Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2020

1 4 1 with domestic (national) regulations. Nonetheless, many countries base their national regulations on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards. What are the fundamental flaws in this system that the IMO and others are seeking to resolve? Fundamentally, all passengers on all ships worldwide should be able to expect the same level of safety. The SOLAS Convention regulates international shipping, recognising that ships trade between nations and therefore global standards are needed. This means that ships trading domestically are subject to only domestic regulations. However, IMO has a mandate and remit in its establishing convention “to encourage the general adoption of the highest practicable standards in matters concerning maritime safety and efficiency of navigation”. While the SOLAS regulations apply to ships on international voyages, IMO has supported the development of GlobalReg standards, a comprehensive modular set of standards comprising harmonised regulations and model national legislation applicable to non-Convention ships. Bearing in mind the unacceptably high number of ferry accidents with often high or very high numbers of fatalities, the IMO Secretariat has looked at publicly available information related to domestic ferry safety. More than 30 apparent causes of accidents have been identified including: second-hand ferries being unfit for purpose, often due to botched conversions; operational issues such as overloading and overcrowding; poor management and lack of shoreside support; and a lack of, or inadequate, regulation and enforcement. Consequently, there are a range of issues that all need to be addressed. What are the specific barriers to adopting a global approach to domestic ferry safety? Domestic ferry services may ply specific routes and there may be differences in climate, weather, length of voyage and so on. There may also be big differences in demand and supply through the year. But some things are universal. For example, there is a fundamental need for seaworthy vessels, including fully functioning communications and navigation equipment, life-saving appliances and fire-fighting gear. Crew training, good management and shoreside