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Shipping Gazette

Latest maritime and legal news from Panama and around the world

Panama, January 2010

Volume 2, Number 01

In this issue:

  1. Welcome

  2. Annual taxes - two important deadlines not to miss – The 2010 Panamanian shipping taxes and Panamanian company tax/p>

  3. Panama Marine Circulars - Know your circulars – This month MM Circulars numbers 172 & 201

  4. Panama Maritime Chamber– Seeks international projection by inviting overseas shipping professionals and companies to join.

  5. Panama Canal Update

  6. IMO Update – Panama re-elected to Category A in the IMO Council

  7. Climate Change

  8. Hong Kong Recycling Convention

  9. 2009 IMO Awards for Exceptional Bravery at Sea

  10. Anti-piracy Resolution adopted by IMO

  11. IMO Assembly agrees to make audit scheme mandatory

  12. 2009 MODU Code

1. WELCOME

Welcome to the 2010 first issue of the Shipping Gazette, a publication brought to you by the Maritime Department of xxx Group.

Recently, the Panamanian maritime industry had a double celebration; the re-election of Panama in the category A in the IMO council, and the award given to the Panama Canal CEO from the Maritime Industry at the IMO.

An important item and reminder this month for shipowners with Panamanian registered ships is that January is annual tax time. If shipping taxes payment is not received before January 31st 2010, the vessel would not be tax cleared, meaning that no administrative procedures could be done like the purchase of log books, issue or renewal of certificates, etc, until taxes are paid. You will find all the information and instructions for payment on this issue. Similar treatment applies to annual franchise tax for companies or foundations registered in Panama.

So welcome once again to Shipping Gazette; our aim is to help you in your business and moreover, in your relationship with us as Panamanian lawyers and as a bridge between your ship/concerns and the Panamanian Registry.

Please feel free to share this newsletter with colleagues or anyone you believe would be interested in receiving it.


2. Annual taxes - two important deadlines not to miss – The 2010 Panamanian shipping taxes and Panamanian company tax

For Panamanian registered ships

Statements of account are issued by the Maritime Authority of Panama (AMP); the deadline to pay Annual Tax 2010 for Panamanian registered ships is January 31st, 2010.

Unpaid taxes after 31 January 2010 will be subject to 10% surtax and 1% interest per month. Shipowners and ship managers are advised to send the payment well in advance of the deadline to avoid delays.

As legal representatives and resident agents for your ships can assist shipowners and ship agents by collecting and proceed with the payments directly to the National Treasury and AMP on your behalf.

Every year we send thousands of statements to our clients, if you have not received the statement yet, please contact us immediately so we can obtain for you the statement of account.

Please send us immediately your request with the name of your vessel(s) so we can follow up and assist you to avoid any surcharges.

For Panamanian and Foreign Corporations (or Foundations) registered at the Public Registry Office of Panama

The Annual Franchise Tax (Tasa Única Anual) is paid by all Panamanian and Foreign Corporations (or Foundations) registered at the Public Registry Office of Panama. It is the only tax paid by Panamanian Offshore (Non-Resident) Corporations or entities. According to the current legislation, the Annual Franchise Tax payment deadlines are as follows:

For companies registered between

Deadline

Amount

July to December of any year

January 15th of each year

US$ 300.00

January to June of any year

July 15th of each year

US$ 300.00

Surcharge of US$50.00 for any late payment per year

Additional penalty: US$300.00 for two (2) consecutive or alternate periods (years) due and unpaid

Have you failed paying Company tax for more than a year? Your company may be at risk!

Under the new legislation corporations or foundations registered in the Republic of Panama, during 2005 onwards with unpaid Annual Franchise Taxes for ten (10) consecutive years will be automatically dissolved. First dissolutions are expected to be during 2015.

If you need assistance in bringing up to date any Annual Franchise Tax (Tasa Unica Anual) for Panamanian registered companies or foundations, please contact us with the names of the corporations. Details of payment dues and service fees will be e-mailed to you with no obligation.


