The recent IMO Assembly adopted a resolution urging governments to continue their efforts to combat piracy and armed robbery against vessels off Somalia.
At the meeting held between 21st and 30th November, the Assembly also passed a resolution firmly establishing 25th June each year as the ‘Day of the Seafarer’.
The resolution on piracy said that the IMO condemned and deplored all acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, irrespective of where such acts occur, or may occur; and expressed deep sympathy for the loss of seafarers, while in captivity, for their plight while held hostage in appalling conditions, often for long periods of time and for their families.
Among other things, the resolution strongly urged governments that have not already done so 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 (BMP4) already promulgated through IMO.
It also urged governments to decide, as a matter of national policy, whether their vessels should be authorised to carry privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) and, if so, under what conditions.
In addition, port and coastal States were strongly urged to promulgate their national policies on the embarkation, disembarkation and carriage of PCASPs and of firearms, ammunition and security-related equipment to be used by them on board ships; and to make those policies and procedures known to the shipping industry, to the providers of privately contracted armed security personnel, plus to all member governments.
The resolution also said that governments should encourage their owners and operators to consider the provision of post-traumatic care for seafarers attacked, or held hostage by pirates and for their families and, in so doing, take into account recommendations and good practice guidance produced by the IMO, the shipping industry and welfare organisations.
Governments should establish, as necessary and when requested, plans and procedures to keep substantially interested states informed, as appropriate, about the welfare of seafarers in captivity on their vessels, measures being taken for the early release of such seafarers and the status of payment of their wages.
Altogether, 27 resolutions were adopted by the Assembly at the meeting.
As for the IMO’s Council, the following states were elected as members for the 2012-2013 biennium:
Category (a) 10 States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services:- China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, South Korea, Russia, UK and US.
Category (b) 10 States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade:- Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.
Category (c) 20 States not elected under (a) or (b) above, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world: - Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.
The Council is the IMO’s executive body and is responsible, under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the organisation.
Between sessions of the Assembly, the Council performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making
recommendations to governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.
The newly elected Council met following the conclusion of the 27th Assembly for its 107th session.