Amid COVID-19 pandemic, IMO has postponed several of its future meetings, in order to be in line with the World Health Organization and the UK Government guidance concerning planning and hosting.
At the moment, there is no schedule for future meetings. Despite the postponements, IMO has also retained the original deadlines for submitting papers.
In light of the crisis situation, IMO has postponed the following meetings:
- The 75th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC75) was originally scheduled to take place at the end of March 2020. The MEPC deals with pertinent topics related to marine environment. The committee adopts new regulations and amends existing regulations.
- The 102nd session of the Marine Safety Committee (MSC 102) was originally scheduled to take place in May. The MSC is a committee where topics related to safety and security of ships and seafarers are regulated.
- Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, originally scheduled from 23 to 27 March 2020 has been postponed but is prioritised due to the importance of advancing the development of short-term GHG measures.
- Facilitation committee 44 (FAL 44), and the IMO Expert Group on Data Harmonization, which were originally scheduled to be held in April, are going to discuss the digitalisation aspect of data exchange and how to increase the efficiency of ship-shore communications.
For the records, a revised program has not yet been published as it is still impossible to predict whether physical meetings will be allowed to take place.
Although, IMO considers every possible option so as to manage the logistical challenge of accommodating all the postponed meetings.
A priority list has been drawn up and will be considered by the thirty-second extraordinary session of the IMO Council, which is meeting by correspondence from May-July 2020.
We expect that priority will be given to a regular session of the IMO Council, followed by meetings of the MEPC preceded by the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships and followed by MSC and FAL.
…as BIMCO noted.
Concluding, sub-committees that have had their meetings postponed are likely to have their work postponed by up to a year. As papers have already been submitted, IMO will have to follow normal procedure that allows a discussion on submissions.