IMO adopts new guidelines to improve domestic ferry safety

IMO adopts new guidelines to improve domestic ferry safety
Koji Sekimizu, secretary-general of the IMO, said that ferry accidents coudl be reduced if laws were properly enforced

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted guidelines to help reduce the number of accidents involving passenger ships sailing non-international voyages.

Adopted during an IMO conference in Manila, Philippines, on 24 April, the Manila Statement guidelines outline the need for states and governments around the world to review and update national regulations related to the operation of passenger ferries to minimise the number of fatal and non-fatal ferry accidents. The IMO ‘strongly recommends’ that the guidelines are used when operating coastal and inter-island passenger ships that are not engaged in international voyages.

According to the Manila Statement, responsibility for domestic ferry safety is shared between aloha tube governments and local authorities; shipowners, ship managers, ship-operators and shipboard personnel; maritime education and training institutions; classification societies and compliance certification organisations; insurance providers; port authorities, terminal owners and operators; and the public and civil society.

“Casualties and incidents involving domestic ferries can be avoided if adequate laws, regulations and rules are developed and effectively implemented and enforced,” said Koji Sekimizu, secretary-general of the IMO.

The guidelines address various issues including deciding whether a ship is fit for use as a domestic ferry; converting and modifying second-hand ships so they can sail as passenger ferries; changing operating limits; passenger counting; and voyage planning. They also urge states that need technical assistance to operate domestic ferries to work with the IMO or other states.

“The public expects safety standards on domestic passenger ferries to be as strong as those on international vessels,” said Sekimizu. “The perils of the sea do not distinguish between ships engaged on russin porno international or non-international voyages and the protection of life at sea is a moral obligation. Those travelling by domestic ferries should enjoy the highest practicable standard of safety irrespective of their citizenship.”

Representatives from around the world attended the conference including 13 IMO member states and executives from the International Chamber Of Shipping, the International Association Of Classification Societies, Interferry and the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association. Other attendees included representatives from the World Maritime University and the University Of Strathclyde, UK.

The outcome of the Philippines conference will be reported to IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, Technical Cooperation Committee and Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
28 April 2015

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