112th Session, 16-19 June 2014

The IMO Council held its 112th Session (C112) from Monday 16 through Thursday 19 June 2014 under the Chairmanship of Mr J Lantz (USA) and his Vice Chair, Dr D Ntuli (SOUTH AFRICA). It will be recalled that the IMO Assembly (of all its 170 Member States) met at the end of last year and elected 40 of its constituent Member States to effectively act as its executive body until it assembles again in the customary 4 year cycle. The meeting was thus a first for the newly elected Council and much of what was discussed centred around the governance and good practices of the IMO under its Secretary-General, Mr Koji Sekimizu. Such minute detail will be of lesser interest to InterManager members but this short report seeks to highlight those areas which impinge more directly on our business, in particular, recommendations made by the various Committees to the Council.

Strategy, Planning and Reform

The Risk Management Framework proposed by Germany, will only be applied to the Secretariat's Business Plan until such time as the Council agrees to revisit the issue. A fundamental review of the Strategic Plan will be conducted by an external consultant as proposed and financed by Canada under terms of reference agreed by Council. A correspondence group, co-ordinated by UK, was set up to examine proposed changes in respect of the Strategic Plan and the High-level Action Plan of the Organisation. The Secretary General undertook to keep Council informed of progress on the IMO website regarding the use of languages other than English and on sub-committee consolidation.

IMO Member State Audit Scheme

It was noted that 84 Member States have so far volunteered for audit, representing 50% of IMO membership; 67 audits have been conducted which included 59 Member States, 2 Associate Members, five dependent territories and a second audit of a Member State. The current voluntary status of the Audit Scheme will become mandatory in 2016 and in advance, the Council decided that of 3 options presented for composition of audit teams, 2 auditors would come from the Member State and 1 from the Secretariat, the latter adding consistency in the general conduct of such audits. .

Report of the Marine Environment Protection Committee

The Council noted:

1. The adoption of amendments to mandatory instruments

These included MARPOL (to make use of the III Code mandatory); the BCH Code; the IBC Code and the NOx Technical Code 2008.

2. Harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water.

Concerns expressed by the industry pertaining to the Guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems (G8) and other matters related to the implementation of the BWM Convention. The Secretariat will, as requested, explore the possibility of conducting a study on the ballast water performance standard described in regulation D-2.

The revised 'Methodology for information gathering and conduct of work' of the GESAMP-BWWG on Guidance on entry or re-entry of ships into exclusive operation within waters under the jurisdiction of a single party.

The total number of type-approved ballast water systems currently standing at 42.

As at 24 April 2014, there were 39 Contracting States of the 2004 BWM Convention representing 30.24% of the world fleet gross tonnage. However, Turkey, Japan and Italy (also Argentina more recently) have indicated that they expect to ratify the Convention shortly. This additional tonnage of 3.95% would result in a total of 34.2%GT, still short of, but very close to, the required 35% for entry into force.

Recycling of Ships

Progress made on the development of threshold values for hazardous materials to be listed in the Inventories of Hazardous Materials (IHM) for which the intersessional correspondence group has been re-established.

Air pollution and energy efficiency

The significant progress achieved with regard to Guidelines on the Approved Method process, standard specification for shipboard incinerators and improved calculation of EEDI for new ships. Agreement made by MEPC to develop possible quality control measures prior to fuel oil being delivered to a ship.

Re-establishment of the CG on the assessment of availability of fuel oil required under regulation 14.8 of MARPOL Annex VI and development of a methodology to determine compliance with the standard set out in regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI. Establishment of an Ad Hoc Expert WG on Facilitation of Transfer of Technology for ships (AHEWG-TT) which will report to MEPC 67

Reduction of GHG emissions from ships

The third IMO Update Study for the GHG Emissions Estimate for International Shipping which is expected to be completed in time for consideration at MEPC 67.

HNS Incidents

Publication of a Manual on chemical pollution to address legal and administrative aspects through the IMO Publishing Service.

