London Convention 41 / London Protocol 14 closing remarks


by Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General

Friday 11 October 2019

Madam Chair, distinguished delegates,

Before addressing the work of your meeting, I have to mention with great sadness the recent sinking of the Bourbon Rhode, an offshore tug, which sunk with eleven crewmembers in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,200 nautical miles off Martinique Island when it was affected by severe weather conditions associated with Hurricane Lorenzo.

On behalf of the IMO membership, the Secretariat and myself, I would like to send our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of the Ukrainian, Philippine, South African and Russian crew members who perished in the accident, as well as those that remain missing.

I would also like to commend all those involved in the international search and rescue operations. While it is too early to fully evaluate the extent of the incident, I look forward to receiving, in due course, the report of the casualty investigation, so that the Organization can do whatever may be necessary to reduce the chances of such a tragic event happening again.


Regarding the accident involving an Iranian crude oil tanker off the coast of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which took place today, I would like to express my sympathy to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  While the details are still emerging, I note with relief that there were no lives lost and the pollution damage has been minimal. I am looking forward to receiving additional information and the casualty report, in due course.

Now let me return this week's meeting. Allow me to congratulate you for bringing this week's meeting of the governing bodies of the London Convention and Protocol to a close. It has been a very successful meeting, covering a wide range of issues.

I will not take much of your time, but - let me mention a few important issues of your work this week.

The first item that stands out, is the adoption of the resolution on provisional application of the 2009 amendment to article 6 of the London Protocol, to allow for transboundary export of CO2 for carbon capture and storage (CCS).

By doing so, you have taken a proactive and measured step to address climate change through mitigation technologies related to CCS. But let me emphasize – this does not abdicate the importance of ensuring that the amendment comes into force, and that Contracting Parties should accept the 2009 amendment, as well as the 2013 amendment on marine geoengineering.

With the Blue COP coming up later this year, hosted by Chile, this sends a strong message of the relevance of the LC/LP in the global action to combat climate change.

You also approved the Revised Specific Guidelines for assessment of platforms or other man-made structures at sea, which sets the global standard for these activities that will undoubtedly increase in the future.

On marine litter, you were at the forefront when the issue was given impetus at IMO, and I am pleased to see that your work continues at pace, as it has direct relevance not only to the IMO Action Plan to address marine plastic litter form ships, but also to other organizations such as FAO and UNEP.

With regard to reporting and compliance with the LC/LP obligations, I am noting your continued efforts to meet the targets set out in the 2016 LP/LC Strategic Plan.

In this context, let me mention the IMO Member State Audit Scheme, which became mandatory in 2016 – but started on a voluntary basis.

The audit scheme has shown to be a positive tool for Member States enabling the building of knowledge and capacity to meet obligations under IMO treaties. Therefore, there may be lessons to be learnt from this scheme, to help improving the compliance of LC/LP.

Distinguished delegates,

I would like to thank all of those who contributed to the deliberations at this session, particularly the Chairpersons and members in working and drafting groups, but also the coordinators and members of the correspondence groups that reported to this meeting, as well as to members of the Scientific Groups and the London Protocol Compliance Group.


Ladies and gentlemen,

I cannot close this session without acknowledging the excellent work of your Chair - Mrs. Azara Prempeh of Ghana. I am sure that you all agree that under her leadership, no discussion is too challenging. Azara, your ability to bring together different views and create consensus and a way forward for the governing bodies is inspiring.

Allow me to also thank your Vice-Chairs, Ms. Betsy Valente (United States) and Mr. Gildardo Alarcon Daowz (Mexico) for their support and hard work, and of course congratulate all three of you on your re-elections.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the staff in the Office for the London Convention/Protocol and Ocean Affairs, Fredrik, Andy and Jennifer, and the staff of the Marine Environment Division who have provided support to the meeting. My thanks go also to the staff of the Conference Division and, of course, to all of the interpreters.

Distinguished delegates, we have come to the end of meeting, and I will end my remarks by wishing you all a very nice weekend and, to those who are travelling home, a safe journey.

I look forward to welcoming you all back at IMO for the governing bodies meeting next year.