The IMO Council held its 122nd session (C122) from Monday 15 through Friday 19 July 2019 chaired by Mr Xiaojie Zhang (CHINA) supported by his Vice Chair, Mr Edmundo Deville del Campo (PERU), both of whom will continue in their respective roles during 2020. One Working Group (WG) was formed and chaired as follows :
WG1 Strategy, Planning and Reform, Mr Edmundo Deville del Campo (PERU)
The meeting considered reform of the Council in addition to issues of governance and good practice plus Strategy and Planning, also Resource management and Budget matters.
Following is a short report seeking to highlight items of interest 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 49 (Observer) Member States were present, together with 1 Associate Member, 6 Intergovernmental organisations, 23 Non-governmental organisations and a representative from the IMO World Maritime University.
STRATEGY AND PLANNING. Council noted the Secretariat Business Plan for the 2020-2021 biennium and expressed satisfaction that the Plan now aligns more closely with the strategic directions. Appreciation was also expressed to the Secretariat for their development of a Strategy by which to identify, analyse and address emerging issues and opportunities to further support Member States in their implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Since Council last met at C 121, the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) has produced four reports, two of which are applicable for action by IMO. Following discussion, Council noted and supported the Secretary-General’s comments and action plans regarding the recommendations addressed to him.
COUNCIL REFORM. Following preliminary discussion in Plenary, Council noted that it required more time and information to progress with deliberations on the matter of electronic voting and, to this end, requested the Secretariat to submit an analysis of the financial, legal and procedural consequences of the introduction of such a system at its 124th session. The open-ended Working Group was then re-established and set to work under appropriate terms of reference. The Council subsequently approved the report of the WG in general and, in particular;
- Agreed to recommend to the Assembly, the expansion of Council composition to 52 members;
- Agreed to recommend to the Assembly, the extension of the Council to four years [it is currently 2 years];
- Noted that the majority of the Group is in favour of retaining the criteria in Article 17 of the IMO Convention [Ten States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services; Ten other States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade; and, Twenty other States, not already elected under the first two categories which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation, and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world];
- Noted the discussion of the Group that development of guidance on consistent application of Article 17 of the IMO Convention would be useful to assist Member States in casting their votes, also candidates in presenting their candidatures;
- Agreed to recommend to the Assembly that 12 seats should be allocated to the first two categories and 28 seats to the third;
- Noted progress made on the issue of geographical regions and representation and the complexity of the matter with the need for further consideration at C 124;
- Noted the need to take into account all documents submitted to previous Council sessions in respect of which a final conclusion had not been reached;
- Approved amendments to rule 40 of the Rules of Procedure [relating to the complexities concomitant with the number of places and number of candidates];
- Approved text of a draft Assembly resolution on Ethical Considerations and Guidelines for Conduct of IMO Council Election Campaigns for submission to A 31 for adoption;
- Approved revised text of the Rules and Guidelines for Consultative Status of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) with IMO for adoption at A 31;
- Noted the progress made on the revised IMO’s Media terms and conditions;
- Noted the decision of the Group that live streaming should be made available for Member States, IGOs and NGOs in consultative status for meetings of the Assembly, Council and committees;
- Requested the Secretariat to provide information on the financial implications of live streaming;
- Noted the recommendation of the Group that the election of the Secretary-General should remain with the Council;
- Approved the work plan of the WG on Council Reform; and,
- Endorsed the re-establishment of the Working group on Council Reform.
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. This agenda item covered a wide range of topics as follows:
- Human resource matters, including amendments to the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules;
- Financial report and audited financial statements for the financial period ended 31 December 2018 (which was given unqualified backing by the External Auditor);
- Report on investments;
- Report on the status of Member States’ contributions to the General Fund and the Working Capital Fund, as well as that on the implementation of Article 61 of the IMO Convention [this alludes to loss of voting rights following failure by any Member State to discharge its financial obligations to the Organisation];
- Budgetary matters for 2019; and,
- Report on the Functional review.
