Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments, 5th session, 24-28 September 2018 (opening remarks)

(24 to 28 September 2018)

Good morning, distinguished delegates, I am very pleased to welcome you to the fifth session of the Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments. I particularly welcome those delegates who may be attending this Sub-Committee for the first time.

Before addressing the work of your Sub-Committee, I have to mention with great sadness the recent casualty of the Nyerere, a domestic ferry flying the flag of Tanzania and sailing on the Lake Victoria. 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 crew members and passengers who perished in the accident, as well as those that remain missing. I would also like to commend all those involved in the rescue operations. While it is too early to fully evaluate the extent of the incident, I look forward to knowing about the investigation process and reporting thereon, in due course, so that the Organization can do whatever may be necessary with regard to the safety of passenger ships not covered by SOLAS, in order to reduce the chances of such a tragic event happening again.

I would like to say a few words about this year's World Maritime Day theme, which will be celebrated at IMO Headquarters, this Thursday, 27 September. As you all may know, this year IMO celebrates 70 years since the IMO Convention was adopted and the World Maritime Day theme "IMO 70: Our heritage: better shipping for a better future" provides the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the past and look forward to the future, with a focus on the challenges for maritime transport in maintaining a continued and strengthened contribution towards sustainable growth for all. I would encourage you to use this occasion to promote the theme, and reflect and showcase how the Organization has developed and adapted over the years as a crucial player in the global supply chain, while staying true to its overall mission – to promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping. I will be hosting the usual World Maritime Day reception on Thursday at 1800 hours, which you are all invited to attend to jointly celebrate the success of the Organization with the diplomatic and shipping communities here in London.

Distinguished delegates,      

Since you last met, exactly one year ago, the Marine Environment Protection Committee and the Maritime Safety Committee have held one session each.  As part of your continuous specialized work in areas such as, survey and certification, casualties and port State control (PSC), you will progress, in this non-Assembly year, the preparation of, at least, three draft resolutions, in relation to the Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification, the Non-exhaustive list of obligations under instruments relevant to the IMO instruments implementation Code (III Code), and Procedures for port State control, for adoption by the Assembly at its thirty-first session next year.

Turning to specific issues on your agenda, I would single out the expected finalization of a draft Model agreement for the authorization of recognized organizations acting on behalf of the Administration to be in line with the requirements of the Code for Recognized Organizations (RO Code). I consider these important instruments as powerful tools to assist many Member States in the authorization of recognized organizations to carry out surveys and issue certificates on their behalf and provide the basis for States to monitor the execution of the authority so granted to ROs.

Also this week, you will continue your work in relation to IMO Member State Audit Scheme. Your consideration will be based on the detailed analysis of the first consolidated audit summary report from 18 mandatory audits conducted under the IMSAS. You would be expected to make recommendations to the Committees based on your consideration of the analysis, which could be directed towards the regulatory process of the Organization and a mechanism for review of specific outcomes from audits, as well as in relation to any identified need for capacity‑building or technical assistance. I welcome the analytical input by the Secretariat and I look forward to the outcome of the consideration of the methodology followed in this process, in particular, on the evaluation of the "appropriateness and effectiveness" of some of the regulations, and the recommendations for further support to the communication of information by Member States.

With regard to port State control matters, you will also give detailed consideration to the outcome of the seventh IMO Workshop for PSC MoU/Agreement Secretaries and Database Managers. I see this workshop, in its new format, as a unique platform to stimulate the harmonization of PSC activities and innovative thinking, from increased cooperation among PSC regimes and between them and the Organization, to the unquestionable benefit of all the Membership and the shipping industry.

Distinguished delegates,

Your core competency in casualty-related matters, illustrated again by the review of the analysis of 63 reports, intersessionally, will make you rethink the analyzing process to make it more efficient. The Organization is very thankful to Member States and organizations that make resources available in order to carry out the analysing process and I like to use this opportunity to indicate that the redevelopment of the GISIS reporting facilities, in general, and in particular, those on casualties, remain a priority. Jointly, we continuously have to aim at making GISIS more user-friendly and intuitive to facilitate the reporting by Member Governments. The Organization must also reinforce, extend and structure data collection processes in order to be able to identify, analyze and anticipate trends and potential maritime safety concerns, and to adequately inform the various on-going policy discussions. This objective is high on my agenda. During this session, you will consider a very initial stage of sampling of casualty-related data presented by the Secretariat, at the request of III 4, when considering illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing-related matters.

Still in relation with IUU, the Sub-Committee will be presented, as the custodian, de facto, of the process accompanying the preparation and holding of, and follow up to sessions of the Joint FAO/IMO Ad Hoc Working Group on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Related Matters (JWG), with the inventory of the actions to be taken by MEPC 72, MSC 99 and the secretariats of FAO, ILO and IMO. I strongly encourage an efficient and motivated follow up to the recommendations of JWG 3 and the preparation of JWG 4, possibly next year. All forms of cooperation between IMO and other UN bodies in areas of common interest, in particular, on matters related to the safety of fishing vessels and fishers and the protection of the marine environment, are paramount, and germane to support the entry into force of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on the Implementation of the Provisions of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol Relating to the 1977 International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels. The IMO core instrument on the safety of fishing vessels constitutes the indispensable corner stone of the comprehensive international legal framework, which has started getting assembled on the basis of the FAO Agreement on port State measures, the Work in fishing Convention of the ILO and the STCW‑F Convention.

Distinguished delegates,

I welcome the sustainability of working arrangements, allowing some established groups to start their work early on the first day of your meeting, as a commendable and efficient way for the Sub-Committee to accomplish its numerous tasks. Finally, I would like to extend my appreciation to your Chair, Vice-Admiral Jean-Luc Le Liboux from France, leading your work for the last time, before a well-deserved retirement. I wish him and your Sub-Committee, as a whole, every success this week, which we will be able to celebrate together on Thursday, on the occasion of the World Maritime day, under the theme of "IMO 70: Our heritage: better shipping for a better future".

Thank you.