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IMO Assembly adopts vision and strategic directions

The 30th Assembly of IMO met in London at IMO Headquarters from 27th November to 6th December 2017. It was attended by some 1,400 participants, including 56 at the ministerial level, from 165 Member States, as well as observers from inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations and from the World Maritime University (WMU), the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI).

The Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session. It is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organization. It also elects the Organization’s 40-Member Council.

The Assembly adopted its strategic plan for 2018-2023, including a revised mission statement, a vision statement (included for the first time) and seven newly-identified strategic directions for IMO, placing the Organization firmly on route to supporting the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Assembly adopted 21 resolutions, including three which focus on IMO’s capacity-building work to support the implementation of the SDGs.

The Assembly endorsed the decision of the IMO Council to strongly condemn recent missile launches by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which posed clear and serious danger to the safety of shipping in international trade.

Focus on marine plastic pollution

The Assembly recognized that the ongoing problem of marine plastic pollution required further consideration as part of a global solution within the framework of ocean governance. This is in line with the goal to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution by 2025.

The Assembly recognized the role that the Organization has and continues to play in addressing this problem. The Assembly encouraged Member States, Parties to MARPOL Annex V and international organizations to submit concrete proposals to the next sessions of the Marine Environment Protection Committee and the meeting of the Parties to the London Convention and Protocol which meet during 2018.

Polar code second phase welcomed

The IMO Assembly welcomed the planned work within the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to build on the already-adopted Polar Code and move forwards with looking at how vessels not currently covered by its requirements might be regulated in future.

The Polar Code, which entered into force on 1 January 2017 under both the SOLAS and MARPOL treaties, provides additional requirements for safe ship operation in polar waters and the protection of the polar environment.

The work on the second phase, to address other vessels, including fishing vessels and smaller ships not covered by the SOLAS treaty, will be initiated at MSC 99 in May 2018.

IMO number scheme extended to fishing vessels and other vessels 

The Assembly agreed to extend the IMO Ship Identification Number Scheme to more vessels, on a voluntary basis, to support ship safety and pollution prevention by being able to more easily identify vessels.

The number scheme applies to ships over 100 GT and is mandatory for passenger ships of 100 gross tonnage and upwards and all cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards. In 2013, the Assembly agreed to voluntary extension to fishing vessels over 100 gt. Further voluntary application is now extended to fishing vessels of steel and non-steel hull construction; passenger ships of less than 100 gross tonnage, high-speed passenger craft and mobile drilling units, engaged on international voyages; and to all motorized inboard fishing vessels of less than 100 gross tonnage down to a size limit of 12 metres in length overall authorized to operate outside waters under national jurisdiction of the flag State.

Identifying and tracking fishing vessels operating at sea and being able to establish their ownership is an important part of ongoing work to tackle illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing. IMO is working closely with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as other stakeholders, to tackle IUU fishing. 

IMO is also encouraging States to ratify the Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety, to bring this important treaty into force. 

Port State Control – revised procedures adopted

Port State control plays a crucially important role as the second line of defence against sub-standard ships. The Assembly adopted revised Procedures for Port State Control. The resolution contains a comprehensive compilation of guidelines relevant to Port State Control. It updates the previous Procedures for PSC adopted in 2011 (resolution A.1052(27)). The revisions include, in particular, guidelines on the ISM Code; the certification of seafarers, hours of rest and manning; and procedures regarding voluntary early implementation of amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and related mandatory instruments.

Ratification of 2010 HNS Protocol urged

The Assembly adopted a resolution calling on States to consider ratifying a key treaty which will provide a global regime for liability and compensation in the event of an incident involving the international or domestic carriage by sea of Hazardous and Noxious Substances, such as chemicals, LPG and LNG. 

The resolution calls on States to consider ratifying, or acceding to, the 2010 HNS Protocol and to implement it in a timely manner. It also urges all States to work together towards the implementation and entry into force of the 2010 HNS Protocol by sharing best practices, and in resolving any practical difficulties in setting up the new regime.

Delegating the authority of issuing certificates of insurance

The Assembly adopted a resolution to allow for the delegation of authority to issue certificates of insurance under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (the 1992 Civil Liability Convention) and the 2010 HNS Convention.

Unlike the Bunkers Convention 2001, the 2002 Athens Convention and the 2007 Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention, the 1992 Civil Liability Convention and the 2010 HNS Convention do not provide an explicit framework for the delegation of authority to issue certificates of insurance.

The resolution confirms that a State Party to the 1992 Civil Liability Convention or the 2010 HNS Convention can authorize an institution or an organization recognized by it to issue the certificates of insurance or other financial security required by these Conventions.

It also  reminds States Parties that the delegation of authority to issue the certificates of insurance or other financial security required by the 1992 Civil Liability Convention and the 2010 HNS Convention would not affect the potential liability the delegating State may have in relation to those certificates.


Source: www.imo.org