All aboard for inspection practice

An IMO training in Malaysia has seen port State control officers practice inspecting air pollution and energy efficiency rules aboard a container ship in Johor Port.

The participants from across Malaysia have been taking part in the three-day workshop (13-15 February) focusing on how to effectively enforce IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI regulations.

The interactive workshop included class-based lectures and exercises, as well as practical training on board, in which relevant certificates and documentation, fuel tank arrangement and bunker fuel samples were inspected (photos). It is the first time that onboard training has taken place under the GloMEEP project, which supports countries in addressing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Following the workshop, all trained officers will undertake a two-day (16-17 February) concentrated MARPOL Annex VI inspection campaign in Port Klang, Malaysia’s busiest container port, organized by the Marine Department Malaysia (MDM).

The Johor workshop was hosted by the MDM and run by IMO’s Astrid Dispert and a team of consultants.



IMO Secretary-General visits Antarctica


IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim experienced polar conditions at first hand during a recent visit to Antarctica (8-12 February). Shipping in waters surrounding the two poles has increased in recent years. IMO’s Polar Code entered into force on 1 January 2017, bringing in additional safety and environmental provisions for ships operating in these harsh, remote and unique conditions.

Secretary-General Lim was hosted by the Chilean Navy during his journey to King George Island in Antarctica. In Punta Arenas, the southern tip of Chile, he met with stakeholders from various maritime organizations. They discussed the relevance of the Polar Code to ships operating in the polar regions and the need to promote safe and sustainable shipping.

The Polar Code aims to protect the lives of crews and passengers and minimise the impact of shipping operations on the pristine polar regions. (click for photos)


Preventive strategies for maritime security


The importance of well-coordinated, risk-based preventive strategies to counter maritime security threats was highlighted by IMO’s Chris Trelawny, Special Adviser on Maritime Security and Facilitation, during a debate at the United Nations Security Council (13 February). The UN body, which has the responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security, adopted a resolution urging international collaboration to protect critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks. Speaking during the open debate, Mr. Trelawny highlighted IMO’s extensive programme of technical cooperation activities to assist Member States to develop capacity and capability to deter, prevent, detect and respond to security threats. (Video here.)

IMO has adopted a range of mandatory instruments which support the protection of critical infrastructure, including maritime security measures for ships and ports under the SOLAS Convention; the Facilitation Convention, which addresses the stay and departure of ships; and the suppression of unlawful acts (SUA) treaties. IMO has also developed a range of guidance, self-assessment tools and training materials for the protection of ports, ships and offshore installations. IMO’s main focus is on preventive security through a continuous risk management process.


Ship design and construction matters


​The Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) meets for its fourth session this week (13-17 February). Key topics on the agenda include the expected finalization of draft explanatory notes to the SOLAS chapter II-1 subdivision and damage stability regulations and the completion of draft interim guidelines for use of fibre reinforced plastic elements within ship structures. Also on the agenda is the further development of a draft new SOLAS chapter and related Code on the safe carriage of more than 12 industrial personnel on board vessels engaged on international voyages; work on evacuation analysis for passenger ships; and the ongoing development of second generation intact stability criteria. The Sub-Committee is also looking at the development of draft guidelines on safe mooring arrangements, as well as on the selection, identification and use of mooring lines and on their inspection and/or maintenance.

The SDC Sub-Committee was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, and is being chaired by Kevin Hunter (United Kingdom). Click for photos.


Future maritime leaders practise policy planning


Maritime law students in Malta have been introduced to key issues in maritime transport policy making in a seminar at the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) in Malta (7-9 February). The event focused on the National Maritime Transport Policy (NMTP) concept, which is being promoted by IMO as a good governance practice to guide planning, decision making and legislation in the maritime sector.

IMO recently embarked on an initiative to provide training to interested IMO Member States in the development, adoption and updating of NMTPs, which are seen as key to a coordinated and integrated approach to maritime transport.

The seminar also enhances the on-going collaboration between IMO’s two global maritime training institutions – IMLI and the World Maritime University (WMU) – with IMO’s Jonathan Pace and the WMU’s Associate Professor George Theocharidis delivering the seminar at the IMLI campus.


