Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW 9), 6-10 February 2023 (closing remarks)


Delivered by Heike Deggim, Director, Maritime Safety Division, IMO

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates and observers,

We have come to the end of another very busy session of the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping. Having returned to in-person meetings, you have once again achieved important accomplishments. I am sure you will all agree with me that seeing each other face to face has certainly helped facilitating the important discussions you have had throughout the week.

In the interest of time, I will only highlight some of the most important achievements and these are:

  • the completion of the comprehensive review of the 1995 STCW-F Convention and the development of an associated new Code. This work is especially timely with regards to the  Cape Town Agreement which may enter into force in the near future;
  • the finalization of draft guidelines on the medical examination of fishing vessel personnel, for final consideration by the joint ILO/IMO working group;
  • the finalization of draft amendments to table A-VI/1-4 of the STCW Code on prevention and response to bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment;
  • agreement on the aims and principles that will lay the groundwork for the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code; and
  • the validation of 10 model courses.

All these achievements would not have been possible without the active involvement and spirit of cooperation from all of you, the delegates, and I would like to thank you for your continuous collaboration and support to the work of the Organization.

My most sincere appreciation goes to your Chair, Mr. Haakon Storhaug of Norway. Mr. Chair, despite the ambitious targets and most challenging issues you had to deal with during this session, you once again demonstrated outstanding decision-making skills and excellent leadership in steering the affairs of the Sub‑Committee with diplomacy and serenity to great success.

I would also like to thank your Vice-Chair, Mr. Rafael Cigarruista of Panama, for his support.

My thanks also go to the Chairs of the working and drafting groups which convened during this session, in particular Capt. Zheng Yi of Singapore, Mr. Luke Harden of the United States, Mr. Ari Gudmundsson of Pew and Capt. Vinayak Mohla of GlobalMET, who ensured a successful outcome of their respective groups.

As always, this is also an opportune moment to thank those delegates and experts who may be leaving us and for whom this is the last session of the Sub-Committee they are attending. In particular, I would like to bid farewell to Capt. George Quick, who has attended his last meeting in IMO. Capt. Quick attended his first meeting of the Organization in 1974, contributing during nearly 50 years to making the Organization better and more effective. On behalf of IMO, the Secretariat, and all of the delegations, thank you Capt. Quick for your years of dedicated, committed and extremely effective service to this Organization and to seafarers around the world.

Let me conclude by thanking the team of the Maritime Safety Division for their efforts and dedication, in particular the co-Secretaries of your Sub-Committee, Mr. Jongchul Park and Mr. Ismael Cobos. My thanks go also to all the staff in the Conference Division, including Meeting Services and the Translation and Document Sections. The Department of Information Technology also deserves appreciation for their services, and of course special thanks, as always, go to the interpreters for facilitating our communication.

Distinguished delegates,

Now it is time to put the work aside and take a well‑deserved rest. It only remains for me to wish you all a nice weekend and to those who are returning home, a safe journey. I am looking forward to seeing many of you again at the upcoming meetings where we will continue considering important matters that will determine the future of this Organization and shipping.

Thank you.