Should anyone express an interest in the considerable detail thus covered in any of these subjects, it is readily available and can easily be supplied and this is also the case for presentation of the Results-based Budget for 2020-2021. The Secretary-General was encouraged to continue his efforts to keep the budget in balance through continued efficiency and good management.
IMO MEMBER STATE AUDIT SCHEME. Following the introduction of Secretariat documents introduced by the Secretary-General and comments by delegates, Council:
- Endorsed the revised overall audit schedule;
- Encouraged those Member States that have not yet done so, to provide details of an authorised individual to access Member State audit reports through GISIS;
- Invited those audited Member States whose target deadlines for the implementation of the corrective action plan have been reached, to provide the Secretariat with a progress report;
- Encouraged auditors to update their profiles in the E-roster;
- Endorsed, in principle, the general approach for the further development of the Scheme; and,
- Requested the Secretary-General to provide detailed documentation, including draft terms of reference for the re-establishment of the Joint Working Group to the Council at its 124th
REPORT OF THE FACILITATION COMMITTEE. The Council approved the report of the forty-third session of the FAL Committee in general and transmitted it to the thirty-first regular session of the Assembly. In particular, Council endorsed the decisions of FAL 43 to;
- Establish an IMO Expert Group on Data Harmonisation which would meet intersessionally;
- Convert the target completion year of the output on “Review and revision of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business, including additional e-business solutions” to continuous;
- Include in its biennial agenda for 2020-2021 and the provisional agenda of FAL 44 a new output on “Guidance to address maritime corruption”;
- Add the Facilitation Committee as associated organ for the outputs: “Considerations of descriptions of Maritime services in the context of e-navigation”; also, “Regulatory scoping exercise for the use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS)”; and,
- Endorsed the proposed FAL outputs for the 2020-2021 biennium and the intersessional meetings approved by the Committee for 2019 and 2020.
REPORT OF THE LEGAL COMMITTEE. In his address to Council, the Chair of the Legal Committee, M Schofisch reported that progress had been made on all agenda items whilst highlighting the following:
- Measures to prevent unlawful practices associated with the fraudulent registration and fraudulent registries of ships. The Committee approved the draft Assembly resolution presented by the Working Group established under this agenda item, submitting it to Council for noting and transmission to the Assembly for adoption at its thirty-first session. The Committee also approved a circular on ‘Recommended best practices to assist in combating fraudulent registration and fraudulent registries of ships’ and established a Correspondence Group, instructing that it report to LEG 107;
- Regulatory scoping exercise and gap analysis of conventions emanating from the Legal Committee with respect to MASS. It was agreed that the Committee would use MSC methodology as the basis for the scoping exercise on MASS with appropriate adjustments to accommodate the specificities of the conventions under the purview of the Legal Committee in order not to complicate the work.
- Consolidated certified true copies of IMO Conventions. Member States have indicated that they require these official consolidated texts to obtain the necessary domestic approvals for accession to the conventions and for the submission of national implementing legislation through the legislative process. The Committee thus invited the Council to initiate a programme to develop certified true copies of consolidated texts of all IMO conventions;
- Unified interpretation on the test for breaking the owner’s right to limit liability under the IMO Conventions. The Committee agreed to include a new output in its 2020-2021 biennial agenda for this item with a target completion year of 2021 and invited concrete proposals on the new output for consideration at LEG 107;
- In view of the present workload, which includes three new outputs, Council endorsed LEGs decision that two meetings should be adequate for the 2020-2021 biennium but that five meeting days with eight full sessions of interpretation would be necessary for its next meeting, LEG 107; and,
- LEG 106. The report on LEG 106, available on IMODOCS, includes further information on other topics raised, including the entry into force and implementation of the HNS Convention, provision of financial security in case of abandonment of seafarers, fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident, piracy and the work of other IMO bodies.