Togo accedes to treaties covering unlawful acts at sea and anti-fouling


Togo has acceded to two IMO treaties dealing with unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation, and the control of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships. The SUA Protocol covers acts including the seizure of ships by force, acts of violence against persons on board ships, and the placing of devices on board a ship which are likely to destroy or damage it. Parties signed up the AFS Convention are required to prohibit and/or restrict the use of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships flying their flag.

Ms. Abra Dackey, Chargée d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Togo in the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London, to deposit the instruments of accession (6 February).


A closer look at the London Protocol


An introductory workshop  on the core functions and purpose of the London Protocol was presented to some 30 participants in Maputo, Mozambique (1-2 February) this week. The workshop provided relevant examples and experiences on the implementation of the Protocol which regulates the dumping of wastes at sea. The participants also received information on various legal and technical aspects, including lessons on waste assessment guidance, the permitting and reporting procedures, as well as possible steps to ratification.  The workshop, was hosted by the maritime administration of Mozambique (INAMAR, Instituto Nacional da Marinha) at the School of Nautical Sciences. IMO’s Fred Haag led the event.


Workshop promotes maritime security cooperation in Kenya


Kenyan officials involved in maritime law enforcement are taking part in a workshop and scenario-based simulation exercise in Mombassa, Kenya (31 January – 3 February). The IMO-led event will enhance inter-agency cooperation in the country and promote a whole of Government approach in dealing with maritime security challenges. The workshop, organized with the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), brings together key stakeholders in Kenya to discuss practical, concrete steps to ensure effective coordination in combating maritime crimes – through information sharing, unified command, and enhanced maritime domain awareness.

The training is being coordinated by IMO’s Kiruja Micheni and supported by a team of eight maritime law enforcement experts (currently deployed with US Naval Forces as part of the Africa maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2017) from the Canadian Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Navy, Australian Navy and the Royal Netherlands Navy. The training will also include mentorship and hands-on practical training for operators from the Regional Rescue Coordination Centre, Kenya Navy Unit (4-7 February). Additionally, the team is supporting the KMA in reviewing standard operating procedures for the Mombasa Information Sharing Centre with a view to identifying areas for future improvement.


New World Maritime Day video launched


Connecting ships, ports and people, this year`s theme for World Maritime Day highlights the importance of coherent and connected development across all maritime sectors. To illustrate this concept, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim visited the port of Felixstowe to record his annual message for the event. The busiest container port in the United Kingdom features as the backdrop, emphasizing the clear link between ships and ports and the people that operate them. Watch the video here.


​Lessons learned to enhance seafarer training


​Ways to enhance seafarer training by utilizing lessons learned from marine casualty investigations are under discussion this week. The Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW 4) is meeting at IMO Headquarters (30 January-3 February). The Sub-Committee will also continue its work to update and revise the Guidelines on Fatigue to improve better understanding of fatigue and fatigue risk management and to reflect current fatigue and sleep research and best practices of fatigue mitigation. Other items on the agenda include: the ongoing comprehensive review of the fishing vessel personnel training convention (STCW-F); implementation of the seafarer training convention (STCW) 2010 amendments; and validation of a number of IMO model courses. The meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Ms. Mayte Medina (United States). Photos here.


The benefits of self-assessment


The ability to plan and conduct effective self-assessments and internal audits for port facilities is at the core of a maritime security training workshop taking place in Kingston, Jamaica (24-27 January).

The four-day event will equip participants, which includes port security officials and managers, with the skills required by IMO`s International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) to carry out controls, monitoring, audits and inspections.

The training will also assist participants in developing their own self-assessment and audit programmes. Combining both theoretical lessons, through presentations on audit principles, processes and techniques and practical activities using real-life scenarios, participants will gain valuable knowledge to better apply ISPS Code provisions and other relevant IMO guidance.

IMO’s Siti Azit and Henrik Madsen are conducting the workshop together with a team of consultants. The workshop also includes a contribution from the US Coast Guard’s International Port Security Programme.


