To remind, Cape Town Agreement was adopted by a Diplomatic Conference, under the auspices of the IMO and provides standards on the design, construction and equipment of fishing vessels and includes regulations designed to protect the safety of crews and observers, and provide a level playing field for the industry.

The treaty will enter into force 12 months after at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over operating on the high seas have expressed their consent to be bound by it.

As of today, the following 14 Member States have ratified the Agreement. IMO's comprehensive efforts to bring the Agreement into force is ongoing, in cooperation with other international agencies, Member States and non-governmental organizations. IMO noted.

Specifically, the 14 Member States which have ratified the Agreement until now, are the following:

  1. Belgium
  2. Cook Islands
  3. Congo
  4. Denmark
  5. Finland
  6. France
  7. Germany
  8. Iceland
  9. Netherlands
  10. Norway
  11. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  12. Sao Tome and Principe
  13. South Africa
  14. Spain

Furthermore, the Agreement addresses fishing vessel construction, stability and associated seaworthiness, electrical installations and machinery, communications equipment, fire protection and life-saving appliances.

General overview of the safety regulations in the Agreement:

  • The fishing vessels are surveyed on a regular basis by the flag State authorities. Port State authorities will also have an opportunity to survey fishing vessels that are flying foreign flags calling at their ports.
  • Life-saving appliances, radio installations, structure, machinery and equipment shall be inspected before it is put into service and at intervals not exceeding five years.
  • Details of the surveys shall be made available in an International Fishing Vessel Safety Certificate.
  • If a vessel has been exempted, its operator shall complete an exemption certificate and make it available on board for examination at all times. Certificates can be examined and accepted by any party to the Agreement.
  • Vessels shall remain watertight, weathertight, strong, and stable, even under adverse conditions, such as ice and extreme weather.
  • Life-saving appliances shall be available and sufficient at all times, and adequate emergency procedures shall be in place.
  • Vessels shall have regular drills that include all crew and observers.
  • Vessels shall be fitted with radio-communications equipment,capable of transmitting and receiving search and rescue information, distress signals, and all other relevant communications.
  • Vessels also shall be able to safely navigate and signal.

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