REPORT OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COMMITTEE. In considering the report of the 74th session of the MEPC, Council took note of the outcome as follows :
- Amendments to MARPOL annexes I, II, V and VI and NOx Technical Code 2008. These are expected to enter into force on 1 October 2020 whilst those relating to the IBC and BCH Codes, on 1 January 2021;
- Harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water. Significant progress on many issues was made concerning implementation of the BWM Convention, including the approval of draft amendments to the Convention on commissioning-testing of ballast water management systems;
- Air pollution from ships. Completion of work on the consistent implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit under MARPOL Annex VI, also the approval of draft amendments to regulations 20 and 21 of MARPOL Annex VI to significantly strengthen the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) phase 3 requirements;
- Reduction of GHG emissions from ships. The Committee continued to build on the work the Organisation has undertaken to address GHG emissions from international shipping in accordance with the ‘Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships’. More specifically, terms of reference were approved for the Fourth IMO GHG Study; approval given for the establishment of the “GHG TC-Trust Fund”; an MEPC resolution inviting Member States to encourage voluntary cooperation between the port and shipping sectors to assist in reducing GHG emissions from ships adopted; and, approval given for an MEPC circular on ‘Procedure for assessing impacts on States of candidate measures’;
- Marine plastic litter from ships. Noted progress made by the Committee related to addressing marine plastic litter and in particular, approval of the terms of reference for an IMO Study on marine plastic litter from ships; also the scope of work for the PPR, III and HTW Sub-Committees to progress work under the Action Plan;
- PPR Sub-Committee. Actions in response to PPR 6 at which approval was given in respect of environment-related thematic priorities for the 2020-2021 biennium and information on the Organisation’s technical cooperation activities related to protection of the marine environment implemented in 2018. Three new outputs were approved for inclusion in PPR’s biennial agenda for 2020-2021 in addition to those already approved as well as items to be included in the agendas for MEPC 75 and 76;
- Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. Endorsement of the sixth and seventh meetings of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships was given, as well as that for ESPH; and,
- Voluntary Multi-donor Trust Fund. The issuance of an instruction to the Secretariat to prepare an analysis on how best to establish a voluntary multi-donor Trust Fund with the specific purpose of supporting those Member States that require financial assistance to enable their participation at IMO meetings, for consideration by Council at its 124th session in July 2020.
REPORT OF THE MARITIME SAFETY COMMITTEE. Council considered the outcomes of the 100th and 101st sessions of the Maritime Safety Committee and took note as follows:
- Amendments to Mandatory Instruments. Most of these amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2024 except for those to the IBC, 2011 ESP and the IMSBC codes which are expected to enter into force on I January 2021;
- Measures to enhance maritime security. Approval of MSC.1/Circ.1603 on ‘Guidance for the electronic transfer of information into and from the maritime security module of GISIS;
- Regulatory scoping exercise for the use of maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS). The holding of an intersessional meeting of the Working Group on MASS from 2 to 6 September 2019;
- Goal-based ship construction standards (GBS). Approval of MSC.1/Circ.1394/Rev.2 on ‘Generic guidelines for developing IMO goal-based standards’;
- Safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters. Instructed NCSR 7 to consider the consequences and feasibility of applying chapters 9 and 11 of the Polar Code to non-SOLAS ships and approved a draft Assembly resolution on Interim safety measures;
- Development of measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of fuel oil. Adopted resolution MSC.465(101) on ‘Recommended interim measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of oil fuel’, and endorsed an action plan to further consider measures relating to the flashpoint of fuel oil, with a view to finalising any measures by MSC 104 in 2021;
- Response to Sub-Committees. The MSC adopted and approved numerous non-mandatory instruments based on recommendations by the sub-committees. Of particular note, MSC 100 approved MSC.1/Circ.1598 on ‘Guidelines on fatigue’ and, in this context, endorsed the agreement of HTW 5 that any proposals to include risk management tools as appendices to the guidelines could be considered at future sessions of the HTW Sub-Committee;
- Assembly resolutions. MSC 101 approved draft Assembly resolutions on ‘Interim safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in Polar waters’ and on ‘Amendments to the Use and fitting of retro-reflective materials on life-saving appliances’;
- Work programme. Invited Council to endorse the inclusion of 11 new outputs on the biennial agenda of the Committee. This will include one of particular importance, that relating to ‘Measures to improve domestic ferry safety’ and will focus on developing model regulations and providing guidance on the incorporation in domestic law, as well as developing online training material, hopefully contributing significantly to addressing the unacceptably high number of domestic ferry accidents and the resulting fatalities;
- NCSR 8. Invited Council to continue the current working arrangement by endorsing an eight-day meeting for NCSR 8, which was duly approved;
- Measures for greater public access to information. That reports of intersessional meetings with other international organisations, as well as liaison statements, will not be made publicly available;
- International Quality Assessment Review Body (IQARB). Following a decision by MSC 100, the Secretariat is participating in the trial phase of the new IQARB body for the IACS Quality System Certification Scheme (QSCS) which aims to serve as an independent advisory body for stakeholders that have an interest in the work of classification societies and ROs; and,
- Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. The conference will be held from 21 to 23 October 2019 in Torremolinos, Malaga, Spain, co-sponsored by IMO and the Government of Spain.
