The IMO Council held its 113th Session (C113) from Monday 1 through Thursday 4 December 2014. Members will recall that the Council is elected by the Assembly (comprising all the IMO Member States) for a two year term and is responsible to the Assembly for supervising the IMO’s work. The Council consists of 40 Member States in three categories:
1. 10 States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services;
2. 10 other States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade; and
3. 20 States other than (1) or (2) with a special interest in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council ensures representation of all major geographic interests of the world.
The C113 session was attended by representatives of the 40 Council Members together with a further 34 Member States . Added to this were those from 2 associate Member States, 6 observer delegations from inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) and 19 non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The Chairmen of 3 Committees and 1 Sub-Committee were also present.
The meeting was chaired by Mr J Lantz (USA) and his Vice Chair, Dr D Ntuli (SOUTH AFRICA) in consideration of 60 submissions. Points of most interest to InterManager members follow:
• STRATEGY, PLANNING AND REFORM. A fundamental review of the Strategic Plan carried out by the Strategic Management Institute (SMI) was presented by its President, Mr Brazukas. Having noted SMI’s recommendations, the Council decided in particular, that :
1. the Strategic Plan should be reviewed to ensure simplicity:
2. it should be fixed for a six-year period; and
3. a working group should be established, open to participation by all Member States, IGOs and NGOs in consideration of the SMI report. It will meet during the week before C114 and will also consider how best to structure the process for a new Strategic Plan.
With regard to the Review of the Performance Indicators (PIs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the Council decided to suspend future analysis and presentation of PIs and KPIs in the current Strategic Plan, and to apply methodologies of medium level complexity pending agreed new performance measures. The use of mandatory language, where appropriate, was endorsed by Council within the Guidelines on the Application of the Strategic Plan and the High Level Action Plan; such text will be consolidated intersessionally in a correspondence group under coordination by UK.
• RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. Human resource matters, budget considerations for 2014 and 2015, also an outline of implications relating to a results-based budget for 2016 – 2017 were presented by the Secretary-General. He assessed that Member States will see no increase in the financing of estimated budget resources on the basis of anticipated offsetting income. This takes into account Council’s endorsement of the Secretary-General’s proposal to bring forward to 2015 the project to replace the sound and simultaneous interpretation system in the Main Hall and in Committee Rooms 9 and 10.
• FAL 39 COMMITTEE REPORT CONSIDERATION. The Council endorsed 3 new outputs (suitably modified) for inclusion in the High-level Action Plan which are:
1. review of the international signs to provide guidance to persons at marine terminals;
2. guidelines on the facilitation aspects of protecting the maritime transport network from cyber-threats; and
3. consideration and analysis of reports on information regarding persons rescued at sea and stowaways.
The Council also noted the approval of amendments to the annex of the FAL Convention with a view to adoption during FAL40 and duly forwarded FAL 39’s report to the twenty-ninth regular session of the Assembly (A29).
• MEPC 67 COMMITTEE REPORT CONSIDERATION. The Council endorsed the holding of an intersessional meeting of the ESPH working group in September / October 2016. It also noted actions taken by MEPC on issues related to:
1. the Ballast Water Management Convention;
2. ship recycling;
3. air pollution and energy efficiency measures for ships, also progress made by the Ad Hoc Expert Working Group on Facilitation of Transfer of Technology for ships (AHEWG-TT);
4. further technical and operational measures for enhancing energy efficiency of international shipping;
5. reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions(GHG), in particular the approval of the Third IMO GHG Study 2014;
6. review of nitrogen and phosphorus removal standards in the 2012 Guidelines on the implementation of effluent standards and performance tests for STPs; and
7. the four thematic priorities relating to the protection of the marine environment for inclusion in the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) covering the 20116 – 2017 biennium which Council approved.
The Council also noted:
8. amendments to MARPOL Annexes I, III and VI adopted by MEPC;
9. MEPC’s approval of the environmental provisions in the draft Polar Code with associated draft MARPOL amendments to make the environmental part of the Code mandatory; and
10. actions taken by MEPC on the reports of relevant Sub-Committees;
11. the biennial status report of MEPC planned outputs for the 2014 – 2015 biennium;
12. the plan of meeting weeks for the 2016 – 2017 biennium; and
13. actions taken by MEPC in regards to application of MSC / MEPC Guidelines on the organisation and method of work.
The Council approved MPEC 67’s report and will forward it accordingly to A29.
• MSC 94 COMMITTEE REPORT CONSIDERATION. The Council endorsed:
1. the unplanned outputs agreed for inclusion in the High-level Action Plan and priorities for the 2014 – 2015 biennium; and
2. the intersessional meetings approved for 2015 and 2016.