3. Panama Marine Circulars Update

MMC no. 172 - Correction of Deficiencies found in PSC Inspections

  • Panamanian Merchant Marine Circular 172 requests that shipowners, managers, and masters are in the obligation to report immediately to the Panamanian Port State Control Section all PSC inspections reports and send a copy of the PSC Inspection Report.
  • This procedure shall be included in the ISM manual of the vessel.
  • The actions taken by the operators/owners to correct the deficiencies found during PSC inspections must be send, duly documented ( including as evidence photos, invoices, certificates, etc if applicable), as soon as possible to the Panamanian Port State Control section using the format in appendix I of Merchant Marine Circular 172: “Correction of Deficiencies Reports” Form (F-JERP-02-01);

The Recognized Organization shall send the survey report to the Panamanian Port State Control section in cases where the attendants of the Recognized Organizations are required.

We strongly recommend when submitting the reports, to send us a copy to our office, to locally monitor and follow the matter with the Panama Maritime Authority.

MMC no. 201- Correction of Deficiencies found in ASI Inspections

  • In order to improve the exchange of information regarding Annual Safety Inspections (ASI) to Panamanian Flagged vessels, this Administration requires to all Masters, Owners/Operators to report to our Flag State Section the corrections of deficiencies raised due to an Annual Safety Inspections within the next 30 days, as it is stated on the ASI Form, Page No. 8 to the following email address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This procedure shall be included in the vessel’s ISM manual
  • The actions taken by the operators/owners to correct the deficiencies found during ASI inspections must be send, duly documented (pictures, if it is required), as soon as possible to the section mentioned on the previous paragraph
  • Please be advised that the correction of deficiencies shall be sent by the Masters, Operators/Owners using the format in appendix I of this Merchant Marine Circular: “Monitoring and Correction of Deficiencies Reports” Form (F-IASI-01-01).

The entire Merchant Marine Circular can be seen by going to the following link: http://segumar.com/HTML%20Merchant%20Marine%20Circulars/201.pdf

 We strongly recommend when submitting the reports, to send us a copy to our office, to locally monitor and follow the matter with the Panama Maritime Authority.

Do you have all the Merchant Marine Circulars on board?

It is the responsibility of Shipowners, operators, agents and masters of merchant vessels to ensure that the Panamanian Merchant Marine Circulars are maintained updated and placed on board the vessels and that the contents of each circular are read, observed and followed by all the crew and all persons concerned.

If you need assistance obtaining the publications or any other matter related to this subject, please send us an email

You can download all the Merchant Marine circulars from the webpage of SEGUMAR of the Panama Maritime Authority http://segumar.com/circulars.htm

Source: Panama Maritime Authority – Segumar - Merchant Marine Circulars - www.segumar.com


4. Maritime Chamber of Panama – Seeks international projection by inviting overseas shipping professionals and companies to join.

The not-for-profit organisation has been actively involved in discussions with the new Government regarding revision of several laws and regulations, most of them aimed at attracting investors and making the process of acquiring concessions as user-friendly and transparent as possible. Several innovative projects for the maritime industry have been presented to the Maritime Authority of Panama and are under review for implementation. The Chamber will be very soon starting a campaign to attract shipowners from all over the world to join the Chamber. The Chamber Directors hope that with more international shipowners involved, the association will have an even stronger clout when it comes to negotiations with the Panama Canal and the Maritime Authorities.

The President of the Chamber’s International Affairs Commission is Capt Orlando Allard, who after retiring from the Panama Canal with more than 30 years of service is actively involved in promoting the Chamber projects.


5. Panama Canal Update

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors.

Panama Canal CEO Receives Most Prestigious Award from the Maritime Industry at the IMO

For steadily steering the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) toward a business oriented enterprise focused on customer service, and for successfully initiating the historic expansion of the waterway, ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta received the 2008 "International Maritime Prize" from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) - the United Nations agency for shipping and maritime issues. Secretary-General of the IMO, Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, presented the award to Mr. Alemán Zubieta during a special ceremony held November 30 at the IMO headquarters in London, the United Kingdom.