Microplastics found in supermarket shellfish – report


Microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic or fibres increasingly found in the oceans – have been found in a variety of commercial fish and shellfish, including samples purchased from retail outlets, according to a new study. The report, the second part of a global assessment of the sources, fates and effects of microplastics in the marine environment, provides a new section devoted to the potential impacts of microplastics on commercial fish and shellfish species. Further research is needed in order to determine how and if microplastics pose a risk for food safety and potentially food security, the report says.

The comprehensive report on microplastics in the oceans expands on an earlier study published in 2015. Sources and fate and potential ecological impacts of microplastics are investigated in greater depth and recommendations for further work are included.

One previously unrecognized source of secondary microplastics highlighted is debris from vehicle tyres. The emission of rubber particle dust (mainly <80 micrometre) from tyre wear may be a major source of microparticle contamination in the sea. Part of the dust flies as particulate matter into the air, the rest lands directly on the road or adjoining land and from there a proportion will enter surface waters or drains. An unknown proportion will be carried to the sea. Report co-editor Peter Kershaw says this needs further investigation and advocates developing partnerships with the vehicle industry, wastewater treatment managers, materials scientists and ecotoxicologists to assess the extent of problem and potential reduction measures, if required.

The report has been published by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), a scientific body that advises the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), headquartered in London, United Kingdom, is the Secretariat for GESAMP. GESAMP reports are freely available to download.

Microplastics are small plastic particles, less than 5 mm in diameter, but some can be as small as 10 nanometres. Microplastics may be purposefully manufactured for particular industrial or domestic applications (such as facial cleansers), or result from the fragmentation of larger items, especially when exposed to sunlight. Microplastics have been found distributed throughout the world’s oceans, on shorelines, in surface waters and seabed sediments, from the Arctic to Antarctic. They may accumulate at remote locations such as mid-ocean gyres, as well as close to population centres, shipping routes and other major sources.

The potential problems of micro-plastics in the marine environment were brought to the attention of GESAMP in 2010 and the assessment report has been developed by a working group of experts who meet regularly.


Energy management in the spotlight


IMO’s global energy efficiency rules are key to a sustainable future for shipping. This was the message from IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to the MARENER 2017 conference on maritime energy management, taking place at the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden (24-25 January). Mr. Lim emphasized the importance of energy management and outlined the numerous on-going IMO projects to help implement global energy efficiency measures for shipping.

The conference also saw IMO’s Edmund Hughes chair a session on the regulatory framework of energy management, covering the establishment of a data collection system for fuel oil consumption as part of a roadmap for developing a comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships.

IMO has adopted energy efficiency measures that are legally binding across an entire global industry, applying to all countries. Find out more about these measures via the IMO website, here.


Treaty lecture


World Maritime University (WMU) students on Monday (23 January) gained expert insight into the development, entry into force and amendment processes with respect to IMO instruments, from visiting lecturer Frederick Kenney, Director, Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, IMO. The students are beginning their postgraduate programme on Maritime Administration and International Institutions. Mr Kenney’s lecture focused on the structure of IMO and the development of laws and regulations and was delivered to students in both the Maritime Law & Policy and Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration specializations, which include 51 students from 27 countries.


Regulating polar shipping


IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim today (23 January) spoke to delegates at the Arctic Frontiers conference about new regulations for ships operating in polar waters. With more and more ships navigating in polar waters, IMO has addressed international concern about the protection of the polar environment and the safety of seafarers and passengers with the introduction of the Polar Code, which entered into force on 1 January this year.

The Polar Code sets out mandatory standards that cover the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training and environmental protection matters that apply to ships operating in the waters surrounding the two poles. Mr Lim told the conference, in Tromsø, Norway, that the Polar Code is the single most important initiative to establish appropriate safety and environmental regulation for polar shipping.


