IFSMA Monthly Logs

A summary on monthly activities from the IFSMA Office.

July 2013

This month has been a transition for IFSMA in many respects and it is about changes that have to be made for IFSMA to survive.  A lot of work and research has taken place and this is being reviewed and updated, and trying to identify what needs to happen to take IFSMA forward and to grow.

The profile for IFSMA is rising and the name is being used more often in different circles.  The IMO Secretariat has approached us to conduct a survey amongst Masters about documentation and create statistics from it to present at the next FAL Committee meeting, scheduled for next year.

It is with sadness that I report on the passing of Dr. C. P. Srivastava, Honorary Member.  It is always sad to hear of another Member passing away, but instead of the loss we should all remember his life and what he achieved in it. 

This month has seen two major events in the IMO Annual Calendar.

Technical Co-Operation Committee (TC) 63rd Session 10 – 12 July 2013
Council 110th Session 15 – 19 July 2013

IFSMA did not attend the Technical Co-Operation Committee

Council 110th  Session 15 – 19 July 2013

Captain John Dickie - Secretary General
Mr. Allan Graveson - Senior National Secretary

General Observations

The main thrust of this Council was on the cost of running the IMO and trying to balance the books.  The Secretary-General of the IMO had prepared extensive papers not only about changes to come into effect but also about the welfare of the employees of the IMO.

2014 will see a reduction in the number of Sub-committees from 9 to 7, and a new schedule for the meetings where the 2 Sub-committees that will be lost have their workload spread among other sub-committees.  IFSMA supports such a move and the Secretary-General’s Vision for the future.

NGOs are being focused on, and there are different points of view on how they should be applied.  What is certain is the fact that they must be international and probably global in coverage.  They must attend the IMO and they should be presenting papers or co-sponsoring papers, and taking part in groups.

It has been muted that NGOs should pay to attend the IMO and this will prove to be an interesting point.  The question has to be asked is that if we are paying to attend do we have a vote?

Information Paper #2 was raised by South Korea and asked a lot of questions about NGOs, although many of the statistics quoted were not quite accurate.  The reason behind this was in respect of the European Shipbuilders being present at the IMO.  This is a regional NGO and not a global one; so in some respects does not meet the criteria laid down by the IMO.  The paper was not well received by the NGOs, not because of the point being raised but because so many of the statistics included were not fully accurate.

It is important to note that it is going to be harder for NGOs to be given status at the IMO, and furthermore those who are not contributing to the IMO by attending meetings and playing an active part may find their accreditation at risk.

IFSMA does not fall into this category, but care must be taken to ensure that its profile and activities are noted.

In some ways this meeting was a reflection of how IFSMA will need to be operated, and through conversations with many other NGOs etc. it is apparent that everyone is having to rethink how their organization works and the cost of running it.

The Secretary-General made special note in respect of LEG 100 in respect of the paper for the collation and preservation of evidence.  This was a paper that IFSMA put a lot of work into and in particular special note should be given to Charles Boyle, Director of Legal Affairs, Nautilus International (UK) for the time, effort and support that he gave to make sure that this paper was revised and became something to be proud of and which could be taken forward.

There were many other points that were raised and discussed, but one point that should be noted is that of the work that is conducted by the IMO Secretariat above and beyond their remit.  It is by this unselfish attitude that so much is accomplished and continues to do so.


20 – June – 2013

There were a number of responses after the meeting and all of the feedback was positive.  So hopefully the next meeting at the end of this year will see it grow.

There has been a request from the International Salvage Union (ISU) to join the group.

There has been no movement with VIDEOTEL during this month, but as agreed this will pick up in the autumn.

On-going and progressing a potential project on the Criminalization of the Seafarer.  This will take time and has to be looked at carefully from all angles.

This is an on-going and open ended relationship between both organizations.  One of the topics is the project to produce a DVD or equivalent on the subject of the “Criminalization of the Seafarer”.

Others topics that are being progressed are criminal cases such The Master of the Maas Trader in jail in Panama.  The Master in jail in Spain who has terminal cancer and trying to have his sentenced commuted on humanitarian grounds.  There is also the matter of 2 Masters in prison in Sao Tome and Principe (Gulf of Guinea). 

We need to progress human rights of seafarers throughout the maritime industry.

Maritime Piracy: Human Response Programme (MPHRP)
All quiet on this front.  Matters should pick up after the summer.