There followed a lengthy debate on the issue of maritime security measures for ships operating in the Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman triggered by attacks on six vessels. It was recalled that the Saudi Arabian flagged ships Amjad and Al Marzoqah, the Norwegian flagged ship Andrea Victory and the Emerati flagged ship A.Michel were attacked off the coast near Fujairah and suffered sabotage damage; and that, on 13 June 2019, the Marshall Islands flagged ship Front Altair and the Panama flagged ship Kokuka Courageous were attacked, suffering hull damage and fire, while located in the Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz.
The Council expressed concern over the potential negative impact of such attacks on shipping in these particular locations and the grave danger to life and serious risks to navigational safety and the environment to which such incidents may give rise. In condemning these unlawful attacks, the Council reminded all flag States, shipowners and operators of the need and importance to implement appropriate security measures for their ships at all times and emphasised the need to review maritime security plans and implement necessary measures to address the heightened security risk to their ships operating in the Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman. Several States successfully argued that the matter of tabling a resolution on this matter is for the purview of the MSC (which committee had not had sight of the matter), thus it was decided that the Secretariat should disseminate a summary of Councils views and decisions on these incidents through the media.
REPORT OF THE TECHNICAL COOPERATION COMMITTEE. In his report to Council on the sixty-ninth session of the Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC) which met in June this year, the Chairman, Mr Zulkurnain Ayub (Malaysia) highlighted some of the key issues which arose during the Committee’s deliberations as follows :
- WMU and IMLI. The TCC noted a summary of activities undertaken in 2018 by the World Maritime University (WMU) and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI);
- The annual Report on the Integrated Cooperation Programme for 2018. This included the delivery of 196 technical cooperation activities, the training of 3,198 persons worldwide and the provision of 76 fellowships in the maritime field entailing an expenditure of $13.5 million, translating to a delivery rate of 83%;
- Country Maritime Profile (CMP). Approval of the revised and restructured CMP module, noting the Secretariat’s accomplishments in its work to provide assistance to Member States in the development of National Maritime Transport Policies (NMTPs), and approved proposed amendments to the Rules of Operation of the Technical Cooperation Fund;
- Long-term Resource Mobilisation Strategy. Progress was noted on the Strategy, including the first donor/recipient workshop on maritime technical cooperation activities, which was held during 2018, with similar such workshops scheduled for the current year;
- The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Noting the outcome of the CG on the 2030 Agenda which is a work in progress, approved the establishment of a WG during TC 70; and,
- Technical Cooperation Fund. Council approval for the allocation and use of £10.8 million to support the delivery of the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) during 2020-2021 and a four-day session of TC 70 to allow the WG on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to meet for one day without interpretation. Approval was also given to the proposed Revised Rules of Operation of the TC Fund.
PROTECTION OF VITAL SHIPPING LANES. Note was taken of the information provided on recent developments concerning the Cooperative Mechanism for the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and the regional Cooperation Agreement on Combatting Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP-ISC). Following a brief discussion, the Council:
- Expressed its 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;
- Also expressed its appreciation to those Member States and organisations which had made contributions to the Cooperative Mechanism and to the IMO Malacca and Singapore Straits Trust Fund;
- Invited Member States and organisations to further contribute to the Mechanism and the Fund; and,
- Expressed appreciation for the update on the successful model of ReCAAP-ISC’s incident reporting and response framework in Asia based on circulars MSC.1/Circ.1333/Rev.1 and MSC.1/Circ.1334, and focussing on the role of coastal States in receiving incident reports and deploying their assets to assist victim ships accordingly.