Mining wastes report identifies research gaps


​More scientific research needs to be done to understand and assess the environmental impacts of wastes from mining operations which have been disposed into the marine environment, a new report shows. The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) report, Impacts of mine tailings in the marine environment, provides the findings of an international workshop held in Lima, Peru (in 2015) and makes a number of recommendations for future work. The report notes that there are major gaps that need to be addressed in the scientific understanding of the behaviour of mine tailings in the sea at depths greater than 20m to 80 m and consequently the short- and long-term impacts on the marine environment and other potential users of marine resources. Scientific gaps in measurement and monitoring techniques in assessing impacts of existing and proposed new deep-sea discharges of mine tailings need to be addressed. Since the workshop, GESAMP has established a dedicated working group to assess the environmental impacts of wastes from mining operations which have been disposed into the marine environment, under the co-lead of IMO and UN Environment.

A number of large-scale mines worldwide use marine or riverine disposal for mine tailings, under Government permits.
IMO is the Secretariat for The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), which is an advisory body, established in 1969, that advises the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection. Reports and studies published by GESAMP are freely available on the GESAMP website.


​0.5% sulphur cap implementation on agenda


Work to support the smooth and effective implementation of the 0.5% m/m global sulphur cap on fuel oil used by ships will be a main focus for the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR), 4th session, which meets this week (16-20 January). The Sub-Committee will consider what additional measures may be needed to promote consistent implementation and will report with a justification and scope for further work to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71), which meets in July. The MEPC decided at its last session to implement the 0.5% limit from 1 January 2020.

On other matters, the Sub-Committee is expected to finalize the draft code for the transport and handling of limited amounts of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk in offshore support vessels; complete the “Ballast Water Management – How to do it” manual; and finalize the draft updates to the set of model training courses for oil pollution prevention, response and cooperation (OPRC model courses). Other subjects on the agenda for the meeting include: the revision of guidelines relating to marine diesel engines fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to reduce NOx emissions; black carbon; requirements for high-viscosity and persistent floating substances; and the ongoing evaluation of noxious liquid substances for shipment as bulk liquids.

The meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr Sveinung Oftedal (Norway).

Click for photos.


Africa and Asia join efforts for anti-piracy information sharing


A meeting in Singapore (11-12 January) has seen African and Asian countries join efforts to promote greater networking and communications across anti-piracy contact points in the two continents. Speaking at the meeting, IMO’s Head of Maritime Security, Javier Yasnikouski, commended the initiative, saying that the efforts contribute directly to IMO’s work to raise awareness of maritime security issues that have an impact on international trade and the welfare of seafarers; and encourage a co-operative approach amongst IMO Member States and other partner organizations.

The event was organized by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC) and was followed up by a Nautical forum to share ReCAAP-ISC’s analyses of piracy and sea robbery incidents in Asia, and to engage the local shipping industry.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Authority (MMEA), the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UK-MTO), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Shipping Centre, the Information Sharing Centre and the Police Coastguard of Singapore, and the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) Information Sharing Centres of Kenya and Yemen.


Secretary-General speaks on ballast water


IMO Headquarters in London is the venue today and tomorrow (12-13 January) for the 6th Ballast Water Technology Conference organized by IMarEST. Opening the meeting, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim reminded delegates that the Ballast Water Management Convention actively addressed the problem of transferring invasive species, which has been degrading the marine environment for decades.

He said the Convention, which enters into force in September this year, would set clear and robust standards for how to manage ballast water on ships, and that shipping must embrace it if the industry wants a sustainable future.

The event followed the two-day annual meeting of the GloBal TestNet, an independent entity created under the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) of the GloBallast Project, executed by IMO.


New Zealand ratifies Ballast Water Management Convention


New Zealand is the latest country to accede to IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, designed to counter the threat to marine ecosystems by potentially invasive species transported in ships’ ballast water. The Convention enters into force on 8 September 2017 and will require ships to manage their ballast water, which can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants and organisms, which are then carried across the globe.

H.E. Sir Lockwood Smith, High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (9 January) to deposit the instrument of accession. This brings the number of States party to the Convention to 54, representing 53.30% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage.


Slovenia accedes to passenger compensation treaty


Slovenia has acceded to the IMO treaty dealing with compulsory insurance covering passengers on ships. The 2002 Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea sets the limits of liability for incidents on a ship involving passengers, including death of or personal injury to a passenger and loss of or damage to luggage and vehicles. H.E. Mr. Tadej Rupel, Ambassador of Slovenia, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to deposit the instrument of accession, today (9 January).


