The safety regime is expected to contribute to fishing vessel improvement of safety standards. (Photo: International Maritime Organisation )
Conference adopts fishing vessel safety agreement
Monday, October 15, 2012, 00:20 (GMT + 9)
A diplomatic conference under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) this week adopted the “Cape Town Agreement of 2012” to make fishing vessels safer.
"IMO has spent five years of intensive discussions and preparation for this Conference and the Agreement carries heavy weight of expectation for bringing safety regulations in force accumulated over 35 years since the adoption of the Torremolinos Convention, which has not entered into force,” said IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu. “I encourage all IMO member states and those which has a large number of fishing vessels, in particular, to ratify the Agreement without delay."
The Cape Town Agreement of 2012 will enter into force 12 months after the date on which 22 or more States have expressed their consent to be bound by it. The Agreement will be open for signature for a year starting on 11 February 2013 and thereafter remains open for accession.
Enforcing a binding international safety regime is expected to help improve safety standards and reduce mortalities.
The Agreement updates and amends a number of provisions of the Torremolinos Protocol, including the following:
Unless expressly provided otherwise, the provisions apply to new vessels.
The Cape Town Agreement of 2012 allows for Administrations to exempt any vessel entitled to fly its flag from any of the requirements if it considers that the application is unreasonable and impracticable given the type of vessel, the weather conditions and the absence of general navigational hazards, provided:
(a) the vessel complies with safety requirements which will ensure the overall safety of the vessel and persons on board;
(b) the vessel is operating solely in permitted areas;
(c) the Administration notifies the Secretary-General of the terms and conditions on which the exemption is granted under this paragraph.
The International Fishing Vessel Safety Certificate is amended to state it is issued under the provisions of the Cape Town Agreement of 2012.
In addition, the conference adopted the following resolutions:
- Early implementation of the Agreement - urges States to become a Party to the Agreement as soon as possible to facilitate its early entry into force; and invites States to initiate action in accordance with the Agreement without awaiting its entry into force.
- Avoidance of a situation in which two conflicting treaty regimes are operational - declares that the Agreement replaces and supersedes the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol.
- Promotion of technical cooperation and provision of technical assistance – urges States to provide or help provide, in cooperation with IMO, assistance to those States which have difficulty in meeting the requirements of the Agreement and which request such assistance.
- Preparation of a consolidated text – requests the Secretary-General of IMO to prepare a consolidated text based on: the Agreement; the Torremolinos Protocol of 1993 and the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels,1977.
- Procedure for calculating the number of fishing vessels of each Contracting State by the Depositary.
- Expression of appreciation to the host Government.
By Natalia Real