"In this role, Mr. Alemán Zubieta has the heavy responsibility of ensuring the integrity, smooth operation and uninterrupted flow of traffic through one of the world's busiest and most strategic shipping lanes and, nowadays, of also overseeing its expansion - a major decision indeed, necessitated by increasing traffic demand and an overwhelmingly endorsed mandate by a national referendum held in October 2006. Under his watch, the provisions of important IMO instruments, such as the SOLAS, Load Lines and MARPOL Conventions and the Collision Regulations, are implemented by through traffic, having been incorporated into the Authority's regulations, even though, as an internal body of water, the Panama Canal is not subject to them," Mr. Mitropoulos added.

Mr. Aleman Zubieta accepted the award on behalf of the more than 9,000 employees of the Panama Canal Authority; “This is a proud moment for my country and for me personally. I accept this award on behalf of all Panamanians, who continue to value and support our country's important role as a key link in the great, vital chain of world commerce." - Mr. Alemán Zubieta added.

The "International Maritime Prize" is considered the industry's most prestigious award, presented annually to an individual or organization judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of the IMO.

Mr. Alemán Zubieta first served as the administrator of the Panama Canal Commission under the U.S. government. He then served as the first administrator of the ACP, which eventually became the autonomous Panamanian government agency in charge of the waterway after the U.S. handover of the Canal on December 31, 1999. Under Mr. Aleman Zubieta's leadership, the ACP successfully shifted its operations from a profit-neutral utility to a market-oriented business model. Mr. Alemán Zubieta oversees the Canal's $5.25 billion Expansion Program, which will double the waterway's capacity, allow more traffic and the transit of longer and wider ships.

To date, expansion is on track, on budget and has received numerous accolades from the industry.

About the International Maritime Prize

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council, comprised of representatives from 40 countries, awards the International Maritime Prize annually to the individual or organization that has made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of the IMO. The winner of the Prize is presented with the award at a special ceremony and invited to write a paper on a subject related to the Organization's objectives and work for publication by the IMO. The paper is published in the IMO's quarterly magazine, IMO News.

Sources: ACP - www.pancanal.comwww.imo.org

Panama Canal Receives World-Class Certification for Environmental Management

The Panama Canal Authority's (ACP) Environment Division received ISO 14001-2004 certification resulting from an audit performed by Lloyd's Register Central and South America Inc., during an official ceremony November 17. The recognition underscores the ACP's commitment to protect and maintain its natural resources, and validates its efforts to ensure the Canal provides safe, reliable and efficient service to its customers.

The ACP sought the certification because of its firm commitment to the protection of the environment. Moreover, receiving this recognition confirms that the ACP is implementing robust management procedures.

ISO standards are implemented by more than 610,000 organizations in 160 countries. These standards help to enrich quality management at organizations, including enhancing customer satisfaction and continually improving performance. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a non-governmental organization, is the "world's largest developer of standards" (http://www.iso.org/).

ACP's Environment Division ISO certification will be valid for a period of three years through 2012. The ACP received its first Environmental Management ISO (14001-1996) certification in 2003.

Other departments and divisions at the ACP have received ISO certification, including the Operations Department, the Contracting Division, the Industrial Shipyard, Electrical and Aqueduct Divisions and the Safety Division.

Source: ACP - www.pancanal.com

Panama Canal Authority Requests Proposals for New Atlantic Side Vehicular Crossing Study

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released a request for proposals to select a contractor to conduct a study on vehicular crossing alternatives on the Canal's Atlantic side. The scope of work includes analyzing the feasibility of building either a bridge or a tunnel north of the existing Gatun Locks and the new post-Panamax locks complex, and subsequently, determining the best alternative.

Interested contractors have 30 days to submit their proposals for this non-negotiated best value bid. A committee of ACP engineers will evaluate the proposals and reserves the right to contract the services of external consultants to make recommendations on the submissions. The technical portion of the proposals will constitute 65 percent of the total score, while the price proposals will represent 35 percent.