All quiet, nothing will be happening until after the summer.  We have been assisting the NI with candidates for the Presidency of the Baltic Region NI Branch.

Christer Lindvall, the President of IFSMA, will be attending the GlobalMET meeting after the M&T Conference in Manila in October 2013.

There are discussions on-going with GlobalMET in respect of a possible one day conference/seminar immediately after the M&T Conference.  This would be in conjunction with AMUSOP; updates will follow as this is firmed up.

Initial discussions have been held to discuss the use of Pilot Exemption Certificates (PECs).  At this time there are no definitive statistics in respect of this matter.  IFSMA does not oppose PECs as long as everyone involved is in agreement, but there are a number of unsubstantiated reports of Masters being coerced to take such action to save on pilot use and costs.  No action can be taken: there has been a consensus with the Member Associations and a plan has been agreed.

Safety4Sea Forum
This will take place in October 2013 in Athens, Greece.  IFSMA has once again been asked to speak at this conference and has accepted.

Hanson Wade Conference – Security in Challenging Environments (28-31 October)
IFSMA has been invited to speak at and also take part in plenary sessions at this conference which is being held in London.  Development on speaking papers and this matter will be circulated later.

Honorary Members’ Lunch – 25 September 2013
This special occasion is progressing well and 6 of the 9 Honorary Members have accepted the invitations.  These include the present and previous two Secretary-Generals of the IMO. All members of the Executive Council have replied and will be attending as well as the Secretariat.  This will take place on the second day of the forthcoming Executive Council Meeting scheduled for 24 September 2013.  The lunch is being held at the Bank restaurant and photographs will be taken and published on the website.  This is a unique event and shows the commitment of IFSMA and its members.

This is now being progressed and will be ongoing over the next few months.  This will never be a large branch, but it is important to have a presence with Malta having one of the largest flags.

IFSMA has been approached by Masters from Venezuela to initiate negotiations in respect of the Master Mariners Association in Venezuela to join IFMSA.  These negotiations are at an early stage and it is hoped that these can be successful.

There has been an approach from a member in Panama about reconvening the branch there.  There has been some communication but currently everything has gone quiet. We will wait and see and pursue this after the summer.

Outstanding Fees
As of the end of July two member associations have fees outstanding.  If this is still the case in September then this matter will become an agenda item for the Executive Council to decide on the action to be taken.

A number of individual members have outstanding fees.  This is being followed up and appropriate action will be taken.

AGA 40 - SandeFjord, Norway
The date for this event has still to be set.  After the IMO Council there was no definitive date, but it is expected that the provisional date will be firmed up.  If all goes to plan it should be possible to plan for early June 2014 for the AGA.  Because of the number of items that need to be attended to during this AGA, the Agenda and timetable will be full.  One of the major items will be the change of personnel to act on the Executive Council, and the membership details.

Special Case
The case of the ‘Marida Melissa’ and ‘Durgit Integrity’ has been developing over the past few months with the Masters of both vessels being jailed for 3 years by the legal system of Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea, Africa.

President Christer Lindvall has been leading this case and has now requested that the Secretariat use its connections and influence to build up support to try and obtain the release of these two Masters.

The information that is available at this time would indicate that this is a miscarriage of justice, and the prison that these two Masters find themselves in is reported to be one of the worst in the world.

This case will use a lot of resources but it is believed that IFSMA cannot ignore what has taken place.  It must be stated that neither Master is a member of IFSMA or a Member of their National Associations.

It should be noted that both ships and the crews are still under arrest in Sao Tome waters. All crew members face the possibility of being arrested.

Progress Report:  IMPA has assisted us on this matter.  The case was circulated to all Member Associations and the French Pilots’ Association took this up with the French Shipowners who have now had it forwarded to the French Government to see if any action can be taken.  This action is really appreciated by all concerned and it shows how the relationship of IFSMA with other NGOs is assisting in progressing matters.

Review of Statutes and Bye-Laws
The Statutes and Bye-laws of IFSMA are being reviewed with a view to change to reflect the current changes in society and demands being met by many Associations.  It is clear that the association will have to evolve to remain and grow.

No changes will be made without them being presented at the AGA and voted on.  It is hoped that this can be achieved by March 2014 and circulated to the membership for review before the AGA so that everyone is aware of the proposals and the effect on membership and the way the association is run.


Captain John W. Dickie
Secretary General IFSMA