Monday, September 5, 2011

IMO fishing vessel safety conference to be held in South Africa in 2012

The IMO Council agreed to the convening of a diplomatic conference in South Africa, in 2012, for the purpose of adopting an Agreement on the Implementation of the 1993 Protocol relating to the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels.  The Agreement would amend the technical provisions of the 1993 Protocol and bring them into force.
The safety of fishermen and fishing vessels forms an integral part of the Organization’s mandate but the instruments on fishing vessel safety which have previously been adopted by the Organization have not come into force due to a variety of technical and legal obstacles and the fishing sector is still experiencing a large number of fatalities every year.  Bringing into force a binding international safety regime is expected to play a part in helping reverse that trend.
The decision by the IMO Council to hold the 2012 conference follows the endorsement of the draft Agreement by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in May 2011.  The Committee had undertaken extensive work to review the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol and address impediments to its entry into force.  The MSC also agreed to the proposed draft amendments to the annex to the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol, which would be attached to the Agreement.
Once the Agreement is in force, countries which are Party to it could consider implementation of the technical requirements of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol under the terms and conditions contained in the Agreement. The Agreement would be a new, legally binding, instrument, offering a firm foundation to implement the amended technical provisions of the Torremolinos Protocol.