Tokyo MoU committee meeting, Vladivostok, Russian Federation

Tokyo MoU committee meeting, Vladivostok, Russian Federation

18 September 2017
Speech by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General
International Maritime Organization

The modern world we live in today would be impossible without a safe, secure, clean and efficient international shipping industry.

IMO regulations create the level playing field shipping needs to operate effectively. But, for IMO measures to be properly effective, certain things need to be in place: early entry into force, widespread ratification, effective implementation, stringent oversight of compliance and vigorous enforcement.

IMO may develop and adopt the regulatory framework for international shipping, but that is only the first link in a long safety chain – a chain that includes flag States, recognized organizations, the industry itself and, of course, Port State Control.

A chain needs all of its links to be strong. And Port State Control gets much of its strength from collaboration and harmonization. By working together and joining forces with IMO in your capacity as intergovernmental organizations and partners in data sharing, you collectively ensure that, through access to information, transparency and an inclusive approach to uniform and effective implementation, you help leave no hiding place for sub-standard shipping.

In this context, I would like to commend the Tokyo MoU for its leadership as a driving force of the Third Joint Ministerial Conference of the Paris and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding on Port State Control, which was held in Canada this year, and which I was pleased to attend.

Allow me also to commend the strong support given by the PSC regimes generally to IMO’s work to promote harmonization of PSC activities worldwide. This key issue will be an important topic for the IMO sub-committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments at the end of this month, when a working group is expected to finalize a draft Assembly resolution on Procedures for Port State Control, containing additional guidelines for Port State Control Officers. This will be submitted to the IMO Assembly in November for adoption.

PSC-related activities, as carried out by port States individually or as part of regional organizations, are essential as the second line of defence against non-compliance with international standards. The harmonization of such activities is paramount, and IMO’s III Sub-Committee is the appropriate forum for such harmonization and coordination to take place.

On a practical level, the regular workshops organised by IMO for the secretaries and database managers of the various PSC regimes around the world have provided another useful mechanism for sharing information and establishing a unified approach, and I am pleased that these are being revived, with the 7th such meeting taking place next month. These meetings both further enhance the harmonization and coordination of PSC activities among the regimes and help build capacity on an individual level.

The success of Port State Control also depends to a great degree on the skill, expertise and diligence of individuals – the human factor.

Training is therefore particularly important; and, in this context, I would like to express my appreciation for the extensive co-operation given for IMO’s programme of technical cooperation activities. The Secretariat often has occasion to call on experts from Member States of the Tokyo MoU to assist in training activities aimed at Port State Control Officer from less-developed states, and such requests are always met positively. It says a great deal about your commitment to raising standards generally, and for that I express my gratitude, and I look forward to increasing such cooperation.

For Port State Control officers, the challenges are continually changing and developing as new and more stringent regulations come into force, reflecting modern expectations regarding safety and environmental protection. The Ballast Water Convention and new regulations surrounding air pollution are obvious examples.

Port State Control regimes, and individual Port State Control Officers alike, are very well placed to consider themselves as being in the front line of effective implementation through enforcement. IMO is strongly in support of this role.

At the same time, it is possible that Port State Control regimes might not only play a role in implementation but also embrace advocacy and education about the outcomes of IMO’s regulatory processes. Certainly your strong regional roots, robust administrative structures and well-trained workforce on the ground would be a great advantage in this respect. I think this is something we should explore, going forward.

On our side, we are committed to continue helping to build PSC capacities and enhancing your ability to deliver an increasingly comprehensive and effective service – because even those conventions that command almost universal coverage of the global fleet, such as SOLAS and MARPOL, only have teeth if they are backed up by a proper implementation infrastructure, and Port State Control is a vital part of that.

Looking to the future, I have no doubt that Port State Control will remain absolutely vital if the objective of eliminating sub-standard shipping is to be achieved. IMO will continue to both initiate and support moves to strengthen Port State Control nationally, regionally and globally.

Ladies and gentlemen, your work, and that of Port State Control officers everywhere, is of great importance – to IMO, to shipping and to the billions of people all over the world who rely on shipping to safely deliver the things they need in their daily life.

I wish you every success with this important meeting.

Thank you.