FAL 40 | IMO Reports | Annual General Assemblies

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Unity for Safety at Sea

FAL 40

The IFSMA delegation consisted of two delegates, Paul Owen and Allan Graveson. This was a lower number than usual as the Plenary, with only 36 input documents to consider, completed its work by close on the Tuesday evening, with only Working Groups continuing work until Friday morning for the closing Plenary session.

The following Working Groups and Drafting Groups will be established:

  • Working Group 1 - Working Group on Requirements for access to or electronic versions of certificates and documents, including record books required to be carried on ships

  • Working Group 2 - Review of the Guidelines on minimum training and education for mooring personnel

  • Working Group 3 - Working group on unsafe mixed migration (dependent on plenary discussion)

  • Drafting group 1 - Drafting Group on Amendments to FAL Convention.

The IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, in his opening address, referred to facilitation of international maritime transport, mentioning that such Facilitation is essential to achieve efficiency within shipping and thereby reap the benefits of its positive impact on the world economy. He continued by saying that –

“Since IMO was established in 1959, the volume of world trade has increased by over 300 times.  The world population has topped 7 billion and continues to rise. Maritime activity already provides an important source of invisible income to many developing countries.

The truth is, shipping affects us all. No matter where you may be in the world, if you look around you, you are almost certain to see something that either has been or will be transported by sea, whether in the form of raw materials, components or the finished product.

And this is why the theme that has been chosen for World Maritime Day 2016 is "Shipping: indispensable to the world".”

The full text of his speech may be found on the IMO Website.

IFSMA Co-sponsored two input papers.

FAL 40/10 Guidelines on Minimum Training and Education for Mooring Personnel

This paper was prepared by the International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) and due to its aim at improving safety IFSMA decided to be co-sponsor, along with the Nautical Institute. Several serious accidents to mooring personnel were reported as justification for improving these standards.

Another paper (FAL 40/10/1), along similar lines, was submitted by Spain and Italy. During the Plenary session most speakers supported our paper in preference to the one from Spain and Italy, and the Working Group was instructed to finalise the revised training standards based on our paper. Two training standards were proposed, one for shore based mooring personnel and another to include standards for those who also worked on mooring boats.

The Working Group completed this task and it was agreed by the Committee. It will take the form of a revised document for “Guidelines on minimum training and education for mooring personnel.”

The second paper we co-sponsored was:

FAL 40-INF.3 Information concerning the development of uniform definitions of ship port operations in support of safe, efficient and sustainable transport logistics

IFSMA was one of eleven co-sponsors (industry representatives and international organizations) for this paper, it deals with definitions of times to be used when recording certain events, such as arrival and departure times, so everyone understand exactly which time is being used. As an example - the FAL Convention contains the following definition of Time of arrival: "Time when a ship first comes to rest, whether at anchor or at a dock, in a port". However, this definition does not provide sufficient detail to meet the requirements of modern ship management and port logistics, which depend on more detailed information about the time, location and activities associated with a ship's arrival and departure. The paper provides information about industry discussions to develop agreed descriptors of events during a ship's arrival, stay and departure in port.

The Committee noted the information and invited the co-sponsors to present to FAL 41 the outcome of the test of the new definitions of ship port operation events during real time ship calls to be held in 2016.

Stowaways and Persons Rescued at Sea

This subject dealt with the numbers reported only and not how to deal with them.

It was reported that 94 stowaway cases were reported to the Organization in 2008, 314 in 2009, 253 in 2010, 70 in 2011, 36 in 2012, 70 in 2013, 61 in 2014 and 21 in 2015.

The Committee recalled that FAL 39 had noted that the total number of incidents related to unsafe practices associated with the trafficking or transport of migrants by sea reported to the Organization for the period 1 January 1999 to 1 September 2014 was 1,925, involving 88,833 mixed migrants.

The Committee recalled further that FAL 39 had noted that the actual numbers of mixed migrants and persons rescued at sea were significantly higher than as reported in GISIS and that the number had increased significantly in 2014 with large numbers of people needing to be rescued.

Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea

This subject was discussed and reports of other inter-agency high level meetings was reported. It was noted that the subject is being considered by several bodies, including other IMO Committees and Sub-committees. Recommendations were made to the Maritime Safety Committee for their deliberations on this subject when amending MSC/Circ.896/Rev.1:

.1  the non-mandatory nature of the text of the guidelines should be retained;

.2  the first paragraph of the annex to the draft revised circular relating to the Convention on transnational organized crime should be deleted;

.3  the third paragraph of the annex to the draft revised circular should refer to Member States rather than Contracting Governments;

.4  with respect to the reporting format in the appendix to the annex to the draft revised circular, the title of the report should reflect that it is concerned with migrant incidents at sea;

.5  in the reporting format, it was unclear what the difference was between the information sought in the "Brief description of incident and measures taken" and the "Details of smuggling of migrants by sea" fields. The two fields should be merged; and

.6  to facilitate future updating, the circular should remain as an MSC circular under the purview of MSC rather than become a joint MSC-FAL circular.

Other Matters

The Committee also considered: the single window concept; requirements for access to, or electronic versions of, certificates and documents including record books required to be carried at sea; guidelines on facilitation aspects of protecting the marine transport network from cyber threats; etc. Many of subjects dealt by the Committee with do not directly involve shipmasters.

Finally, on the suggestion of the IMO Secretary General, the Committee agreed to annual meetings in the future. However, these should only be of four days duration.

A full report of the proceedings can be found on the IMO Documents Website