Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 90th session, 16 to 25 May 2012

Closing remarks


Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates and observers,
As we are approaching the end of another, very fruitful MSC session, first and foremost, I commend the Committee for its successful conclusion of the High-Level Segment relating to Arms on Board in the piracy high-risk area. 
I was very pleased with the level of participation.  Among those that spoke during the High-level Segment were seven Ministers/Secretaries of State (including Under-Secretaries, Vice-Ministers, etc.); a Representative of the UN Secretary-General; five Ambassadors; a High Commissioner; and other numerous senior representatives.
They provided the views of flag States, port and coastal States, and States providing seafarers.  The High-level policy statements provided a number of issues directly related to this important debate and provided a basis and framework on which the Committee and working groups were able to proceed with the development of interim guidance for private maritime security companies.
I appreciate the efforts of all those that arranged, prepared for and contributed to the successful holding of the first-ever High-Level Segment of the Maritime Safety Committee in the history of IMO.
As far as passenger ship safety is concerned, I appreciate your unanimous support  to my initiatives to ensure that the Organization takes appropriate and timely action in response to the loss of the Costa Concordia.
To this end, I commend your actions:
• identification of immediate measures of an operational nature, including the adoption of an MSC circular recommending early implementation of these operational measures in the wake of the Costa Concordia accident;
• adoption of an MSC resolution encouraging Member States and the passenger ship industry to take the necessary actions to ensure that their current safety standards and procedures are fully and effectively implemented;
• agreement on an action plan for the long-term work on passenger ship safety, which will be further updated at MSC 91 pending the submission of the official casualty investigation report on the Costa Concordia.
With these results, I believe that the Committee demonstrated that IMO is the right international body to deal with safety standards for ships and that IMO can take swift action.
Apart from these two important agenda items dealing with piracy and passenger ship safety, the Committee was functioning well under the leadership of the new Chairman and the Secretary, covering all substantial issues and took decision on its work programmes.

Mr. Chairman,

It is customary at this stage of the week to pay tribute to delegates and observers who have left or are about to leave, for a variety of reasons.  In saying our farewells, we thank them sincerely for their valuable contribution to the work of the Committee and IMO and wish them well.  I wish to mention, in particular:

- Captain Valentin Ruz Rodriguez (Argentina) on return home;
- Commander Roberto Annichini (Argentina) on return home;
- Capt. Douglas Bell (Bahamas) on his retirement;
- Captain Hadi Supriyono (Indonesia) on return home;
- Captain Ada Lorena Dimas Rodríguez (Mexico) on return;
- Jean-Louis Bissuel (Monaco) on his retirement;
- Mr. Kees Polderman (Netherlands) on his retirement;
- Mr. Sigurd Gude (Norway) on his retirement;
- Mr. Per Nordstrom (Sweden) on his retirement;
- Vice Admiral Alexandros Maratos (IHO) on his retirement;
- Captain Hugo Gorziglia (IHO) on his retirement; and
-  Mr. Steve Shipman (IHO) on his retirement.
On a sad note, I wish to record, with great sadness, the passing away of Capt. Norman Lemley.
We are at a waypoint of shift of the generations.  All those who created, developed and maintained our excellent system of international mechanisms to deal with safety and environmental protection here at IMO are giving way for young generations to carry the torch and proceed towards the future.
The future belongs to new colleagues in the younger generation, and I am sure that they will meet new challenges, take leadership and flourish bringing new ideas, while still respecting our strong tradition that is: co-operation, consultation, understanding and the value of IMO where international standards are developed through consensus among all involved. 
Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for all those who I mentioned for their tremendous contributions provided, over the years, to the work of IMO and wish them all the best for their retirement and future endeavours.
Mr. Chairman,
This has, again, been a very demanding session and I wish to pay a special tribute to you, for the diligent and confident way in which you have discharged your responsibilities in your quiet, patient and diplomatic manner and a sense of humour, yet with the determination of a strong leader.  You have introduced some new ways of working, which have been successful in making best use of your Committee’s limited time.   Even though this was the first time you were chairing the Committee, you have been successful in achieving consensus in all of the Committee’s decisions, no matter how complex, difficult or sensitive the issues involved.  Your skill and stamina in directing this prestigious and demanding body of the Organization are highly commendable indeed.
Distinguished delegates,
In concluding, I thank and congratulate all of you on your achievements and extend sincere thanks to the officers of the Committee’s subsidiary bodies; to the chairmen of the working and drafting groups established this week, namely, Capt. Segar of Singapore (Vice-Chairman), Mr. Sirkar of the United States; Mr. Yoshida of Japan; Mr. Dominguez of Panama; and Dr. Belcher of the Bahamas; and, of course, to the coordinators of the various correspondence groups that have reported to this session.
Last but not least, my special thanks go to all the dedicated staff of the Maritime Safety Division led by the Assistant Secretary General and Director, Mr. Winbow, who was ably assisted by Mr. Hesse, Mr. Barchue, Mr. Westwood-Booth, Mr. Trelawny and Mr. Mahapatra and their staffs, for their truly excellent and highly professional work – and to all the staff of the Conference Division,  including the interpreters, the translators and colleagues in the Conference and Documents Sections, ably supervised by the Division’s Director, Mrs. Olga O’Neil, as well as our colleagues in the Marine Environment Division and the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division.  All of them work long hours and, together with many officers from other Divisions, serve the needs of the membership tirelessly and to the high standard required.
It now remains for me to wish you all a nice weekend – and to those who have to travel home a safe journey.   
Thank you.