IMO COUNCIL, 120th SESSION 2 – 5 JULY 2018


The IMO Council held its 120th session (C120) from Monday 2 through Thursday 5 July 2018 chaired by Mr Xiaojie Zhang (CHINA) during which, Mr Edmundo Deville del Campo (PERU) was elected as the Vice-Chair of the Council by acclamation. The meeting focussed on issues of governance and good practice in addition to Strategy, Planning and Reform, Resource Management and Budget matters.  Following is a short report seeking to highlight items of most relevance to InterManager members:


CREDENTIALS.  The Secretary General reported that the credentials of all 40 Council delegations had been received and were in good order.  A further 37 Member States were present, together with 1 Associate Member, 6 Intergovernmental organisations, 26 Non-governmental organisations  and 1Training institute, the WMU.



STRATEGY, PLANNING AND REFORM.  The Council discussed a number of documents pertaining to this item in general and in particular :

1.     Noted the final assessment of the 2016-2017 Risk Management Exercise for the current biennium;

2.     Agreed on a drafting timeline for the 2018-2019 biennium, also that it could be further discussed at C 121;

3.     Agreed in principle that a performance indicator on safety should be included in the Organisation’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2023 during review later this biennium and requested the Secretariat to provide exemplary analysis of any relevant data collection and assessment of a performance indicator (PI) on safety;

4.     Expressed appreciation to the Secretariat for work carried out on the alignment of the SDGs with the strategic directions and outputs, and invited proposals for further enhancements at C 121;

5.     Agreed to establish a working group at C 121 to consider the first report of the PIs and the exemplary analysis of data collection and assessment of a PI on safety;

6.     Noted progress being made to date on the Functional Review project led by the S-G;

7.     Agreed in principle that it is timely to consider reforms to the Council for which purpose a working group will be established to meet at C 121; and,

8.     With regard to reform, authorised the release of the audio files of plenary meetings only of the Assembly to the public, removed restrictions on sponsors of documents, authorised the release of Secretariat documents pre-meeting for committee meetings also the release of Council documents after a period of three years, and, agreed to NGOs and IGOs being given access to the Treaties section of IMODOCS.


RESOURCE MANAGEMENT.  There was much discussion on Human Resource matters, including amendments to the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules; the Financial report and audited financial statements for the period ended 31 December 2017; a report on investments for 2017 and the status of Member States’ contributions; Budget considerations for 2018; also, review of funds and ASHI (After Service Health Insurance) liability funding strategy.  Full details of these discussions are available should anyone wish to have access to them.


IMO MEMBER STATE AUDIT SCHEME.  Following the S-Gs oral report on the scheme, the Council :


1.     Endorsed the inclusion of Armenia in the current audit cycle together with a decision to postpone the audits of six other Member States;

2.     Invited any Member State scheduled to be audited after 2019 to have their audits brought forward;

3.     Encouraged Member States to provide details of individuals authorised to access their audit reports through the GISIS module as per Circular Letter No.3587;

4.     Invited audited MSs whose target deadlines for implementation of the corrective action plan had been reached, to provide comment on their un-achieved plans; and,

5.     Encouraged auditors to update their profiles in the E-roster.


LEGAL COMMITTEE.  Mr Volker Schofisch, Chair of the Legal Committee reported the outcome of the 105th session.  Of particular note, the Committee requested the Secretariat to work with ILO to further improve the IMO/ILO joint database on abandonment of seafarers.  Indeed, in the SGs view, the drastic increase in the number of abandonment cases in recent years requires coordinated efforts in addressing the problem and the same issue applies to that of the fair treatment of seafarers.  Concerning the work programme, the Committee agreed to include two new outputs in its 2018-2019 biennial agenda, namely ‘Measures to prevent unlawful practices associated with the fraudulent registration and fraudulent registries of ships’ and ‘Regulatory scoping exercise and gap analysis of conventions emanating from the Legal Committee with respect to Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS)’.  The report on LEG 105 includes other topics addressed, including the entry into force and implementation of the HNS Convention, the fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident, also piracy and technical cooperation activities related to maritime legislation.


MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COMMITTEE (MEPC).  It may be recalled that MEPC 72 met at the beginning of April which was duly reported to InterManager members.  Meanwhile, Mr Saito, who Chaired the meeting, highlighted the most important achievements of the meeting as follows :


1.     Amendments to the BWM Convention and the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management systems, adopted by the Committee which enter into force on 13 October 2019;

2.     Concerning fuel oil quality, approval of draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI concerning prohibition on the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship and, the approval of the Guidance on best practice for fuel oil purchasers/users for assuring the quality of fuel oil used on board ships;

3.     Noted that the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database has been launched as a new module within the GISIS platform;

4.     Made a landmark achievement through the adoption of resolution MEPC.304(72) on an Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships and approved the terms of reference for a fourth meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG emissions from ships; and,

5.     Under the item on ‘Development of measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters, approved the scope of work for the PPR Sub-Committee for this output.


THE INTERNATIONAL MARITIME PRIZE.  Following a secret ballot, Mrs Birgit Solling Olsen of Denmark was selected as the winner of the International Maritime Prize, 2017 for her valuable and lifelong commitment to the work and objectives of IMO, in particular her invaluable contribution to maritime safety and security as well as that for seafarers’ working conditions.  Two other candidates were considered for nomination, Mr Richard Schiferli (Paris MOU) and ITOPF.


WORLD MARITIME UNIVERSITY (WMU).  The Council noted the information provided by the President of the WMU, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry in which she communicated the Annual Report of the WMU Board of Governors for the calender year 2017.  Note was taken of the University’s Revised Budget for 2018 and initial Budget for 2019 following which Council authorised IMO to administer the participation of the WMU staff members in the UNJSPF within the framework of IMO’s membership agreement with the same.


RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE SPECIALISED AGENCIES.  The Secretary General informed Council on the meeting of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (or CEB) which was held in London in early May of this year.  The CEB is a twice-yearly meeting of all UN principals, chaired by the United Nations Secretary-General and in which IMO is a small but active participant.  It provides a forum to gather all UN heads in discussing  topics that further the goal of being and acting as one United Nations, despite the various mandates dictated by different funds, programmes and specialised agencies. 


RELATIONSHIPS WITH INTERGOVERNMENTAL AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS.  Following information provided by the Secretary General, Council decided to seek observer status with the Arctic Council and authorised him to obtain such status with the Arctic Council, seeking the endorsement by the IMO Assembly, at its thirty-first session in November 2019.  Council also welcomed the Secretary-General’s update on IMSO’s relocation to IMO Headquarters building.

In considering applications for NGO consultative status, Council decide to grant such status to the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International) and also to the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel Ltd (SGMF).  However, applications by the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF), the Centre of International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the International Association of Technical Survey and Classification Institutions (TSCI) were refused whilst that submitted by the Conservation International Foundation (CI), was referred to MEPC for further screening. The application submitted by the Marine Technology Society (MTS) was withdrawn.

Council noted the information on the exchange of correspondence between the Secretariat and the Executive Directors of Greenpeace International, pursuant to the request of the Assermbly, reminding Greenpeace of its obligations regarding the safety of navigation and maritime security when conducting protest activities, noting further comments made by the delegation of the Bahamas.


FACILITATION COMMITTEE (FAL) .  The outgoing Chair of the FAL Committee, Mr Yuri Melenas of the Russian Federation reported on the outcome of meeting FAL 42.  Of most note was the action taken on the role of FAL on finding electronic means for the submission of information and electronic data exchange.  The Committee agreed to make an inventory of all requirements for collection of information and reporting under the Organisation’s various instruments to help determine the scope for potential involvement in advising on facilitation aspects, particularly with regard to information related to the single window concept.  Towards this end, the Secretariat was requested to review the final report of the Ad Hoc Steering Group for Reducing Administrative Requirements (SG-RAR), the Inventory of administrative requirements and the list of outputs of the committees, as a starting point to identify elements relevant to the implementation of the concept.

In consideration of the Actions Requested of it in the FAL 42 report, most were duly noted, but the Committee endorsed the decision to establish, starting from 2019, five-day meetings of FAL, with eight associated interpretation sessions.


WORLD MARITIME DAY.  The Secretary-General described the activities to mark the IMO’s 70th anniversary during 2018 which included visits to IMO by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Antonio Guterres.  In addition, a high level Forum featuring future challenges for the IMO in the context of international trade took place.  The theme for the current year : “IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future”, will be celebrated at the IMO on Thursday 27 September, a successful parallel event having already taken place in the Republic of Poland from 13 to 15 June in Szczecin.

The Council adopted the theme proposed by the Secretary-General for World Maritime Day 2019, namely “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”.


