Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments, III 6, 1-5 July (opening remarks)

(1 to 5 July 2019)

Good morning, distinguished delegates, I am very pleased to welcome you to the sixth 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. I wish the new Chair, Ms. Claudia Grant of Jamaica, every success on chairing this important Sub-Committee for the first time.

The work of this Sub-Committee is very important in providing the space to foster data-driven decision making. I would invite your Sub-Committee to consider putting forward to the committees and all IMO bodies, a robust strategy on the wider collection and utilization of casualty data statistics and on data analysis. This would provide the backbone of policy development, providing input for the work of other IMO bodies.

The mandate and the expertise represented in this room make this Sub-Committee the ideal platform to assess, analyse and share the various sets of data currently available to the Organization, be it casualty, IMSAS, PSC, or port reception facilities, to list a few. I trust that with the support of the IMO Secretariat, we can advance such initiatives.

Distinguished delegates,      

Let me highlight some on the main agenda items of this session.

As part of your continuous work in areas such as survey and certification and port State control (PSC), you will finalize the preparation of 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 later this year. In addition, you will also finalize the preparation of a draft Assembly resolution on Guidance on communication of information by Member States, in the context of the follow-up to the analysis of consolidated audit summary reports.

We are fast approaching 1 January 2020, when the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships will be reduced to 0.50%. This is another very positive step taken by the maritime sector for the benefit of the environment and human health.

Later, in March 2020, amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, prohibiting the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board ships will enter into force. The ten PSC regimes are entrusted by all Member States to actively contribute to achieving full compliance with these new international standards, in full partnership with flag States and the industry. I see this session as an opportunity for all stakeholders to consider the implementation of the global sulphur limit requirements, in particular, using the relevant set of guidelines developed by MEPC 74 + MSC 101.

Distinguished delegates,

Regarding casualties, the Secretariat estimates that the reporting rate on the investigation of very serious casualties is slightly over 50%. Whilst the overall trend provides a positive image of the safety of maritime transport and the prevention of pollution, as the number of serious casualties have decreased over the years, I am confident that more could be achieved by the Organization regarding the identification of trends in casualties, based on a comprehensive compilation of casualty-related data and the review of data collection mechanisms.

Your expertise in casualty-related matters has been demonstrated again by the review and analysis of 27 investigation reports. IMO is very grateful to Member States and NGOs that make resources available in order to carry out the analysis and I would reiterate my invitation to individual Member States to contribute in establishing data transfer facilities to improve the reporting rate of incidents and investigations. With regard to the redevelopment of the casualty-related GISIS reporting facilities, I am aware there have been challenges in this process and I assure you that the Secretariat is doing its utmost to ensure the finalization of the GISIS module as soon as possible.

I would also like to take this opportunity to urge Member States to strengthen the reporting on the inadequacy of port reception facilities, in the GISIS Port Reception Facilities Module. This data has proven to be very useful to progress IMO's policy discussions on reducing pollution caused by marine plastic litter from ships, notably in support of the actions contained in resolution MEPC.310(73) on Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships.

Distinguished delegates

The harmonization of PSC activities is essential in ensuring that shipping remains efficient and sustainable. In this regard, you will be invited to provide input for the preparation of the next workshop for PSC MoU/Agreement Secretaries and Database Managers, also attended by Chairs of the PSC Committees.  

Following MSC 101 and in anticipation of MEPC 75, I welcome the endorsement of the outcome of the analysis of the first consolidated audit summary report under IMSAS, including the process for providing feedback from audits to inform the regulatory work of the Organization and the further development of technical assistance. Your discussions at this session will set the groundwork for a more in-depth consideration of IMSAS-related matters during III 7, with the analysis of additional consolidated audit summary reports and the proposal for the development of further guidance for Member States.

Turning to the approval by the Committees 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 wish to reiterate my belief that this is a non-binding but powerful tool to support Member States in monitoring the authorization granted by them to recognized organizations. I am confident that you will be able to finalize this task in due time.

Distinguished delegates,

I would like to express my strong belief that the forthcoming Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and IUU Fishing, in Torremolinos, Spain, followed by the fourth session of the Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Ad Hoc Working Group on IUU fishing and related matters, will provide an excellent opportunity to spur the entry into force of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement by the tenth anniversary of its adoption on 11 October 2022. I thank the Government of Spain for organizing the Conference, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Pew Charitable Trusts for their support. Once again, I would like to urge all Member States, IGOs, and NGOs to participate in this important conference.

Distinguished delegates,

The participation of women in the economy, political decision-making and society at large is key to addressing maritime challenges, but gender equality in the maritime sector is an issue too often overlooked. That is why this year's World Maritime Day theme "Empowering women in the maritime community" is an important recognition of the professional contribution of women to the maritime industry.  The maritime sector needs "all hands on deck", both male and female, if it is to take on the challenges of carrying the world's goods in an efficient, safe and clean manner.

This year's World Maritime Day will be celebrated at IMO Headquarters on 26 September, and the annual parallel event will be organized by the Government of Colombia in Cartagena, from 15 to 17 September. I look forward to your participation in these events.

I leave you in the capable leadership of your new Chair, Ms. Claudia Grant, from Jamaica, and the Vice-Chair, Mr. Marek Rauk from Estonia. I wish them and your Sub-Committee every success this week.

Finally, as is customary, all of you are cordially invited to a cocktail reception, which I will host in the Delegates' Lounge this evening after the closure of today's session.

Thank you.