well as providing an invaluable opportunity to network with maritime and development cooperation counterparts from around the region to seek possible cooperation opportunities and to brainstorm on how to increase awareness of and prioritise maritime issues in national development plans.
The workshop has provided a platform for donors to prioritise their interests and to identify the needs and demands of recipient countries; for recipients to have a better understanding of how to access the various resources available to address their needs; to improve the understanding of each other's mechanisms of operation with regard to accessing and delivering funding and support; and to build an enhanced network of knowledge partnerships and communication.
Participating Member States and organizations represented at the workshop were; Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The workshop was organised by IMO with support from the Government of the Republic of Korea.
Response plans are essential to ensure reliable national and sub-regional systems for preparedness and response, trained personnel, basic equipment and contingency plans for combating marine pollution incidents. REMPEC, the IMO-administered pollution emergency response centre in the Mediterranean, facilitated the organization of a meeting of national authorities involved in the contingency plan for the Western Mediterranean.
The Fifth Meeting of the competent national authorities in charge of the implementation of the Sub-Regional Contingency Plan between Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia for Preparedness for and Response to Marine Pollution from Ships for the South-Western Mediterranean was held in Algiers, Algeria (27-28 November). Opening the meeting, H.E. Mrs Fatma Zohra Zerouati, Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy of Algeria, underlined the need to organize high level sub-regional meetings on an annual basis to ensure the continuous commitment of the countries involved in the implementation of the regional plan.
The Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) assists Mediterranean coastal States in ratifying, transposing, implementing and enforcing international maritime conventions related to the prevention, preparedness and response to pollution from ships, including IMO’s Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response (OPRC 90). An effective regional contingency plan is considered to be the single most important factor which determines the effectiveness and the success of response to marine pollution incidents. The recent meeting falls within REMPEC’s continuous efforts to implement a solid framework for mutual assistance and cooperation in case of marine pollution from ships in the Mediterranean.
The meeting was attended by more than 150 representatives from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, as well as from the United Nations, UNDP and REMPEC.
REMPEC also facilitated further collaboration and exchange of experience between the South-Western Mediterranean Contingency Plan, and the Ramoge Agreement, a similar regional cooperation framework between France, Italy and Monaco (which has been in place for more than 40 years).
IMO technical assistance and institutional support has been instrumental in the recent adoption of the ASEAN Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan. The plan was adopted by the 24th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting, held in Bangkok, Thailand (8 November). The Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan provides for a mechanism whereby ASEAN Member States can request and provide mutual support in response to any oil spills. It also ensures a common understanding and effective integration between affected and assisting ASEAN Member States, in the event of incidents involving oil spills.
Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) on an ASEAN Cooperation Mechanism for Joint Oil Spill Preparedness and Response in 2014, IMO has delivered various national and sub-regional activities in the different ASEAN countries to support the concrete implementation of the MoU, including a recent IMO workshop held in Malaysia in July 2018 aimed at familiarizing stakeholders with the content of the final draft of the plan. This technical assistance has been provided through the Global Initiative project for South East Asia (GI SEA), a joint project with the oil and gas industry (IPIECA). This supports implementation of IMO’s Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (the OPRC 90 Convention).
The final adoption of the Regional Plan was made pursuant to the recommendation of the ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group (MTWG) during its 36th Session held in August 2018 in Singapore. During these MTWG Meetings, IMO has also continuously underlined the importance of the development and adoption of the regional plan. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) includes: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The global network of Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres is expanding with a number of branch offices and becoming an integral player in implementing IMO’s initial strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. This is especially true when it comes to capacity building, technical cooperation and R&D. A 250-strong* crowd attended the MTCC-Africa side-event on Capacity Building for Climate Mitigation in the Maritime Shipping Industry (27 November), during the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya (photos).
The event was organized within the framework of the Global MTCCs Network (GMN), a network of five MTCCs established in support of IMO’s Initial Strategy on GHG emissions reduction with the objective of assisting stakeholders and IMO member states through capacity building and technology transfer.
The GMN project is financed by the European Union and implemented by the IMO. In his opening remarks, Mr. Bruno Pozzi, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Kenya, , emphasized the importance of the IMO strategy, which calls for a reduction in shipping emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, whilst pursuing efforts towards phasing them out completely, consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals.
IMO’s Mr. Fredrik Haag, elaborated on the MTCCs role in implementing follow up actions of IMO’s initial strategy. The MTCCs (both now and in the future) will help ensure that over the next three decades emissions from shipping can be stabilized and reduced. This type of reduction is only possible with initiatives like the GMN and its activities, such as improving energy efficiency through retrofitting existing vessels, something which is currently being piloted by MTCC-Pacific.
The five MTCCs have begun the process of expansion, with MTCC-Asia establishing branch offices in Cambodia (in 2017) and more recently in Myanmar (November 2018), with a third planned for Bangladesh (to open in 2019). MTCC-Pacific is also expanding and is in the process of establishing its branch office in Samoa. *Attendees included representatives from the European Union, IMO, the Ministry of Transport Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development of the Republic of Kenya, the host institution of MTCC-Africa (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology – JKUAT), MTCC-Africa, MTCC-Pacific, as well as regional stakeholders and focal points of the Network from Ghana, Nigeria, Madagascar and Namibia.
Technological innovation and the global introduction of alternative fuels and/or energy sources for international shipping will be integral to achieving the overall ambition in the Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships. A meeting of the IMO Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) Task Force at IMO Headquarters in London (27 November) held a lively debate on the marine fuel for the future - and discussed how the GIA can support IMO in the development of measures that can increase the uptake of low carbon fuels (with a view to feeding this into IMO’s work on the Initial GHG Strategy). The meeting agreed, as a next step, to hold a GIA roundtable early 2019 to discuss how early movers could be incentivised to invest in alternative fuels.
The GIA Task Force includes representatives from members of the GIA, 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 meeting took stock of the different workstreams the GIA has embarked on, including the development of E-Learning Course on the Energy Efficient Ship Operation for seafarers and shore-based personnel, and work on the development of short and mid-term solutions that can support a global uptake of the Just-In Time operation of ships.
The GIA agreed to continue its work until December 2019, in line with the time-scale of the GloMEEP project. 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.