IMO tackles distress, safety issues at sea

IMO tackles distress, safety issues at seaSigns new pact to support sustainable shipping

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has commenced moves to evaluate the prompt response to distress and safety from seafarers at sea.

The group is expected to meet the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue this week, focusing on core areas of IMO’s work relating to safety at sea.

Besides, the deployment of e-navigation would also be considered, focusing on harmonization and standardisation, which is key to the effective implementation of the e-navigation strategy.

The e-navigation strategy aimed to harness the benefits of integrated high-tech navigation solutions. Draft Guidelines on standardised modes of operation (S-mode) will also be considered.

This is coming as the IMO recently signed a new partnership agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The agreement, according to the organisation, would help promote sustainable shipping through a range of safety- and environment-focused capacity-building activities in the maritime and port sectors in selected countries.

“It brings together IMO, the United Nations maritime agency which sets global standards for safe, secure, efficient and environment-friendly international shipping, and the multilateral development bank EBRD, which has experience in supporting comprehensive transport related development activities and practices in the maritime and port sectors,” it stated.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, and the First Vice President of the EBRD, Phil Bennett.

Coomenting on the development, Lim said: “This strategic partnership, combining IMO’s global mandate and outreach and EBRD’s experience and expertise on investment and finance, is expected to contribute a great deal to sustainable maritime transport and the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

As part of the United Nations family, IMO is actively working towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated SDGs. Most of the elements of the 2030 Agenda will only be realized with a sustainable transport sector supporting world trade and facilitating the global economy.

The IMO/EBRD MoU represents the first such arrangement to be established between IMO and a multilateral development bank.

In addition to providing investment financing, IMO and EBRD will also work together under the agreement to provide technical advisory services, project preparation and planning, capacity building and institutional development. This will focuse initially on joint projects with the national authorities of Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.

On the safety at sea, the IMO would review progress in its ongoing work to modernise the Global Maritime Distress and Safety system (GMDSS).

The GMDSS was adopted in 1988 to ensure full integration of maritime radio and satellite communications so that distress alerts can be generated from anywhere on the world’s oceans. The modernization plan aims to update the provisions, including allowing for the incorporation of new satellite communication services.

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