The ACP expects to award the contract in January 2010. The selected contractor will have seven months to present the studies.

Source: ACP - www.pancanal.com

Panama celebrates 10 years of successful Canal administration

December 31, 2009 marked a decade of management of the Panama Canal by Panama. This vital trade artery has long stood as one of the world’s most recognized and respected engineering marvels and a crucial link in the global supply chain. Building on this, the decade of Panamanian stewardship and leadership has been evidenced by change, achievement and growth. By nearly every measure, the Canal’s role in world trade and value to global commerce has increased significantly in the past 10 years.

“Through trade booms and economic recession, the ACP has steadfastly provided excellent service to our customers and world trade,” said Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board Chairman and Minister for Canal Affairs Romulo Roux. “After the handover in 1999 and shifting our business model from a profit-neutral utility to a market-oriented business model, we never lost sight of our vision and responsibility to global trade. I believe that has been a key tenet of the Canal’s success.”

After a decade of Panamanian management, ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta spoke of his vision for Panama’s hopeful future. “Reflecting over the past decade, I am proud of what we have achieved,” he said. “Proud of the employees of the ACP, proud of our accomplishments and proud of Panama. We have achieved goals that some thought were daunting and overcome obstacles that, at times, seemed insurmountable.”

“I am honored to have been granted the opportunity to serve along 9,000 hard-working Panamanians, at a time of such importance to Panama and the Canal. Indeed, the accomplishments of the past 10 years give me the confidence to look forward with optimism. We continue to break new ground with the expansion, the largest project since the Canal’s original construction, and we are on track for a 2014 completion. An expanded Canal will open new doors for world trade and growth. And our fundamental mission is clear: the business of the Canal is to provide customers with safe, reliable and efficient service. We take this role seriously and look forward to years of service to come.”

During a December 31 ceremony in Panama to commemorate the anniversary, Panama President Ricardo Martinelli gave the final speech highlighting that the Canal has been managed in a safe, reliable and efficient manner during the past 10 years. He added that “the Canal is a matter of pride not only for Panamanians, but also for the international community.” President Martinelli raised the Panamanian flag at the Panama Canal Administration Building during the ceremony attended by ACP Board members, Mr. Alemán Zubieta and other officials and noted guests.

Source: The Maritime Executive


6. International Maritime Organization Update

IMO Assembly re-elects Panama as a member of its Council

The 26th session of the IMO Assembly was held at IMO Headquarters, London, from 23 November to 4 December 2009. The Assembly is IMO’s governing body. All 169 Member States and three Associate Members are entitled to attend, as are the 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. It is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organization. It also elects the Council, which is the executive organ of IMO responsible for supervising the work of the Organization.

The Assembly on its 26th session elected the following States to be Members of its Council for the 2010-2011 biennium:

Category (a)
10 States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services

China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States.

Category (b)
10 States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade

Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain, 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, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey

At the opening of the Assembly meeting, Mr. Roberto Linares, Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority spoke about the exemplary work conducted by the IMO and how much Panama has invested, in terms of effort, enthusiasm hard work to fulfil its responsibilities before the international maritime community. He added that the Panamanian Registry has evolved tremendously since its origins back in 1925, reaching at this point a high level of efficiency and quality –somehow demonstrated by successfully passing in 2008 the IMO voluntary audit. At this time, Panama is responsible for the largest merchant fleet in the world, with 8,686 ships, which represents 22.3% of the world´s fleet.

Source: IMO - www.imo.org & Maritime Authority of Panama - www.amp.gob.pa

Review of the work of the IMO

At the opening of the 26th session of the Organization's governing body, the Assembly, the Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos told delegates that, in spite of the inherent difficulties of a continuously and rapidly changing landscape, the Organization had displayed an ability to master situations as they emerge rather than allowing itself to be mastered by them. He also said that the alarming escalation in incidents of piracy and armed attacks on merchant ships had been a dominant and unwelcome theme throughout the past biennium, with the recent upsurge in pirate activity off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, and now beyond the Horn of Africa and in the wider expanses of the western Indian Ocean, turning this phenomenon into a global issue.

