A wide range of resolutions was adopted by the 27th Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which met at IMO's London Headquarters November 21 to 30. Besides resolutions urging Governments to continue efforts to combat piracy and establishing June 25 each year as the "Day of the Seafarer," the Assembly also adopted IMO's action and strategic plans, its budget for 2012 to 2013 and several updated codes and guidance documents.
The Assembly is the last to be held with Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos (Greece) as IMO's Secretary-General. His second four year term ends December 31 and the Assembly endorsed the decision of the IMO Council in June to elect Mr. Koji Sekimizu (Japan) as IMO Secretary-General, to start a four-year term on January 1, 2012.
The Assembly is IMO's highest governing body. All 170 Member States and three Associate Members are entitled to participate, as are intergovernmental organizations with which agreements of co operation have been concluded, and non-governmental organizations in consultative status with IMO. The Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session.
Piracy and armed robbery against ships
The resolution on piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia condemns and deplores all acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, appeals to all parties that may be able to assist to take action, within the provisions of international law, against piracy and urges governments to do everything in their power, promptly, to ensure that ships entitled to fly their flag comply with the preventive, evasive and defensive measures detailed in the best management practice guidance already promulgated through IMO.
It also urges Governments, taking into account the interim recommendations and guidance developed by the Organization, to decide, as a matter of national policy, whether ships entitled to fly their flag should be authorized to carry privately contracted armed security personnel and, if so, under what conditions. In addition, port and coastal States are strongly urged to promulgate their national policies on the embarkation, disembarkation and carriage of privately contracted armed security personnel and of firearms, ammunition and security-related equipment to be used by such personnel on board ships; and to make those policies and procedures known to the shipping industry, to the providers of privately contracted armed security personnel, and to all Member Governments.
Strategic and High-level Action Plans
IMO's High-level Action Plan for 2012-2013 sets out in detail the planned outputs for the two year period and links them to the six-year Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan identifies strategic directions and specific actions aimed at addressing current trends, developments and challenges, including:
- piracy and armed robbery against ships;
- the impact of global shipping activities on the environment, including the need to contribute to international efforts to reduce atmospheric pollution and address climate change;
- the need to eliminate sub-standard shipping;
- the implementation of security measures while ensuring that the flow of seaborne trade continues to be smooth and efficient;
- identifying shipping activities and incidents that could have an adverse impact on the environment and developing corresponding preventive measures;
- the need to place increased emphasis on the contribution of the human element to safer, more secure and environmentally friendly shipping;
- the continuing challenge of safety of life at sea;
- the implementation of effective measures to address the issues of migrants transported by sea, stowaways and the humanitarian aspects of piracy and armed robbery against ships;
- ensuring an equitable and sustainable means of funding for the integrated technical co-operation programme and to improve its delivery, efficiency and effectiveness; and
- ensuring that technological developments adopted are conducive, as applicable, to enhancing maritime safety, security, protection of the environment and facilitation of international maritime traffic, and take into account the need for their global application.
The Assembly adopted the Organization's budget for the next biennium, agreeing to a total appropriation of £62,206,200, comprising an appropriation of £30,520,200 for 2012 and an appropriation of £31,686,000 for 2013.
Altogether, 27 resolutions were adopted by the Assembly:
- A.1033(27) Day of the Seafarer
- A.1034(27) Appreciation of the services to the Organization of Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos
- A.1035(27) Approval of the appointment of the Secretary-General
- A.1036(27) Appointment of the external auditor
- A.1037(27) Strategic Plan for the Organization (for the six-year period 2012 to 2017)
- A.1038(27) High-level action plan of the Organization and priorities for the 2012-2013 biennium
- A.1039(27) Results-based budget for the 2012-2013 biennium
- A.1040(27) Presentation of accounts and audit reports
- A.1041(27) Arrears of contributions
- A.1042(27) Revision of the Organization's financial regulations (effective 1 January 2012)
- A.1043(27) Periodic review of administrative requirements in mandatory IMO instruments
- A.1044(27) Piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia
- A.1045(27) Pilot transfer arrangements
- A.1046(27) World-Wide Radionavigation System
- A.1047(27) Principles of minimum safe manning
- A.1048(27) Code of Safe Practice for Ships carrying Timber Deck Cargoes, 2011 (2011 TDC Code)
- A.1049(27) International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (2011 ESP Code)
- A.1050(27) Revised recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships
- A.1051(27) Procedures for port State control, 2011
- A.1052(27) Survey guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC), 2011
- A.1053(27) Code for the implementation of mandatory IMO instruments, 2011
- A.1054(27) IMO/WMO Worldwide met-ocean information and warning service guidance document
- A.1055(27) Issue of Bunkers Certificates to ships that are also required to hold a CLC Certificate
- A.1056(27) Promotion as widely as possible of the application of the 2006 Guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident
- A.1057(27) Issue of Wreck Removal Certificates to bareboat registered vessels
- A.1058(27) The collation and preservation of evidence following an allegation of a serious crime taking place on board a ship or following a report of a missing person from a ship, and pastoral and medical care of victims
- A.1059(27) Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations
December 1, 2011