INTERPRETATION.  Following an introduction by the Secretary-General setting out the cost of providing interpretation services into the Arabic language and subsequent discussion from the floor of Plenary, Council agreed in principle , to provide such services for all seven sub-committees as soon as it can be arranged and for the Secretariat to make provisions in the next biennium budget proposal accordingly.


TECHNICAL COOPERATION COMMITTEE.  The Annual Report on the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme ) ITCP) for 2017, included the delivery of 215 technical cooperation activities, the training of 3,522 persons worldwide and the provision of 64 fellowships in the maritime field.  Expenditure of $13.8 million was recorded on technical cooperation activities during 2017, translating to a delivery rate of 85%.  During its sixty-eighth session, the Committee approved a long-term resource mobilisation strategy for IMO’s technical cooperation activities to better encourage the development of new partnerships and to access the existing official development assistance (ODA) funding at global and regional levels.  Satisfaction was expressed at progress made on the review and restructuring 0f the Country Maritime Profile (CMP) module and that made by the Secretariat in providing assistance to Member States formulating their national maritime transport policies (NMTPs), in particular, the translation into the three working languages of IMO.


MARITIME SAFETY COMMITTEE (MSC).  Reporting on the 99th session of the MSC, the Chair, Mr Brad Groves of Australia, highlighted the most important achievements which in his view were :


1.     The adoption of a considerable number of amendments to mandatory instruments, including Solas, the 2010 FTP Code, the 1994 and 2000 HSC Code, the IBC and IGC Codes, the IMDG Code and the 2008 IS Code, all of which enter into force on 1 January 2020;

2.     The outcome of the Committees consideration of ‘measures to enhance maritime security’, in particular, the adoption of resolution MSC.448(99) on ‘Revised guidelines on the prevention of access by stowaways and the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases’, and the validation of the revised model course on security awareness training for port facility personnel with designated security duties;

3.     Commencement of work on a ‘Regulatory scoping exercise for the use of maritime autonomous surface ships’ (MASS) which produced an approved framework for the scoping exercise and a plan of work looking at how safe, secure and environmentally sound MASS operations may be addressed in IMO instruments;

4.     With regard to consideration of ‘Goal-based new ship construction standards’, IACS and 12 recognised organisations have submitted their requests for the first GBS maintenance of verification audit and an audit team has been established by the Secretary-General accordingly ;

5.     Concerning the issue of ‘Safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters’, agreeing to consider mandatory measures further at MSC 100, whilst also instructing the SDC Sub-Committee to begin work on non-mandatory measures;

6.     Actions taken in response to the latest meetings of the CCC, III, SDC and NCSR Sub-Committees, also urgent matters emanating from SSE 5 and PPR 5; and,

7.     Regarding the outcome of NCSR 5, on matters related to satellite and navigation systems, the adoption of statements on recognition of maritime mobile satellite services provided by Inmarsat and Iridium.  Also at NCSR 5, a discussion on how to address the heavy workload of the Sub-Committee and the consequent decision of MSC 99 to extend the number of meeting days of NCSR to eight days per session, for a trial period period of two sessions starting with NCSR 6 in 2019, duly endorsed by this Council.


IMO MARITIME AMBASSADORS SCHEME.   The IMO Maritime Ambassador (or IMOMA) Scheme was launched in February 2015 to promote the maritime and seafaring professions, to reach new target audiences and to inspire a new generation of maritime professionals and seafarers.  IMOMAs are nominated by Member States or NGOs and IGOs in consultative status. They are encouraged to pursue opportunities to share their passion about the maritime world with others, particularly young people who are in education, apprenticeships or starting their careers.

The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) of the United Nations provided 11 recommendations for the operation of Goodwill Ambassador programmes, all of which are reflected in the ‘Analysis and evaluation of the IMOMA Scheme’ submitted to Council by the Secretary-General  in addition to 5 other findings.  Having considered the Secretary-Generals proposals for improvement of the IMOMA Scheme, Council authorised him to take action as appropriate and to further consider the resourcing of the Scheme.

During the debate, InterManager made an intervention reflecting the sterling work being done by our IMO Maritime Ambassador, Mr Carlos Salinas, in the Philippines.  In addition, Mr George Hoyt wearing his Nautical Institute hat, gave a vivid personal account on how he implements his responsibilities as an IMOMA.


COUNCIL MEETING C 121.  The 121st regular session of the Council will be held at IMO from 19 to 23 November 2018 with budgetry provision for eight plenary sessions of full interpretation over a five-day meeting



 Captain Paddy McKnight                                                       



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