Q. When can the objective of IMO regarding shipping being safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable be met?
IMO’s role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective. Maritime Industry is truly global, which means that the infrastructure should be universally implemented. It must promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping. IMO however, does not do policing over the members. Thus, the benefits from such a regulatory framework can only be fully achieved when all Member States carry out their obligations as required by the instruments to which they are Parties.
Q. In respect of IMO’s objectives, what is the responsibility of a Member State? What would be IMO’s role in this respect?
Member States have the primary responsibility to establish and maintain an adequate and effective system to discharge their obligations as Flag, Port and/or Coastal States emanating from applicable international law. IMO can assist Member States to improve their capabilities and overall performance in order for them to fully comply with the IMO instruments to which they are Parties.
Q. What is the IMO Member State Audit Scheme?
The IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) had commenced as a voluntary scheme in 2006. It actually became operational in January 2016. It aims to promote the consistent and effective implementation of applicable IMO instruments and to assist Member States to improve their capabilities, whilst contributing to Member State’s overall performance in compliance with the requirements of the instruments to which it is a Party. The audit scheme, using the IMO Instruments Implementation Code as the audit standard, aims to provide an audited Member State with a comprehensive and objective assessment of how effectively it administers and implements those mandatory IMO instruments.
Q. To implement III, principles, what amendments were done in 2016?
Audits under the Scheme became mandatory on 1 January 2016. For the institutionalization of the Scheme the following IMO instruments were amended:
- The SOLAS 1974.
- The STCW 1978.
- The STCW Code.
- The Protocol of 1988, Load Lines Protocol.
- The COLREG 1972.
- The LL 1966.
- The TONNAGE 1969.
- The Annex of the Protocol of 1978 Marpol 73/78.
- Annex of the Protocol of 1997 Marpol 73/78.
In accordance with the above amendments, each Member State, as a Contracting Government or Party, is responsible to:
- facilitate the conduct of the audits; and
- implement a programme of actions to address the findings, based on the guidelines adopted by the Organization, Resolution A 1067 (28).
The guidelines are on the Framework and Procedures for the IMO Member State Audit Scheme.
Q. Who is entrusted the overall responsibility for administering the audit scheme?
The Secretary-General of the Organization is vested with the responsibility for administering the audit scheme.
Q. What information is available in GISIS regarding the audit?
The audits are conducted in accordance with the overall audit schedule following the procedures adopted by the Organization and are planned, conducted, and reported on, through the MSA module in GISIS.
Q. How does a Member State become aware of the ESR and CAP of other Member States?
One authorized person from each Member State has full access to the audit reports from other Member States, including executive summary reports (ESR), corrective action plans (CAP) and each Member State’s ‘Comments on the Progress of the Implementation of its Corrective Action Plans’ (CPICAP).
Q. When was III code adopted?
Resolution A.1070(28) Adopted on 4 December 2013, ‘INSTRUMENTS IMPLEMENTATION CODE (III CODE) revoking resolution A.1054(27) on the Code for the Implementation of Mandatory IMO Instruments, 2011.
Q. Where can one find the framework and procedures for the IMO Member State Audit Scheme?
Resolution A.1067(28) adopted on 4 December 2013, provides ‘Framework and Procedures for the IMO Member State Audit Scheme’. The purpose of this Framework is to describe the objective, principles, scope, responsibilities and capacity-building aspect of the IMO Member State Audit, which together constitute the strategy for the audit scheme. The Framework is supported by the Procedures for the IMO Member State Audit and the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code).
Q. What are the responsibilities of Secretary General in respect of audit scheme?
The Secretary-General is responsible for:
- administering the audit scheme;
- formal appointment and maintenance of an appropriate list of audit team leaders and auditors;
- establishing an audit team for each Member State Audit;
- ensuring that audit team leaders and auditors are competent;
- concluding a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Member State to be audited, prior to the audit;
- communicating the agreed executive summary report to all Member States or the public;
- maintaining appropriate records of the findings and observations of the actual audits of Member States; and
- ensuring that the audits are planned in accordance with the overall IMO audit schedule.
Q. How is a nation encouraged and assisted to ensure smooth and efficient conduct of the audit?
The Secretary General provides assistance to developing and least developed countries. In fact he ensures that the audit team is provided with all pertinent information to facilitate smooth and efficient conduct of the audit in respect of any country. The Member State to be audited has the opportunity of receiving a visit by the audit team leader in advance of the actual audit, in order to be provided with information about the intention behind the scheme, the scope of the audit, how such an audit is carried out.