Training for safe carriage of goods by sea


IMO measures covering the carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form (IMDG Code) and solid bulk cargoes (IMSBC Code) were on the agenda at a regional training course in Beijing, China (12-16 December). Shore-side personnel involved in managing such cargoes received training on how to identify, classify, pack, label, handle, store, load, stow, unload and transport them correctly. Participants came from countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The activity included a visit to the Port of Tianjin, which currently processes some 550 million tons of cargo per year. Participants were introduced to the port’s management strategy, and visited the vessel traffic service centre, which carefully monitors and tracks dangerous goods and solid bulk cargoes within the port’s boundaries.

The event was organized under the Memorandum of Understanding on technical cooperation between IMO and the Ministry of Communications of the People’s Republic of China, and in collaboration with the China Maritime Safety Administration and the Waterborne Transport Research Institute. IMO was represented by Alfredo Parroquín-Ohlson and Bingbing Song of the Maritime Safety Division and a team of international consultants.


Emission policies update


An overview of worldwide emission control policies and technologies has been presented at an international workshop in Hong Kong, China (14 to 16 December 2016). IMO’s Heike Deggim outlined the current regulations and recent work in the Marine Environment Protection Committee to an audience of government officials, international shipping industry representatives, academics and environmental non-governmental organizations. The presentation covered IMO regulations to control air pollution emissions from ships, including SOx and NOx, and energy efficiency requirements, aimed at cutting CO2 emissions from international shipping. The Motor Vehicle/Vessel Emission Control (MoVE2016) Workshop was jointly organized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the People’s Republic of China; the Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong, China; and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


Always prepared to respond


A regional workshop aimed at finalizing guidelines which will provide practical information on responding to significant marine pollution incidents, concluded in Malta this week (14-15 December). The guide also provides a comprehensive overview of the cooperation and mutual assistance in cases of emergency in the Mediterranean region as a whole. The event, organized by REMPEC, gathered representatives of the contracting parties to the Barcelona Convention and other organizations interested in arrangements in the field of oil spill preparedness and response and Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS). IMO was represented by Colleen O’Hagan.


Translators on board


As the global regulatory body for international shipping, IMO has developed and adopted more than 50 international conventions and protocols, supported by more than 1,000 codes and recommendations. For these instruments to be properly understood and implemented globally, the Organization’s Member States rely on swift and accurate translation of the great volume of technical documents, particularly in IMO’s three working languages – English, French and Spanish.

With this in mind, IMO translators and maritime safety division staff have been given first-hand experience of facilities and vessels at the Port of Barcelona, Spain (12-14 December).The training visit included a tour of a refit shipyard for superyachts and presentations on the roles of the local maritime authority and national Spanish Maritime Safety Agency. Participants also gained valuable insight into gas-fuelled engines – with an in-depth tour of the passenger ferry Abel Matutes, the first vessel in the Mediterranean to include a [30-m3] liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine for use in port.

Indeed, the safety of gas-fuelled ships is firmly on the agenda for 2017 – with IMO’s new mandatory IGF code set to enter into force in January. The code aims to minimize the risk to ships, their crews and the environment, given the nature of the fuels involved.

Sharing our expertise on sustainable security systems

The Maritime Security Alliance is a platform of maritime stakeholders aimed to provide ships with non-lethal, non-violent protection against maritime crime. Continuous innovation and creative thinking of its expert team will improve security conditions for seafarers by ensuring effective, legitimate and affordable self-protection measures.

The Maritime Security Alliance offers the service of one single contact for integrated solutions against piracy.



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The Maritime Security Alliance is a platform of maritime stakeholders aimed to provide ships with non-lethal, non-violent protection against maritime crime. Continuous innovation and creative thinking of its expert team will improve security conditions for seafarers by ensuring effective, legitimate and affordable self-protection measures.

The Maritime Security Alliance offers the service of one single contact for integrated solutions against piracy.


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