Inadequacy of reception facilities

Approval of MEPC.1/Circ.834 which consolidates five preceding circulars related to port reception facilities into one instrument giving guidance to providers and users alike.

Reports of sub-committees

(1) STW 44. Approval of draft MSC-MEPC Circulars on Safety Management Certificates (due to lay-up) and safety when transferring persons at sea.

(2) DSC 18. Approval of consequential amendments to MARPOL Annex III in relation to the IMDG Code latest amendments.

(3) PPR 1. Endorsement of:

a) the evaluation of new products for inclusion in list 1 of the associated circular on categorisation of liquid substances;

b) the evaluation of trade-named mixtures presenting safety hazards for inclusion in list 2;

c) the evaluation of cargo tank cleaning additives found to meet the requirements of regulation 13.5.2 of MARPOL Annex II;

d) new text in Annex 10 of the MEPC.2 circular providing clarification on the use of cleaning products; and

e) approval of the draft MSC-MEPC circular on products requiring oxygen dependent inhibitors subject to concurrent approval by MSC 93.

(4) SDC 1. In respect of the development of a mandatory Polar Code, the Council took decisions as follows:

a) that applicability of the relevant MARPOL Annexes should be extended to part 11-A of the draft code; that operational requirements should be applied to new and existing ships; and that exemptions should be considered for additional structural requirements;

b) agreed to delete the goals and functional requirements from part 11-A leaving each chapter in that part to consist of prescriptive requirements only;

c) agreed the need for provision of adequate reception facilities in Arctic waters, but that this would not constitute a condition for implementation of the code;

d) agreed that compliance with the Code should be reflected in existing certificates, manuals and record books;

e) agreed to modifications concerning the use of non-toxic biodegradable lubricants or water-based systems for lubricated components located outside the underwater hull; and

f) established a Polar Code Correspondence Group aimed at making the Code mandatory, reporting to MEPC 67.

(5) HTW. As no submissions have been received under this agenda item for two consecutive sessions, it will be struck from the MEPC agenda and HTW instructed to report future HE matters under the agenda item on Reports of Sub-Committees.

Report of the Legal Committee

The Council noted:

  1. the reconstitution of the HNS Correspondence Group to facilitate the entry into force of the 2010 HNS Protocol; and
  2. the Committee's approval of the Guidelines for accepting documentation from insurance companies, financial security providers and P&I Clubs in respect of the Bunkers Convention, CLC, HNS Convention and Nairobi WRC certificates. Parties to the 2010 HNS Convention cannot in their domestic law distinguish between shipowners from States which are party and those which are not party to the Convention, thus shipowners in the latter category can limit their liability in States which are party to it.

Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the Event of a Maritime Accident

Following the survey commissioned by ITF and IFSMA, conducted by Seafarers' Rights International (SFI) concerning the implementation of the MLC 2006 Guidelines, the Legal Committee encouraged States which had not yet done so to provide relevant information to the sponsors of the survey; it was suggested to make use of the IMO Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP). Further work by SFI will be reported to LEG 102.

Report of the Maritime Safety Committee

The Council noted:

  1. the adoption by MSC of amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and the mandatory codes and related resolutions, the amendments to the 1978 STCW Convention and STCW Code, the amendments to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol, and the approval / adoption of non-mandatory instruments;
  2. the progress made on the implementation of GBS verification audits, in particular that 13 recognised organisations (ROs) submitted requests for GBS verification audits at the end of 2013;
  3. the actions taken by the Committee on issues related to passenger ship safety and, in particular, the clarification provided regarding the status and purpose of the long-term action plan on passenger ship safety;
  4. the approval of the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code);
  5. the approval of the draft new SOLAS chapter XIV (to make the Polar Code mandatory), for circulation in accordance with SOLAS article VIII, with a view to adoption at MSC 94 in conjunction with the adoption of the Polar Code;
  6. the approval, in principle, of the draft International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, for consideration at MSC 94 with a view to adoption in conjunction with the associated SOLAS amendments;
  7. the decision taken to migrate the list of codes, recommendations, guidelines and other non-mandatory instruments finalised by the Committees (MSC 93/INF.2) into GISIS and that relevant IMO bodies have been invited, when developing a new instrument, to consider the consequential impact of its approval and/or adoption on existing non-mandatory instruments so that the above list can be kept updated;
  8. the Committee approved revisions to its' Guidelines on the organisation and method of work' (MSC-MEPC.1/Circ.4/Rev.2), subject to concurrent approval by MEPC 67, for dissemination as MSC-MEPC.1/Circ.4/Rev.3.