In repressing acts of piracy and robbery against ships in the affected waters, IMO has worked closely with the United Nations (including the Security Council, the World Food Programme and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime) and with various intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (both global and regional, such as the African Union and the League of Arab States), as well as with political and defence entities (such as the European Union, NATO and the Combined Maritime Forces). "I consider it imperative that we, in the maritime community, re-double our efforts to combat piracy in all its forms, bearing in mind that it is not a cause, but a symptom," Mr. Mitropoulos said.

Referring to the forthcoming Copenhagen conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Secretary-General reminded delegates that, "It is my hope that, when transport emissions are discussed in Copenhagen, the peculiarities of shipping (as an industry uniquely international in character, which is, to a great extent, registered in developing countries) are taken fully into account - and also that, against IMO's excellent track record on environmental issues, the Organization continues to be entrusted with the regulation of shipping while pursuing, with consistency and an admirable sense of responsibility, its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping operations," he added.

Looking ahead, Mr. Mitropoulos said that a Diplomatic Conference was scheduled to be convened in Manila in June 2010, to adopt revisions to the STCW Convention and Code, to ensure that both meet the challenges facing the shipping industry today and those anticipated in the foreseeable future.

Appropriately, he added, "2010: Year of the Seafarer" has been chosen as the theme for next year's World Maritime Day, to provide, first and foremost, an opportunity for tribute to be paid to seafarers for their unique contribution to society; to show them what good care the Organization takes of them; and bring home the message that they should be treated fairly in the event of an accident.

"The theme will also complement the "Go to Sea!" campaign, which we launched in November 2008, in association with the International Labour Organization, the "Round Table" of shipping industry organizations and the International Transport Workers' Federation, to help address the industry's looming labour supply crisis.

The IMO Assembly reviewed the updated strategic and high-level action plans and the related results-based budget for 2010-2011 as well as the work carried out by the Organization during the biennium 2008 - 2009. Highlights of accomplishments reviewed include:

  • The adoption of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, in May 2009;
  • The adoption of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to significantly reduce the emission of air pollutants from ships, in October 2008;
  • The significant efforts made to develop a regulatory regime to address greenhouse gas emissions from ships;
  • Efforts to prevent and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, and
  • The successful delivery of IMO's capacity building activities in developing countries.

Adoption of resolutions

A number of draft resolutions were submitted by the Maritime Safety, Marine Environment Protection, Legal and Facilitation Committees for adoption by the Assembly, which will also consider, for adoption, any resolutions submitted by the Council's 25th Extraordinary Session, which met prior to Assembly. Of these, a total of 21 Resolutions were adopted by the IMO Assembly. Topics covered by such resolutions include:

  • Further development of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme;
  • Piracy in waters off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden;
  • Guidelines for ships operating in polar waters;
  • Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units, 2009 (2009 MODU Code);
  • Code on Alerts and Indicators, 2009;
  • Issuance of bunkers certificates by States to ships registered in a bareboat registry;
  • Technical co-operation; • Application and revision of the guidelines on the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases;
  • Revised Code for the Implementation of Mandatory IMO Instruments; and
  • Revised Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification.

7. Climate Change

During the 100th Session in June 2008, the IMO Council unanimously agreed to the suggestion of IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos to declare World Maritime Day theme for 2009 “Climate change: a challenge for IMO too!”

At the time, Mr. Mitropoulos said that this theme would offer industry the opportunity to focus on an urgent issue of global dimensions and thus galvanize action at all appropriate levels of the Organization to add IMO's contribution to world efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, thus, present to the climate change Conference in Copenhagen, taken place during this month, a robust position, reflecting the Organization's determination to respond to its responsibilities decisively and effectively.

As a shipowner, how will this affect you?

In the context of how the maritime industry can help mitigate the devastating effects of climate change through the prevention of air pollution from ships, several IMO instruments and regulations addressing this subject have been promulgated, while others are just months from entering into force.

