LEG 102 | IMO Reports | Annual General Assemblies

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Unity for Safety at Sea

LEG 102

4.1 The Committee was reminded that it had considered the outcome of a survey conducted by Seafarers' Rights International (SRI) at LEG 101, concerning the implementation of the 2006 Guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident, adopted jointly by IMO and ILO. The Committee recalled its suggestion to further analyze the responses to the survey.
4.2 The representative of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), on behalf of the co-sponsors (the International Federation of Shipmasters' Associations (IFSMA), Comite Maritime International (CMI) and lnterManager), introduced document LEG 102/4 reporting on the analysis of the replies from Member States to the survey circulated by SRI on behalf of ITF and IFSMA concerning the 2006 Guidelines.
4.3 The representative of SRI provided details of the analysis of the survey and invited the Committee to request the Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC) to consider providing technical assistance to Member States who had requested assistance with the implementation of the Guidelines. Member States already giving effect to the Guidelines were also urged to consider providing copies of their relevant laws together with information and advice if approached by other Member States requesting assistance. The other sponsors of LEG 102/4 expressed views regarding the seriousness and urgency of the issue.
4.4 Several observer delegations expressed their support for the project and, in particular, that the TCC be requested to provide assistance.
4.5 Based on the views expressed, the Committee concluded that:

  • this was an important issue for seafarers and should consequently be placed on the work programme of the Legal Committee;

  • the Committee should consider guidance on the implementation of the Guidelines, in particular for developing countries;

  • technical support and assistance should be provided by TCC in order to facilitate

  • the wide implementation of the Guidelines to improve the conditions for seafarers, taking into account human rights issues;

  • work needed to be done towards the progressive removal of legislation targeting seafarers and imposing criminal sanctions on them;

  • it would be useful for States already giving effect to the Guidelines to provide translated copies of their laws to assist other States with their implementation efforts; and some States informed the Committee that they were ready to share their national legislation giving effect to the Guidelines;

  • with regard to the compilation of statistics, it was also relevant to receive feedback from ports;

  • States were urged to provide their embassies with the names of persons whom seafarers could contact to report violations of the Guidelines;

  • seafarers should be given greater training and awareness of their rights.

4.6 The Committee expressed its thanks and appreciation to SRI and the co-sponsors for their excellent work, underscoring the importance of the subject and its relevance to the progressive development of the shipping industry. Member States who had not yet given effect to the Guidelines were encouraged to do so
4.7 The Committee also noted with gratitude that the industry was prepared to contribute financially towards this work. The Committee supported the speedy implementation of the Guidelines and, in this regard, would report the outcome of these discussions to the TCC, MEPC, MSC and FAL.
5.1 The Secretariat introduced document LEG 102/5, reporting on the outcome of discussions by members of the Kampala Process at a meeting led by I MO, with the support of EUCAP Nestor and UNODC, held in Addis Ababa from 23 to 26 September 2014.
5.2 The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Maritime Security and Facilitation informed the Committee on the current status of the Secretariat's counter-piracy initiatives, including the following:
  • although the IMO Project Implementation Unit (PIU) had expired after its successful conclusion, it did not affect the operation of the Code or the Djibouti Code Trust Fund;

  • the IMO Secretariat would continue to support the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct and wider maritime security and safety-related projects;

  • piracy in the region would continue to be contained as long as merchant ships continued to implement IMO guidance and best management practices;

  • the work of the Kampala Process in building up the Somali maritime sector was ongoing although regrettably, there had been little progress since 201 0;

  • UNODC's capacity-building programmes, supported by IMO, had made significant progress in upgrading legislation and judicial capacity in Somalia and the wider region;

  • IMO's main focus with respect to Somalia was to help develop the maritime sector through mainstream capacity-building under the auspices of the Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC), with a view to creating sustainable employment opportunities as an alternative to piracy.

  • In relation to the Gulf of Guinea, progress was being made in the region to meet the threat of piracy and to improve maritime law enforcement generally. The number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to the Organization had continued to decrease. The Secretariat is in the process of implementing a strategy for the region, including table-top exercises and assisting to upgrade legal frameworks.

5.3 Member States were urged to complete the questionnaire annexed to MSC-FAL.1/Circ.2 (Questionnaire on information on port and coastal State requirements related to privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships and to submit the information to the Organization at their earliest convenience. Any relevant national legislation, policies and procedures provided are posted by the Secretariat, in the language received, on IMO's public website (www.imo.org). To date, only 18 Member States and one Associate Member had provided the information requested.
5.4 The Committee thanked the Secretariat for the update and took note of the information provided.

Outcome of the inter-agency High-level meeting to address unsafe mixed migration by sea
11.31 The Secretariat introduced document LEG 1 02/INF.3, informing the Committee of the outcome of the inter-agency High-level meeting to address unsafe mixed migration by sea, hosted at IMO Headquarters on 4 and 5 March 2015.
11 .32 The representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) stated that the primary obligation of the international community was to continue saving lives, in particular by providing more support for migrants through dedicated missions and ensuring proper law enforcement and promotion of initiatives with IMO to develop a joint database on migrant incidents and on suspected smugglers and vessels.
11.33 The Committee noted that the aim of the High-level meeting was to facilitate dialogue and promote enhanced cooperation and harmonization between United Nations agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, Governments and the shipping industry.
11.34 The views expressed included the following:
  • the issue of mixed migration was a global problem and search and rescue systems maintained by the shipping community were not designed for rescuing hundreds of thousands of people drifting on small, unseaworthy boats left in shipping lanes;

  • the Legal Committee should review the international legal regime dealing with the complex issue of migration by sea and identify gaps that needed to be addressed;

  • the issue should also be referred to MSC, FAL and the Council as a matter of priority;

  • the situation of migrants at sea and search and rescue (SAR) services in the Mediterranean region was desperate with urgent action needed and procedural obstacles should not prevent the Legal Committee and IMO from addressing this problem.

11.35 The Committee supported the Organization's further involvement in this issue, in particular, in conducting a review of SAR legislation, including the definition of "distress" and its interpretation to ensure that legal regimes for SAR were able to respond to unusual situations.
11.36 The delegation of Malta, with support of the delegation of Denmark, offered to coordinate an intersessional discussion on the study of the current legal regime and gaps that needed to be addressed in order to remedy the drastic situation concerning migrants at sea.