The Council further noted MSC's agreement to reinstate the four-yearly cycle of amendments to SOLAS, commencing 1 January 2016, with a corresponding entry-into-force date of 1 January 2020, and its adoption of interim guidance on the drafting of amendments to SOLAS and related mandatory instruments.

Finally, the Council noted with much concern the information provided by the delegations of ITALY, MALTA and the MARSHALL ISLANDS on the frequent occurrences of large numbers of people having to be rescued in the Mediterranean Sea and transported to places of safety.

World Maritime University

The Council expressed its deep appreciation to the Government of Sweden and the City of Malmö for their continuing generous support of the University. This appreciation was also extended to Dr Bjorn Kjerfve, the outgoing WMU President for his outstanding services and success in educating so many maritime leaders of the future. The Secretary-General of IMO, Mr Koji Sekimizu, was reappointed as Chancellor of WMU for the two-year period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2016.

IMO international Maritime Law Institute (IMLI)

The Council noted the oral report by the Secretary-General regarding the annual report of the IMLI Governing Board on this, its twenty-fifth year anniversary and duly expressed sincere congratulations. A new Statute of IMLI, adopted by the Council at its 110th session and effective from 1 July 2013, stipulates that the Secretary-General shall be ex-officio Chairman of the Governing Board thus no longer subject to re-appointment.

Protection of Shipping Lanes

The Council expressed appreciation to the littoral States of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore for the timely implementation of various components of the Cooperative Mechanism for the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Council also welcomed the improvements to the piracy situation off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean. Note was taken of a three-year training plan to assist Somali legal capacity building in relation to maritime crime and steps taken towards the establishment of a coastguard / maritime police, as were the legal aspects of PCASP, the continuing infrastructure, training and mentoring focus of UNODC's prison corrections work in Somalia, also detention and human rights in the counter-piracy context. Concern was expressed for the innocent seafarers still in captivity, estimated to be 50, as well as the number of attacks and boardings of ships in the Gulf of Guinea. There were 9 such attacks outside coastal jurisdiction in 2012 also in 2013 and meanwhile Member Governments were invited by the Council to continue contributing to the IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund whilst thanking Nigeria for its pledge in that respect.

World Maritime Day

The theme selected for the 2015 World Maritime Day is: "Maritime Education and Training". A parallel event for WMD 2014 will be held in Tangiers from 27 - 29 October whilst that for 2015 will be held in Japan and in 2016, Turkey.

International Maritime Prize

The 2013 prize will be awarded to Dr José Eusebio Salgado y Salgardo, nominated by Mexico.

IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea

The Council endorsed the decision of the Panel of Judges to bestow the 2014 award on Captain Andreas Kristensen and the crew of M/V BRITANNIA SEAWAYS (DENMARK) for the display of courage, professionalism and dedication in fighting, at great risk and danger to themselves, a raging fire on board their ship, saving the lives of 32 people and preventing further damage to the ship and cargo thus avoiding a major marine pollution incident. Certificates or Letters of Commendation will also be awarded to other nominees as appropriate at the Awards ceremony which will be held at IMO on 17 November 2014.

Status of Conventions and Other Instruments

The Council welcomed the news that:

  1. the Protocol of 2002 to the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea entered into force on 23 April 2014; and
  2. the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 has met its entry-into-force requirements and will come into force on 14 April 2015.

The 113th session of the Council will be held from 1 to 5 December 2014.

Source: InterManager