Briefly and to get a sense of how IMO has been addressing the issue, regulations for the

Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships were adopted in the 1997 Protocol to MARPOL 73/78 and are included in Annex VI of the Convention. However, amendments to Annex VI were adopted on October 2008 during the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting. The revised Annex VI will enter into force on 1 July 2010, under the tacit acceptance acceptance procedure, an IMO process that speeds up the entry-into-force date. The revised measures are expected to have a significant beneficial impact on the atmospheric environment and on human health particularly that of people living in port cities and coastal communities.

Amendments to the associated NOx Technical Code were adopted as well, including a new chapter based on the agreed approach for NOx regulation of existing (pre-2000) engines established in MARPOL Annex VI, and provisions for direct measurement and monitoring methods, a certification procedure for existing engines, and test cycles to be applied to Tier II and Tier III engines. Revised Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems and Guidelines for the development of a VOC management plan were also adopted.

Main changes to MARPOL Annex VI will see a progressive reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) missions from ships, with the global sulphur cap reduced initially to 3.50% (from the current 4.50%), effective from 1 January 2012; then progressively to 0.50 %, effective from 1 January 2020, subject to a feasibility review to be completed no later than 2018. The limits applicable in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) will be reduced to 1.00%, beginning on 1 July 2010 (from the current 1.50 %); being further reduced to 0.10 %, effective from 1 January 2015. Progressive reductions in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from marine engines were also agreed, with the most stringent controls on so-called "Tier III" engines, i.e. those installed on ships constructed on or after 1 January 2016, operating in Emission Control Areas.


8. Hong Kong Recycling Convention

France has become the first country to sign, subject to ratification, the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009. The Hong Kong Convention was adopted at a diplomatic conference in May 2009. It is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment. The Convention will enter into force 24 months after the date on which 15 States, representing 40 per cent of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, have either signed it without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval or have deposited instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the IMO Secretary General. Furthermore, the combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of those States must, during the preceding 10 years, constitute not less than 3 per cent of their combined merchant shipping tonnage.

The Convention addresses all major issues surrounding ship recycling, including the fact that ships sold for scrapping may contain environmentally hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, ozone-depleting substances and others. It also addresses concerns raised about the working and environmental conditions at many of the world's ship recycling locations.

Regulations in the new Convention cover: the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships; the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, incorporating certification and reporting requirements.


9. 2009 IMO Awards for Exceptional Bravery at Sea

The IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea was established by the Organization to provide international recognition for those who, at the risk of losing their own life, perform acts of exceptional bravery in attempting to save life at sea or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment - and, by so doing, help to raise the profile of shipping and enhance its image.

Commending all the nominees at the Award Ceremony, Secretary-General Mitropoulos said that the event had provided the opportunity "to honour and pay tribute to courageous men and women, all of whom have displayed heroism, valour, courage and dedication under life-threatening conditions prevailing at the time of their remarkable acts".

The 2009 IMO Awards for Exceptional Bravery at Sea were presented to a professional rescue swimmer who, in Arctic conditions, single-handedly rescued eight crew members of a foundered vessel in the Bering Sea, and to two amateur sailors who rescued three people from a sunken yacht in very heavy weather off a remote South Pacific coral reef.

In a linked ceremony, Certificates for Exceptional Services Rendered to Shipping and Mankind were presented to the Commanding Officers, Officers, Petty Officers and Crews of navy ships (from EU and NATO member countries and several other individual countries from various regions), which have participated in the international efforts to repress piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. In addition to the Bravery Awards themselves, IMO also presented “Certificates to Highly Commended Nominees” for their actions reflecting exceptional bravery.

The Secretary-General also presented Certificates for Exceptional Services Rendered to Shipping and Mankind to the Commanding Officers, Officers, Petty Officers and Crews of navy ships that have participated in the international efforts to repress piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, thanking them "for their dedication, their courage, their commitment and for the sacrifices they make".