ASSEMBLY MATTERS. The Assembly is scheduled to meet, at its thirty first regular session, from 25 November to 4 December 2019 for which its provisional agenda was submitted to the Council for consideration and approval in accordance with rule 13 of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure.
Relations with the United Nations and the specialised agencies. Of special interest, Council noted the information on the outcome of the second session of the Intergovernmental Conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). The Secretary-General was requested to remain actively involved in the BBNJ process to ensure that the role and mandate of IMO is reflected in the proposed international legal instrument and to keep Council informed of any relevant developments on the subject;
Relations with intergovernmental organisations. The Council noted that, in accordance with Article 25 of the IMO Convention [agreements/arrangements of IMO relationships with other organisations], the observer status granted to IMO by the Arctic Council will be submitted to the thirty-first regular session of the Assembly for its endorsement;
Relations with non-governmental organisations. The Council established a group of Council Members to screen new applications for consultative status with IMO and having considered the report of the Group, decided not to grant such status to all six applicants, also to withdraw the International Road Transport Union’s (IRU) consultative status, and send ‘terms of obligation’ letters to two others, the International Vessel Operators Dangerous Goods Association (IVODGA) and the International Ocean Institute (IOI). Council also decided to maintain the consultative status for all other organisations listed in document C 122/17©/1 and to submit a recommendation to this effect to A 31.
International Maritime Prize. Mr Joe Angelo, nominated by the Government of the USA and Intertanko, will deservedly be the recipient of the 2018 International Maritime Prize. The Council also expressed its appreciation to Admiral Mohab Mohamed Hussein Mameesh, nominated by the Government of Egypt. The Awards ceremony will take place on Monday 25 November 2019, at the IMO Headquarters.
World Maritime Day. This year’s World Maritime Day will be held at IMO Headquarters on Thursday 26 September to celebrate the theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community” and a parallel event hosted by the Government of the Republic of Colombia from 15 to 17 September in the coastal city of Cartagena de Indias. In considering the theme for 2020, the Council endorsed the Secretary-General’s proposal “Sustainable Shipping for a sustainable Planet”.
IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea. The Council endorsed the decision of the Panel of Judges to bestow the 2019 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea on Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Michael W. Kelly of the USCG for his great display of courage, perseverance and skill in the rescue operation of four survivors found in a life raft, in the midst of extremely high winds and heavy seas. Four Certificates of Commendation and eight Letters of commendation will also be awarded to other deserving recipients.
IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador Scheme. The Council endorsed improvements to the Scheme described in document C 122/17(h) and by the Secretary-General in his intervention.
REPORT ON THE STATUS OF CONVENTIONS AND OTHER MULTILATERAL INSTRUMENTS IN RESPECT OF WHICH THE ORGANISATION PERFORMS FUNCTIONS. The Council endorsed and supported the Secretary-General’s continuing efforts in encouraging Member Governments to consider accepting those instruments to which they are not yet parties and re-iterated a plea to them, that of ratifying the 2009 Hong Kong Ship Recycling Convention, the 2012 Cape Town Agreement and the 2010 HNS Protocol, to enable their entry into force as soon as possible.
PLACE, DATE AND DURATION OF THE NEXT TWO SESSIONS OF THE COUNCIL. The Council confirmed that its thirtieth extraordinary session will be held at the Headquarters of the Organisation on Thursday, 21 November and Friday, 22 November 2019 and that budgetary provisions will be made for four sessions with full interpretation over the two-day meeting. Council also confirmed that its 123rd regular session will be held on conclusion of the thirty-first regular session of the Assembly on Thursday 5 December 2019 in two sessions with full interpretation services over the one-day meeting.
CAPTAIN PADDY MCKNIGHT