Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III 4) 25-29 September 2017 (opening address)

(25 to 29 September 2017)

Good morning, distinguished delegates,

I am very pleased to welcome you to the fourth 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.

This is the last sub-committee meeting of this Assembly year and I hope that your presence here will help contribute to the completion of the important work carried out during this biennium by your parent bodies.

Before I begin my opening address, I wish to express my sincerest sympathy, compassion and condolences to the delegations of those countries affected, since the end of CCC 4, by natural disasters, in particular, earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons  and flooding in Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean sea, Vietnam, Japan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which sadly continued causing loss of life and significant damage to both property and the environment, and I appreciate the work of the national authorities and first responders, and their continued efforts to deal with the aftermath of these catastrophic series of events.

Before turning to the most important items on your agenda for this week, I wish to say a few words about this year’s World Maritime Day theme, which is "Connecting Ships, Ports and People".

On Thursday, the 28 of September we will be celebrating World Maritime Day here at IMO and around the world and the theme has been selected to build upon the theme of 2016, "Shipping: indispensable to the world". I believe that this theme has provided and will continue to provide, throughout the remainder of the year, a good opportunity to improve cooperation between ports and ships and help develop a closer partnership between the two sectors, with a view to improving safety, security, environmental protection and operational efficiency.

I will be hosting the usual World Maritime Day reception on Thursday at 1800 hours to which you are all invited to attend to jointly celebrate the success of the Organization with the diplomatic and shipping communities here in London.

Since you last met, fourteen months ago, the Marine Environment Protection Committee and the Maritime Safety Committee have held two sessions each. As agreed by these Committees, you will, during this current session, consider and finalize four draft resolutions for adoption by the Assembly at its forthcoming thirtieth session later this year. The prospect of the completion of this task illustrates the width and depth of your expertise in areas such as, survey and certification, casualties and port State control (PSC), addressing difficulties encountered by Member States in the implementation and enforcement of IMO instruments, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing-related matters, in cooperation with FAO and ILO, just to name a few.

Turning to specific issues on your agenda, I would single out the updating of the Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification, 2015, to incorporate aspects of the 2004 Ballast Water Management Convention, which entered into force on the 8th of this month, and continues to receive more accession by Member States. You will also be updating the Non-exhaustive list of obligations under instruments relevant to the IMO instruments implementation Code (III Code), which is a very useful tool to assist governments in the implementation of IMO instruments and in the audit of Member States.

This session’s heavy workload may only allow you to initiate your work on new output on the Review of the Model Agreement for the authorization of recognized organizations acting on behalf of the Administration, but the substantial material contained in documents submitted demonstrates the need to progress the work on this issue. I am confident that the existence of a Model Agreement, in line with the requirements of the RO Code, can be of important use to a vast number of flag Administrations.

With regard to port State control matters, you will have the report of the correspondence group containing a draft consolidated text of the revised Procedures for Port State Control, which you are expected to finalize for submission to A 30 for adoption. The revised Procedures covers a wide range of new guidelines, including those developed jointly with the HTW Sub-Committee on the certification of seafarers, hours of rest and manning.

On other PSC-related matters, you will be presented with the declaration adopted by the Third Joint Ministerial Conference of the Paris and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding on Port State Control, triggering, to a certain extent, the identification of some potential future directions in the harmonization of PSC activities. Because of the leading role of IMO in promoting the harmonization of PSC activities, elements of the declaration could be of value to enhancing the work of your Sub-Committee.

It is also worth noting that the need to bring awareness of our standards, as close as possible to the stakeholders, for  smooth and effective implementation can also benefit from PSC regimes activities, not only as enforcers, but also as advocates in promulgating the outcomes of IMO’s regulatory processes. Their strong and coherent regional roots, robust administrative structures and well-trained workforce on the ground, could also serve our common goals, under the “Shared Responsibility” advocated by my immediate predecessor.

The harmonization of PSC activities is paramount to shipping and, therefore, in line with the sharing of my vision of "A voyage together". In this regard, you will be presented with the arrangements for the Seventh IMO Workshop for PSC MoU/Agreement Secretaries and Database Managers, to be held at IMO from 24 to 26 October this year. I strongly hope that this opportunity to advance harmonization activities through this open forum will be used positively and sustainably.

Another item I wish to single out is Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Related Matters. In this connection, as instructed by the MSC and MEPC, you will give a detailed consideration to the outcome of the third session of the Joint FAO/IMO Ad Hoc Working Group on IUU Fishing and Related Matters (JWG 3).

In this context, you will also consider a draft Assembly resolution on the IMO Ship Identification Number Scheme for submission to A 30 for adoption, which would expand the scope of the scheme to further support the FAO Global Record of fishing vessels. The Organization should value all forms of cooperation between IMO and other UN bodies, in particular, FAO and ILO, in areas of common interest, especially, on matters related to the potential role of IMO on ocean governance in the fields of fishing vessel safety, the training of fishing vessel personnel and the protection of the marine environment from fishing. I am adamant that the Organization will see, in the not so distant future, 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, as it will be the cornerstone of a robust international legal framework, which will assist FAO and the ILO in the implementation of their own instruments.

Your unstoppable quest for an ever improving casualty analysis process also deserves praise and the Organization should be thankful to Member States and organizations that make resources available in order to carry out this important task.

IMO occupies a very significant and unique place for the collection of comprehensive marine casualty data, such as full investigation reports, which should be effectively used to identify trends and to support the rule-making process of the Organization in the effective application of risk-based methodology, such as Formal Safety Assessment (FSA). I particularly welcome, the progress made in the taxonomy of the module on marine casualties and incidents and the consideration of robust searching and extracting capabilities. You will also consider overall improvements of GISIS functionalities in several other modules, including the communication of information on early implementation of amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and related mandatory instruments.

Distinguished delegates,

I welcome your 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, Rear-Admiral Jean-Luc Le Liboux from France for accepting to step in, as the elected Vice-Chair for 2017, to occupy the vacant chair at this session. I wish him and your Sub-Committee, as a whole, every success this week, which we will be able to celebrate together on Thursday, at the occasion of the World Maritime day, under the theme of "Connecting Ships, Ports and People".

Thank you.