10. Anti-piracy Resolution adopted by IMO

The 26th IMO Assembly adopted on 2 December 2009 a resolution on piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia, which, among other things, condemns and deplores all acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, irrespective of where such acts have occurred or may occur.

Building on resolution A.1002(25), adopted by the Assembly in 2005, the new resolution welcomes the decision, taken on 30 November by the United Nations Security Council (through resolution 1897 (2009)), to renew, for a period of 12 months, its previous authorizations for States and regional organizations co-operating with the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use all necessary means to fight piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Somali coast, provided advance notification was given by the TFG to the United Nations Secretary-General.

The IMO Assembly resolution (A.1026(26)) supports the Security Council resolution by appealing to all parties that may be able to assist, to take action (within the provisions of international law) to ensure that all acts or attempted acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships are stopped and any plans for committing such acts are curtailed; and that hijacked ships and any persons on board are immediately and unconditionally released and that no harm is caused to them. The resolution also recommends that, when navigating through the Gulf of Aden, ships should follow the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor and take the advice and guidance provided by the relevant entities. States are strongly urged to take all necessary legislative, judicial and law-enforcement action to enable them to receive and prosecute or extradite any pirates or suspected pirates and armed robbers captured by warships or military aircraft, or other ships or aircraft clearly marked and identifiable as being on government service. The Assembly also adopted the revised Code of Practice for the Investigation of the Crimes of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, updating the Code of Practice adopted by resolution A.922(22) in 2001.


11. IMO Assembly agrees to make audit scheme mandatory

The IMO Member State Audit Scheme, which at the present time is voluntary, will be made mandatory. The plan entails that the scheme will be phased in as an institutionalized, mandatory scheme, through the introduction of appropriate requirements in the relevant mandatory IMO instruments. Amendments to these instruments would be adopted in 2013, for entry into force in January 2015. The Assembly also adopted amendments to the Code for the Implementation of Mandatory IMO Instruments, 2007, which serves as the audit standard for the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme. The amendments update the Code, to take into account amendments to mandatory IMO instruments that have entered into force or become effective since it was last revised, in 2007.

Other Codes, Resolutions and Guidelines adopted by IMO Assembly Guidelines for ships operating in polar waters

These new guidelines are based on the Guidelines for ships operating in Arctic ice-covered waters but have been substantially updated and extended to also cover the sea area off the Antarctic. They are intended to be applied to ships constructed on or after 1 January 2011, although Governments are invited to apply the guidelines, as far as possible, before that date.


12. 2009 MODU Code

The new Code revises and updates the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units adopted in 1989 (resolution A.649(16)) and provides an international standard for mobile offshore drilling units of new construction, to facilitate the international movement and operation of these units and ensure a level of safety for them, and for personnel on board, equivalent to that required by the SOLAS Convention and the 1988 Protocol to the Load Lines Convention for conventional ships engaged on international voyages. The 2009 Code is intended to be applied to MODUs constructed on or after 1 January 2012.

Code on Alerts and Indicators, 2009

Intended to provide general design guidance and to promote uniformity of type, location and priority for alerts and indicators required by the SOLAS Convention (including relevant performance standards) and by the MARPOL Convention, as well as by other associated instruments and codes, this new Code updates, revises and replaces the Code on Alarms and Indicators, 1995 (resolution A.830(19)).

Bunkers Certificates for ships in bareboat registry

This resolution aims to provide guidance to the Part responsible for the issuance of Bunkers Certificates in respect of ships registered in a bareboat registry (i.e., when a vessel is temporarily permitted to fly the flag of another country while ownership remains in the underlying registry), by recommending, in part, that all States Parties to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001, recognize that Bunker Certificates should be issued by the flag State if it is a Party to the Convention.

Resolution of stowaway cases

This resolution recognizes the need to revise the Guidelines on the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases (resolution A.871(20), adopted in 1997) to align them with section 4 (on stowaways) of the Annex to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965, (FAL Convention) as amended, prescribing standards and recommended practices on matters relating to stowaways (which were adopted in 2002 and which entered into force on 1 May 2003).

Source: IMO – www.imo.org

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