IMO initiative for closer counter-piracy co-operation
IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu met Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in January 2012, at UN Headquarters in New York. They discussed matters related to IMO’s work and cooperation between the UN and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to combat Somalia-based piracy. It was the first time the two had met after Mr. Ban’s reappointment as Secretary-General of the United Nations and Mr. Sekimizu taking the office of Secretary-General of IMO.
The meeting followed the endorsement of IMO’s work in this area, reiterated in November 2011 by the Security Council and the recent report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/662 of 25 October 2011), in which the UN Secretary-General encouraged UN Member States and multinational organizations to consider how they could contribute further to address the root causes of piracy, including through developing land-based initiatives to strengthen Somali and the regional maritime and law enforcement capacity.
Mr. Ban agreed with the view of Mr. Sekimizu that capacity building in Somalia and neighboring countries should be enhanced through cooperation between IMO and UN, UN specialized agencies and other relevant international organizations.
This initiative will build on IMO’s existing capacity-building activities under the Djibouti Code of Conduct, funded by the Djibouti Code Trust Fund.
Mr. Sekimizu further informed Mr. Ban about plans to organize a Counter-piracy Capacity-building Conference on 15 May at IMO Headquarters, as well as high-level policy debate on arms on board to take place on the first day of the 90th session of the Maritime Safety Committee on 16 May. Mr. Sekimizu encouraged high-level participation to these events from the UN.
IFSMA response to Costa Concordia accident
IFSMA wishes to record its profound sadness about the loss of passenger ship Costa Concordia and wishes to extend sincere condolences to the families of all passengers and crew who were victims of the accident.
IFSMA also wishes to register its deep concern about the Costa Concordia accident, and in particular the subsequent rush to condemn the ship’s master, and ship’s owner Costa Crociere, before any investigation or criminal inquiry has been completed.
IFSMA believes the press and public vilification of the master is prejudicial and in serious breach of his rights to justice and a fair trial. IFSMA believes the way in which ‘information’ about the circumstances of the accident has emerged is in direct contravention of the principles of ‘fair treatment’, as set down in the International Maritime Organization/International Labour Organisation guidelines – most notably the right to protection against coercion and intimidation from any source during or after any investigation into a maritime accident.
IFSMA is concerned that the vast amount of highly derogatory publicity about the master’s alleged actions serves as another highly regrettable example of the criminalization of the maritime profession and threatens to do considerable damage to the efforts to recruit and retain a sustainable supply of maritime professionals.
IFSMA also believes that the massive media speculation – much of it highly ill-informed – will serve to direct attention away from the long-standing concerns over aspects of the design, construction and operation of large passenger ships.
STCW Manila seafarer training amendments enter into force on 1 January 2012
Major revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention), and its associated Code enter into force on 1 January 2012, with a five-year transitional period until 1 January 2017.
The “Manila Amendments” were adopted at a Diplomatic Conference in Manila, Philippines, held in June 2010, and are aimed at ensuring that the necessary global standards will be in place to train and certify seafarers to operate technologically-advanced ships for some time to come.