The Council also noted:
3. MEPC adoption of amendments to SOLAS and a mandatory code, also resolutions related thereto;
4. MEPC adoption of a new chapter XIV to SOLAS and safety-related provisions of the new Polar Code, both of which are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2017;
5. ongoing work related to the development of national security legislation and discussion on measures to enhance cyber security;
6. the progress made on implementation of Global Based Standards (GBS) verification audits of the 13 recognised organisations which commenced in July 2013 and features 5 audit teams;
7. issues related to passenger ship safety, in particular the approval of a new unplanned output on computerised stability support for the Master in case of flooding;
8. arising from NCSR1, the approval to add an MSC 95 agenda item ‘Performance review and audit of LRIT Data Centres’ and similarly, the e-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP);
9. arising from III 1, actions taken, in particular those related to preparation for the third meeting of the Joint IMO / FAO Working Group on IUU Fishing and Related matters;
10. that all 3 UN organisations have approved the IMO / ILO / UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code);
11. the approval of draft amendments to SOLAS making the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code) mandatory;
12. the approval, in principle of the draft IGF Code for consideration at MSC 95 with a view of adoption in conjunction with the associated SOLAS and Protocol amendments;
13. the MEPC decisions taken in regard to piracy and armed robbery against ships;
14. the decisions taken in regard to notifications and circulation through GISIS for mandatory reporting requirements;
15. that MEPC had approved the ‘Guidance on drafting of amendments to SOLAS and related mandatory instruments’ for immediate use by its subsidiary bodies;
16. that there will be 21 planned meeting-weeks for the coming biennium; and
17. that MEPC agreed to the safety and security-related thematic priorities for the ITCP covering the 2016 – 2017 biennium.
The Council approved the report of MSC 94 which will now be forwarded to A29.
• PROTECTION OF VITAL SHIPPING LANES. The Council:
1. expressed appreciation to the littoral States of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore for the timely implementation of the various components of the Cooperative Mechanism in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore;
2. thanked all contributors to the Cooperative Mechanism and the Fund; and
3. invited continuing contributions to projects under the Mechanism and the Fund.
The Council also:
4. expressed concern for the number of attacks and boarding of ships in the Gulf of Guinea;
5. thanked all contributors to the IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund;
6. welcomed improvement in the piracy situation off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean whilst expressing concern over the continuing threat; and
7. also expressed its concern for the innocent Seafarers still in captivity.
• IMO RELATIONS WITH NGOs. The Council:
1. granted consultative status to the International Water Mist Association (IWMA); and
2. noted the amalgamation between ICS and ISF. Given their decision to operate under the ICS banner at IMO, ISF’s consultative status was withdrawn and the Assembly will be advised accordingly.
• WORLD MARITIME DAY. The 2014 event was well celebrated and thanks were expressed to the Government of MOROCCO for successfully hosting the parallel event in Tangier from 27 to 29 October 2014. Hosts for future parallel events are:
2015 – JAPAN
2016 – TURKEY
2017 – PANAMA
2018 – POLAND
2019 – COLOMBIA
In addition, SOUTH AFRICA has informally offered to host the parallel event in 2020 and the Islamic Republic of IRAN in 2021, subject to their formal offers being transmitted to the IMO Secretary-General.
• IMO MEMBER STATE AUDIT SCHEME. 86 Member States have volunteered for audit, representing 50% of the Membership. 71 audits have been conducted, which includes 63 Member States, 2 Associate Members, 5 dependent territories and a second audit of a Member State. However, no additional audit can be accommodated before the start of mandatory audits in 2016.
• FINAL REPORT OF THE AD HOC STEERING GROUP FOR REDUCING ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS (SG – RAR). The Chairman of SG – RAR introduced the final report of his group containing a set of recommendations, a selection of illustrative comments on reduction of administrative burdens and the general results of the process of the public consultation on the reduction of administrative requirements. The Council noted the general results of the public consultation and requested the Secretary-General to develop a draft Assembly resolution for further consideration by the Council at its next session to reflect the relevant outcomes of the consultation. The SG – RAR made 13 recommendations, 5 of which were related to e-solutions that could alleviate administrative burdens whilst others:
1. took account of the possible impact of an accumulation of administrative requirements;
2. took account of the possible indirect impact of non-mandatory instruments;
3. called on the Council to develop a draft Assembly resolution establishing a systematic approach to better regulation under its coordination;
4. suggested that any review of measures should take account of practical principles and criteria;
5. recommended that the Council considers amending the Guidelines on the application of the Strategic Plan and High-level Action Plan;
6. recommended, as a matter of priority, that the IMO establishes a fundamental vision and policy concerning its role and responsibility as host of an internationally trusted web-based information portal;
7. encouraged the responsible committees to review pertinent and administrative requirements with a view to introduce an electronic and unified ‘single window approach’ for multiple reporting; and
8. ensure that actions are taken to remind users of the reasoning for introducing the ISPS Code.
The Council approved the report of the Ad Hoc SG – RAR in general and expressed its sincere appreciation to the Steering Group led so ably by Mr Kees Polderman (NL) for their work and to all who took part in the public consultation.
• STATUS OF CONVENTIONS AND OTHER RELEVANT MULTI-LATERAL INSTRUMENTS. The Council welcomed the news that the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention, which has met its entry-into-force requirements, will come into force on 14 April 2015. Governments were encouraged to ratify, in particular, the 2004 Ballast Water Management Convention, the 2009 Hong Kong Ship Recycling Convention, the 2010 HNS Protocol and the 2012 Cape Town Agreement.
• CONTRACT OF THE IMO SECRETARY GENERAL. Mr Sekimizu informed the Council that he has decided, for personal reasons, not to seek re-appointment when his contract expires on 31 December 2015. The Secretary-General will therefore now issue a Note Verbale to this effect and applications from candidates for the vacancy will be invited, to reach IMO by 31 March 2015. All 40 Council Members registered their professional regrets at the news but expressed support, understanding and admiration of the Secretary-General’s selfless decision.
• PLACE, DATE AND DURATION OF NEXT SESSION OF THE COUNCIL. The Council agreed that its 114th session will be held at the IMO Headquarters from 29 June to 3 July 2015. Budgetary provision will be made for ten Plenary sessions with full interpretation.
Captain Paddy McKnight END