Background: 1. After having complied the necessary requirements, our country recently became a member of the IMO. The IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) with the objectives to improve maritime safety and to Prevent & Control Pollution of the Marine Environment. It was formerly known as the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO).
This international agency provides the only forum for the development of Global Maritime Safety Standards and Regulations.
Its convention drawn up in 1948 came into force in March 1948 when 23 Governments ratified it. Today, the IMO has 157 member states, 2 associate members, 56 non-government organizations, and 37 inter-governmental organizations. 2. The IMO formulates international shipping standard regulations and it is the responsibility of member countries to implement such regulations. The concerned country has the sole responsibility on implementing IMO regulations to all ships registered under its flag.
Among these regulations are the certificates issued to confirm the seaworthiness and the competence of the crew. On the other hand, Port State Control inspections shall be conducted to ships of foreign registry to ensure that said vessels comply with IMO rules and regulations. In order that the IMO be more understood and appreciated, the following subjects shall be discussed thoroughly: A. The Structure of IMO B.
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Participation in the development of IMO Conventions C. Alternative methodologies to give effect conventions nationally D. Procedures in amending a convention A. The Structure of IMO (see encl. “B”) The Organization consists of an Assembly, a Council, and main Committees: the Maritime Safety Committee; the Marine Environment Protection Committee; the Legal Committee; the Technical Co-operation Committee; and the Facilitation Committee. There is also a Secretariat, which is responsible to run the organization.
Assembly This is the highest Governing Body of the Organization consisting of all Member States and meets once every two years in regular sessions, but may also meet in an extraordinary or emergency sessions as necessary. The Assembly is responsible for approving the work programme, voting for the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organization. Council The Assembly elects the Council for two-year terms beginning after each regular session of the Assembly. It is responsible for supervising the work of the Organization. Between sessions of the Assembly the Council performs all the functions of the Assembly, except the function of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention, which is reserved, for the Assembly by Article 15 (j) of the Convention.
MAIN COMMITTEES a. Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) The MSC is the highest technical body of the Organization. It consists of all Member States. The functions of the Maritime Safety Committee are to “consider any matter within the scope of the Organization concerned with aids to navigation, construction and equipment of vessels, manning from a safety standpoint, rules for the prevention of collisions, handling of dangerous cargoes, maritime safety procedures and requirements, hydrographic information, log-books and navigational records, marine casualty investigations, salvage and rescue and any other matters directly affecting maritime safety.” b. The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) The MEPC, which consists of all Member States, is empowered to consider any matter within the scope of the Organization concerned with prevention and control of pollution from ships.
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Sub-Committees The MSC and MEPC are assisted in their work by nine sub-committees, which are also open to all Member States. They deal with the following subjects: Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) Carriage of Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC) Fire Protection (FP) Radio-communications and Search and Rescue (COMSAT) Safety of Navigation (NAV) Ship Design and Equipment (DE) Stability and Load Lines and Fishing Vessels Safety (SLF) Standards of Training and Watch keeping (STW) Flag State Implementation (FSI) c. Legal Committee The Legal Committee is empowered to deal with any legal matters within the scope of the Organization. The Committee consists of all Member States of IMO. d. Technical Co-operation Committee The Technical Co-operation Committee is required to consider any matter within the scope of the Organization concerned with the implementation of technical co-operation projects for which the Organization acts as the executing or co-operating agency and any other matters related to the Organization’s activities in the technical co-operation field.
e. Facilitation Committee The Facilitation Committee is a subsidiary body of the Council. It deals with IMO’s work in eliminating unnecessary formalities and “red tape” in international shipping. Participation in the Facilitation Committee is open to all Member States of IMO. Secretariat The Secretariat of IMO consists of the Secretary-General and nearly 300 personnel based at the headquarters of the Organization in London. The IMO Headquarters is currently based in 4 Albert Embankment, London with staff of some 300 people and an annual budget of $ 27.
8 Million. B. Participation in the development of IMO convention: Over the years IMO has adopted 40 Conventions and Protocols and numerous codes and recommendations relating to safety, pollution prevention, security measures, liability and compensation issues and facilitation of maritime traffic like the SOLAS, ISM Code, S TCW, MARPOL, SAR, CLC/I OPC Fund, Load line, OPR C and the like. In order to participate in the development process of these conventions, suggestion is first made in one of the committees, since these meet more frequently than the main organs. If agreement is reached in the committee, the proposal goes to the Council and, as necessary, to the Assembly. If the Assembly or the Council, as the case may be, gives the authorization to proceed with the work, the committee concerned considers the matter in greater detail and ultimately draws up a draft instrument.
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In some cases the subject may be referred to a specialized sub-committee for detailed consideration. After which, draft of the proposed convention shall be prepared and notice of invitation shall be sent to member states for their signatures, ratification, or accession as the case may be. A convention may enter into force after obtaining its approval either through EXPLICIT or TACIT procedure. C. Alternative methodologies to give effect conventions nationally State becomes a party to a convention by the process of Signature, Ratification, and Accession. A state not party to the convention cannot enforce the convention on the state parties.
A convention can be applied to non-party states, however, no favorable treatment doctrine shall be accorded. Ratification to a convention becomes a responsibility of a contracting state to implement it. Therefore, as contracting party to a convention, there are two ways on how to give effect conventions nationally: MONISTIC AND DUALISTIC METHODOLOGY. MONISTIC METHODOLOGY An international convention can become part of the domestic domain as a consequence of the state becoming a party to the convention provided the convention is self-executing or of direct effect or application. DUALISTIC METHODOLOGY There are technical conventions such as SOLAS and MARPOL are not self-executing because of numerous provisions that requires action for certain provisions, which are only acceptable to the status of Maritime activity in the National setting.
This in effect requires legislative action for the implementation of an international convention. Considering the political structure of our country, the dualistic methodology is the most appropriate way to integrate international conventions to national standards. For instance, a certain provisions in MARPOL conventions have been amended. Through the concerned agency involved in Maritime Safety regulation shall initiate and propose to the legislative body, in our case the Congress, a draft bill for the proper implementation of this convention. This in effect shall become a national law requiring shipping sectors to comply the necessary requirements as provided in the convention. Hence, international conventions are useless without its implementation and enforcement from the contracting parties.
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D. AMENDING A CONVENTION There are two ways on how to amend international conventions: Explicit and Tacit. EXPLICIT The amendment of the convention enters into force only after a 2/3 of contracting parties had accepted it. However, this process is too slow and amendments are at times overtaken by the technological development. TACIT This means that the body fixes a period within which contracting parties may notify their acceptance or rejection of the amendment.
The amendment enters into force when 1/3 of the contracting parties or 50% of the world’s GRT has not objected. On the other hand, this process has been viewed that it does not represent the real interest of all member states because the consultation is limited. 3. Monetary Contributions to the IMO budget are based primarily on the tonnage of its merchants vessels, therefore, is unique to every member state. 4. In view of the above, requested that an annual amount be allocated as this country’s contribution to the IMO.
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