Action at IMO to stop fraudulent shipping


Fraudulent registration of ships and fraudulent registries, which have been used as a cover for criminal activities, was high on the agenda of the 106th session of the IMO Legal Committee, taking place in London from 27 to 29 March.

Preventive measures, including a “register of registries” and guidance on best practice to combat the problems, were recommended by a Working Group. The proposals will be taken forward through an intersessional correspondence group. BIMCO was represented as an observer at the meeting.

Wide-ranging discussions on other issues under the committee’s purview included the status of the Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) Convention. Twelve Contracting States are required to trigger the entry into force mechanism. Four States are currently party while several governments reported progress towards ratification.

BIMCO strongly supports the HNS Convention and is pushing for its ratification together with other industry associations.

Recommendations made by a Working Group were adopted, setting out the basis and methodology of a scoping exercise to examine Legal Committee conventions impacting on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). Relevant instruments were listed, and work will be undertaken to identify regulatory gaps.

The position of abandoned seafarers was noted. The 2014 financial security amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 have helped to resolve some cases. However, not all States have accepted the amendments and repatriation of seafarers is sometimes blocked by ports insisting on minimum manning of abandoned ships. States that have not already done so were urged to ratify MLC 2006 and the 2014 amendments.

Arising from concerns about the inconsistent application of limitation rights, a new agenda item “Unified Interpretation on the test for breaking the owner’s right to limit liability under the IMO conventions” was added to the work programme. The proposal was supported by the shipping industry and informal intersessional work will be coordinated by the International Group of P&I Clubs.

Other matters discussed included piracy, fair treatment of seafarers following a maritime accident and technical cooperation in relation to maritime legislation.


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