IMO’s mandatory audit scheme comes closer

Jan 01 2014

As mentioned by the ICS in the previous article, the IMO Assembly adopted key resolutions and amendments relating to the organisation’s mandatory audit scheme.

This effectively paved the way for the scheme to come into effect by 2016, once amendments to mandatory instruments have entered into force.

The Assembly met from 25th November to 4th December last year for its 28th bi-ennial session.

The IMO said that the mandatory audit scheme is seen as a key tool for assessing member states’ performance in meeting their obligations and responsibilities as flag, port and coastal states under the relevant IMO treaties and then offering the necessary assistance, where required, for them to meet their obligations fully and effectively.

At the meeting, the Assembly adopted the IMO instruments implementation code (III Code), which provides a global standard to enable states to meet their obligations as flag, port and/or coastal states; the framework and procedures for the IMO Member State Audit Scheme; the 2013 non-exhaustive list of obligations under instruments relevant to the III Code; and a resolution on transitional arrangements from the voluntary to the mandatory scheme.

The Assembly also adopted amendments to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966; the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969; and the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amended, to make the use of the III Code mandatory in auditing member  states to determine how they give full and complete effect to the provisions of those conventions to which they are party.

Following this, the IMO is expected to adopt similar draft amendments this year (which have already been  approved by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC)) to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended; the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966; the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended; and Annexes I to VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto, and its 1997 Protocol, as amended.

The adoption of the various amendments and their entry into force will form the basis for an institutionalised audit scheme, the IMO explained.

The Assembly also adopted a number of resolutions submitted by the various IMO Committees and by the Council’s 27th Extraordinary Session. The topics covered by such resolutions include:

·         Prevention and suppression of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in the Gulf of Guinea;

·         Guidelines on the preservation and collection of evidence following an allegation of a serious crime having taken place on board a ship or following a report of a missing person from a ship, and pastoral and medical care of persons affected;

·         Revised guidelines on the implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code by Administrations;

·         Revised guidelines for a structure of an integrated system of contingency planning for shipboard emergencies;

·         Guidelines to assist investigators in the implementation of the Casualty Investigation Code;

·         Fair treatment of crew members in respect of shore leave and access to shore-side facilities;

·         Application of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004;

·         Implementation of the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL);

·         Amendments to the survey guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC);

·         Guidelines for the designation of special areas under MARPOL;

·         Amendments to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (1966 LL Convention), to shift the Winter Seasonal Zone off the southern tip of Africa further southward by 50 miles;

·         Recommendation on the use of adequately qualified deepsea pilots in the North Sea, English Channel and Skagerrak; and in the Baltic Sea;

·          Recommendation on the use of national tonnage in applying international conventions.

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