Ships, crewmembers and the goods and passengers that they carry across borders are subject to a range of government controls, both on arrival and departure. These controls address a wide range of issues including ensuring public health, revenue protection, security, immigration, enforcing controls on importing and exporting prohibited and restricted items, and sanctions enforcement.
There are also a range of practical procedures and processes that must be followed in relation to the enhancement of maritime safety as well as to the provision of general port services to ships. As with the regulatory controls, these may be due to national requirements or may be mandated by international conventions and agreements.
All of these controls and procedures, be they local, national or international, regulatory or commercial, have features in common – they all require provision of information to a range of different agencies and entities, and they require action to be taken by ships, crews and ports.
The process by which these myriad regulations, requirements and procedures are simplified and harmonized is known as “facilitation”. If every country and every port within each country have different requirements for ships, cargoes and people, chaos and inefficiency ensue. The need for standardization and cutting of red tape was recognized by the Maritime Safety Committee very early on in the life of what was then called the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) – now IMO, through the development of the Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965, as amended (the FAL Convention).
Download What is FAL Brochure here.
For the latest update on IMO FAL activities click here
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