BIMCO welcomes first peek through the Maritime Single Window


From 2019 new mandatory requirements on electronic exchange of information will require public authorities to establish systems to assist ship clearance processes.

BIMCO attended the 41st session of the IMO’s Committee on Facilitation Committee (FAL 41). It was held from 4 to 7 April 2017 in London. 

The following important items were on the agenda:

Maritime Single Window

FAL 40 in 2016 adopted amendments to the FAL Convention on new mandatory requirements on electronic data interchange.  By Spring 2019 public authorities have to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information to assist ship clearance processes.

Following these amendments, FAL 41 discussed how such a system could be developed and implemented taking into account that some countries already have different Maritime Single Windows (MSW) in place. It was discussed whether a prototype of MSW should be established by:

  • reusing one of the existing systems and/or parts of such systems
  • developing a completely new prototype taking into account the experience of others MSW systems
  • doing nothing and allow MSW’s to be implemented without further coordination. 

FAL 41 felt constrained from giving full support to any of the options presented above owing to lack of information about the scope and plans, as well as budget and resource implications. Such information will be submitted for discussion at the FAL meeting next year.

FAL 41 agreed to develop new Guidelines for setting up a single window system, and to develop Guidance on authentication, integrity and confidentiality for the exchange of electronic information.

Guidelines on the facilitation aspects of protecting the maritime transport network from cyber threats

FAL 41 endorsed the content of the interim guidelines on maritime cyber risk management (MSC.1/Circ.1526) and it will now be sent to the 97th session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 97) for final adoption. MSC 97 will take place in July 2017. It will then become a joint MSC/FAL circular addressing both the ships, cargo and the port.

The interim guidelines provide high-level recommendations on maritime cyber risk management to safeguard shipping from current and emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities. They supplement the industry guidelines for cyber security on board ships.

Reduce administrative burdens in IMO instruments

Administrative burdens generated by the FAL Convention was discussed. A FAL circular was prepared informing on the subject of disembarking sick/injured persons. 

Section 2 H of the annex to the FAL Convention relates to special measures of facilitation of ships calling at ports to put ashore sick or injured crew members, passengers, persons rescued at sea or other persons for emergency medical treatment.

The FAL Convention requires that "Public authorities shall inform the master, before the arrival of the ship, of the documentation and the procedures necessary to put the sick or injured persons ashore expeditiously and to clear the ship without delay". To reduce the administrative burdens for the ship, the new circular encourages public authorities to share the relevant information among themselves.

Publications relating to ship/port interface

The IMO secretariat will start revising a list of existing publications relating to the ship/port interface. The new FAL circular will be prepared for the next session of the Facilitation Committee. Being represented in the list, BIMCO will contribute to this work.

Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl
in Copenhagen, DK


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