Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE 9), 27 February-3 March 2023 (opening remarks)

Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE 9), 27 February-3 March 2023 (opening remarks)


(27 February to 3 March 2023)

Excellencies, distinguished delegates and observers,

I am very pleased to welcome you all to the ninth session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment.

Distinguished delegates,

As we marked one year since the beginning of the military conflict in Ukraine last Friday, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the victims of the conflict, and I strongly wish this situation to be resolved peacefully as soon as possible.

I remain deeply concerned about the ships and most importantly the seafarers that remain stranded in Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov since 24 February 2022. 

In the last 12 months, IMO has made immense efforts and provided extensive support towards the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

I am actively pursuing, in close collaboration with the relevant Member States, all avenues to facilitate negotiations with the key stakeholders in the region and remain hopeful that with this enduring will for cooperation and communication, we will be able to facilitate the safe departure of the remaining ships and seafarers as soon as possible.

Distinguished delegates,

On behalf of the IMO membership, and the Secretariat, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic in respect of the earthquake that happened on 6 February 2023 and has caused the loss of so many lives and severe damage to infrastructure.

I would also like to commend all those involved in the search and rescue operations and the provision of critical supplies and medical facilities, including those from the international community.

As part of the UN family, IMO and its membership stand ready to support these efforts and join the call of the UN Secretary-General Guterres to provide funds to facilitate the emergency relief, food, medical supplies, thermal blankets and other life-saving items to the affected areas.

Therefore, we have launched an Appeal for Funds and a mechanism to facilitate donations on behalf of the IMO family. The funding appeal will commence today and will be open for four weeks until 27 March 2023. Subsequently, the donations collected will be sent to the to the United Nations Secretariat fund to support efforts providing experts, emergency relief, food, medical supplies and other life-saving items.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Maritime Attachés and Representatives Club and our IMO Staff Association for encouraging and support this initiative, as well as their offer to contribute to the fund.

Details with the bank account for the donations will be published in a Circular letter No.4696 and have just been made public in a J-paper for SSE 9.

In addition, we have set up a condolence book in the delegates' lounge.

I am certain that the IMO family will be very generous, and we will be able to transfer a considerable amount to support the UN efforts.

Mrs. Mandana Mansoorian

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Mrs. Mandana Mansoorian, who represented the Islamic Republic of Iran at IMO, as Deputy Permanent Representative, since 2015.

Mandana was known to all of us as a great friend. Over the years, her considerate responses, dedication, good collaboration, and constructive approach have been a source of inspiration to many and to me, personally. Mandana was committed to the ideals of the Organization and to raising the profile of IMO, its regulatory work and its many different projects.

Mandana was very active in her IMO duties, ably representing her country and in her excellent work as the Vice-Chair of the Technical Cooperation Committee.

Mandana was a great advocate for capacity-building. She actively represented her country at many events, voicing her support for capacity building in panel discussions and roundtables.

I convey my deepest condolences, and those of the entire IMO family, to Mandana's family, to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and to her colleagues and friends. 

We have lost a true friend of IMO. And I would like to honour her with a minute of silence.

[one minute of silence]


Distinguished delegates,

Let me now turn back to the meeting today.

As most of you may be aware by now, this year's World Maritime theme is "MARPOL at 50 - Our commitment goes on". The theme will provide the opportunity for the maritime community to highlight the relevance and importance of the MARPOL treaty now and into the future.

It reflects the Organization's long history of protecting the environment from the impact of shipping via a robust regulatory framework and emphasizes our ongoing commitment to address climate change issues. 

It goes without saying that only safe ships with suitable systems and equipment, including life-saving appliances and fire-fighting equipment, can deliver the desired level of compliance with MARPOL. This means that your Sub-Committee also has a major role to play in terms of achieving safety and, therefore, environmental protection.

Distinguished delegates,

Let me now turn to some of the important items on the agenda for this session.

Your Sub-Committee has, as usual, a busy agenda. You are meeting in-person meeting for the first item since the pandemic and consequently, you will have more working hours available, I hope this will make it possible to complete work on some important items.

I am hopeful that the review of SOLAS chapter II-2 and associated codes to minimize the incidence and consequences of fires on board ro-ro passenger ship fires will be finalized at this session. While I understand that some challenges remain for which solutions need to be found, I am confident that these issues can be solved  so that the relevant amendments can enter into force in a timely manner.

And of course, there are many other items that are scheduled to be finalized at this session.

I am sure that, with the usual spirit of cooperation, you will successfully conclude your work on several matters on this session's agenda, so that these new items can be taken up soon at future sessions.

Distinguished delegates,

I am confident that, with the customary IMO spirit of cooperation and under the capable leadership of your experienced Chair, Mr. Umut Shenturk of Türkiye, supported by the Vice-Chair, Mr. Cristiano Aliperta of Palau, as well as the staff of the Maritime Safety Division, you will engage in constructive discussions and reach agreement on the matters before you at this ninth session of your Sub Committee.

My best wishes for a productive session and I invite you all to join me and the Secretariat for a welcome reception in the Delegates' Lounge after the close of today's business.

Thank you.