Q. What are the responsibilities of audit team leader?
The audit team leader is responsible for:
- the detailed planning of the actual audit;
- ensuring that the audit team is fully acquainted with pertinent information;
- the conduct of audit interviews and meetings, etc. in accordance with the Procedures, and assigning and maintaining overall responsibility over the other team members conducting.;
- preparing and completing the audit reports and the mission report;
- reporting details of any finding and/or observation to the audited Member State;
- preparing and agreeing with the Member State the executive summary report to be submitted to the Secretary-General;
- assisting in the verification of corrective actions taken by the Member State; and
- conducting a relevant follow-up audit.
Q. What is the relevant audit cycle?
Audit of all Member States shall be conducted at periodic intervals not exceeding seven years and shall be based on an overall schedule developed by the Secretary-General of the Organization, based on the following principles:
1. The audit schedule should be determined from:
- a random pick of Member States, who did not complet an audit under the voluntary Scheme; and
- then followed by audit of Member States which completed a voluntary audit in the order in which they were audited.
2. The Secretary-General notifies each Member State of the projected date of its audit as soon as possible but not less than 18 months in advance.
Q. What is the provision about nomination of auditors?
The Member State nominates an auditor, having demonstrable auditing skills and techniques.
Thus, skills obtained through:
ISM Code auditor training course; or
IMO Member State auditor training course.
The following personal qualities and qualifications are also taken into account:
- initiative, judgement, tact, sensitivity and the ability to maintain harmonious working relations facing unintended obstacles, multicultural environment, etc;
- the ability to write clearly and concisely;
- full command of at least one of the six official IMO languages;
- in-depth knowledge of the functions of an Administration;
- good knowledge of the IMO’s regulatory framework, including relevant instruments; and
- good knowledge of computers, etc.
Q. What is the objective of IIII code?
The objective of this Code is to enhance global maritime safety and protection of the marine environment and assist States in the implementation of instruments of the Organization.
Q. In what way, the responsibilities under III code differ for a State?
By virtue of geography and circumstance, some States may have a greater role as a flag State than as a Port State or as a Coastal State, whilst others may have a greater role as a Coastal State or a Port State than as a flag State.
Q. What strategy must be followed by a State to fulfill the objectives of III Code?
In order to meet the objective of this Code, a State is recommended to:
- develop an overall strategy to ensure that its international obligations and responsibilities as a Flag, Port and Coastal State are met;
- establish a methodology to monitor and assess that the strategy ensures effective implementation and enforcement of relevant international mandatory instruments; and
- continuously review the strategy to achieve, maintain and improve the overall organizational performance and capability as a Flag, Port and Coastal State.
Q. What are the responsibilities of a Flag State?
A Flag State should take all necessary measures to secure observance of international rules and standards by ships entitled to fly its flag and by those under its jurisdiction.
Such measures should include:
- prohibiting flag ships from sailing until they comply with the requirements of international rules and standards;
- the periodic inspection of flag ships to verify that the condition of the ship and its crew is in conformity with the certificates it carries;
- ensuring through periodic inspection that seafarers assigned to the ships are familiar with: . their specific duties; and ship arrangements, installations, equipment and procedures;
- ensuring that the ship’s complement, can effectively coordinate activities in an emergency situation and in the performance of functions vital to safety or to the prevention or mitigation of pollution;
- provisions of regulations, for penalties of adequate severity to discourage violation of international rules and standards in national legislation, by the flag ships;
- provision of investigation of flag ships violating international rules and standards, irrespective of where the violation has occurred;
- providing, in national laws and regulations, for penalties of adequate severity to discourage violations of international rules and standards by individuals issued with certificates or endorsements under its authority; and
- instituting proceedings, after an investigation against these individuals irrespective of where the violation has occurred.
Marine safety investigations should be conducted by impartial, qualified and knowledgeable personnel
Q. What are the responsibilities of a Coastal State?
Coastal States have certain rights and obligations under various international instruments. When exercising their rights under those instruments coastal States incur additional obligations. Accordingly, the relevant legislation, guidance and procedures are established for the consistent implementation and verification of its rights, obligations and responsibilities contained in the relevant international instruments to which it is a party. The areas of concern would be:
- radio communication, aids to navigation services;
- hydrographic services, meteorological services and warnings;
- search and rescue services; and
- ships’ routeing, ship reporting systems, vessel traffic services;
Accordingly, a Coastal State should consider, develop and implement a control and monitoring programme, as appropriate.
Q. What are the responsibilities of Port State envisaged in III Code?
Port States have certain rights and obligations under various international instruments. When exercising their rights under those instruments, Port States incur additional obligations. Port States can play an integral role in the achievement of maritime safety and environmental protection, including pollution prevention. The role and responsibilities of the Port State with respect to maritime safety and environmental protection is derived from a combination of international treaties, conventions and national laws as well as, in some instances, from bilateral and multilateral agreements.
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