[download id=”291″]The IMO’s Voluntary International Maritime Organization Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS) is to be welcomed rather than feared, delegates to a landmark Caribbean workshop have been told.
“The audit is not to be feared. The aim is to assist us in seeing the things we are doing right and fixing the things that need fixing,” Rear Admiral Peter Brady told delegates attending this week’s five-day workshop, being hosted by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica in Kingston (May 2nd to 6th). “It is best that we do it now while the scheme is voluntary, as in a number of years, not too long from now, it will become mandatory in a different form. Those of us who opt to take up the challenge now will be ahead of the game,” he advised.
Formally opening the workshop, Admiral Brady, Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, said: “Shipping, while it has its own unique features, is like any other business – efficiency, transparency and high standards are the trademarks of success and the VIMSAS scheme will undoubtedly help us in the region to achieve those goals. ”
The MAJ believes that this important course will give Flag State administrators the tools to oversee their country’s preparation to be audited. Jamaica will be audited in September 2011.
The workshop will be delivered under the IMO/Singapore Third Country Training Programme. Its aim is to take administrators through VIMSAS requirements, emphasizing the critical information for the audit. The mandatory IMO instruments will be reviewed to note the areas of particular interest under flag, port and coastal State obligations, including reception facilities and pollution prevention provisions, and how a State would incorporate these into their national legislation.
Mr. Lam Yi Young, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore is attending the conference along with representatives from the International Maritime Organization and the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control. In his opening remarks Mr Young said: “Our experience with VIMSAS has further reinforced our view that the scheme is crucial in raising the overall quality of shipping. In developing this workshop, Singapore worked with the IMO on a programme that aims to help participants understand the objectives of the VIMSAS and its various aspects such as the preparation for the audit, the audit process and follow-up actions. We are glad that we now have the opportunity to share our experience at this regional workshop for the Caribbean countries.”
Rear Admiral Peter Brady said: “Jamaica has been a member of the IMO since 1976 and has strongly supported the efforts of the Organization to establish internationally accepted regulations to more effectively promote the ideals of maritime safety, security, improved working conditions for seafarers and pollution prevention measures. Jamaica firmly believes that the efficiency of regional and international shipping and the maritime industry in general rest on these tenets.
“This workshop represents a further consolidation of Jamaica as an important supporter of IMO policy and work. As a responsible maritime State we are pleased to be able to provide this support for our region,” Admiral Brady said.
Notes to Editors:
• Photograph attached- Left to right: read Admiral Peter Brady, Ms Tatjana Krilic, IMO Member State Audit Officer and Mr Lam Yi Young, Chief Executive Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), Singapore.
Background to the Audit Scheme
• The Voluntary International Maritime Organization Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS) was introduced by the IMO in 2005 to ensure Member States are giving full and complete effect to the international maritime conventions that they are party to. The aim of the audit scheme is to address the existence of sub-standard shipping, as although various schemes are in place to ensure safe, secure and environmentally friendly shipping, the international maritime community still has to contend with those who seek to operate below the minimum standards. Maritime Administrations are therefore responsible for promulgating laws, regulations and policies and taking necessary steps to meet their obligations under the instruments to which they are a party so as to ensure that a ship is fit for the service for which it is intended and is manned with competent personnel in order to ensure safety of life and protection of property and the marine environment. The audit aims to be comprehensive and objective in its assessment of how effectively Member States implement, administer and enforce these obligations.
• The scheme is revolutionary, as the IMO, the United Nationals specialized agency for maritime activities, has come ashore to enquire into the activities of administrations.
• Further, while the maritime administration is the focal point of the audit, there are other primary agencies whose roles put them in direct or indirect association with the flag, port and coastal obligations of these mandatory conventions. As such, other agencies will be audited in-as-much as their activities relate to these instruments. The primary ones are Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard, the Port Authority of Jamaica (Harbours Department), Caribbean Maritime Institute, Hydrographic Office, Customs, National Environment and Planning Agency, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Solid Waste Management, Marine Police and Spectrum.
The mandatory IMO instruments are:
• International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended (SOLAS 1974);
• International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 73/78);
• International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW 1978);
• International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (LL 1966) and Protocol 1988 (LL Prot 1988);
• International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships 1969 (Tonnage 1969; and
• Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972, as amended (COLREGS 1972).