Inside the Issues

Work within the IMO

The IMO is the United Nations agency responsible for developing international regulation for the shipping industry.

This includes measures to deal with safety, the environment, technical co-operation, legal issues and security.

The ITF, as a social partner speaks on behalf of more than one million international maritime workers. Our aim is to ensure that maritime workers’ interests are addressed and protected when any new regulation is being considered. IMO conventions are of importance to seafarers because they have a direct impact on living and working conditions. 

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The IMO is made up of representatives of the flag states. The ITF has observer status. This means that we can have an input into discussions but no vote on any decisions that are taken. The ITF designates an accredited representative to the IMO, in addition representatives and experts from ITF affiliates participate in the various committee and sub-committee meetings.

The ITF ongoing four prioritised projects within the IMO:

Human element / fatigue and manning

The human element of maritime work is a long standing issue at the IMO. The ITF delegation at the IMO represents the interests of the world’s seafarers in the development of the regulatory framework that affects all levels of human activity within the maritime industry. 

Undermanned ships and seafarer fatigue is a persistent problem that has been a longstanding concern of the ITF. There is an evident link between seafarer fatigue and reduced manning level. 

In order to enforce the proper implementation of the existing regulations, the integration of operational manning into minimum safe manning shall be pursued.

STCW / STCW-F

The IMO Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) requires all seafarers to be certified and trained according to the new standards that were established and amended in 2010. However, some of current regulations are still without proper recognition and unified interpretation that are going to be discussed and amended from 2020 when STCW is open for a revision.

In addition, the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F), 1995 provides requirements for seafarers in fishing vessels. The revision of STCW-F was commenced in 2017, the ITF delegates have been actively participated.

Automation 

To ensure the appropriate balance between autonomous systems and human control and responsibility for the management of such systems, the ITF has been formulating strategic and operational actions in line with the development in the industry. The ITF has addressed  deliberations at the IMO to protect seafarers’ rights and well-being by establishing a Ship Automation Working Group.

Industrial personnel

Industrial personnel are maintenance workers for facilities in offshore activities. In order to protect seafarers from unjust replacement, the ITF has been successfully called for a robust definition of industrial personnel. The ITF delegation is actively pushing for a new mandatory instrument at the IMO.

IMO committees with ITF participation: 

  • Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC): Ballast Water Management Convention, Energy efficiency Design Index (EEDI), GHG emission, Air pollution
  • Legal Committee (LEG): Provision of Financial Security in Case of Abandonment of Seafarers, Fair Treatment of Seafarers in The Event of a Maritime Accident
  • Maritime Safety Committee (MSC): Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS) scoping exercise and Automation, Life Saving Appliances, Passengers ships safety, Low flash point fuels, Polar Code, Port State Control regarding proper implementation of regulations, Industrial personnel
  • Facilitation Committee (FAL): Global Single Window, Certification, Electronic certificates, Shore Leave
  • Technical Co-operation (TC): Any relevant agendas

The ITF is active in all seven sub-committees:

  • Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SCD)
  • Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR)
  • Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR)
  • Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE)
  • Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW)
  • Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC)
  • Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III)

ITF participation at the IMO and other forums in 2018:

  • 5th Session of Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction, 22-26 January 2018: An overarching principle –Human Element- of Assembly resolution 1111(30), the carriage of more than 12 Industrial personnel, new guidelines for safe mooring operations for all ships
  • 5th Session of Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response, 5-9 February 2018: Revised guidance on ballast water sampling and analysis, safety and pollution hazards of chemicals and the IBC Code, the impact on the Arctic of emissions of Black Carbon, standards for shipboard gasification of waste systems, amendments of MARPOL Annex VI the prevention of air pollution from ships, use of electronic record books
  • 5th Session of Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue, 19-23 February 2018: Guidelines on standardized modes of operation, S-mode, Consequential work related to the new Polar Code, Modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), Guidelines on harmonized aeronautical and maritime search and rescue procedures and training matters
  • 5th Session of Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment, 12-16 March 2018: Amendments of SOLAS chapter III Life Saving Appliances and LSA Code, New requirements for ventilation of survival crafts, Consequential work related to new Polar Code, Fire protection of ro-ro spaces in ro-ro passenger ships, Onboard lifting appliances and anchor handling winches, Development of guidelines for cold ironing
  • 72nd Session of Marine Environment Protection Committee, 9-13 April 2018: Reduction of GHG Emission from ships, Energy efficiency in shipping encompassing enforcement of new Sulphur content (0.50 % m/m), MARPOL Annex VI amendments, efficient enforcement of Ballast Water Management Convention, Carriage of heavy fuel oil in Arctic ocean, Impact of marine plastic litter, ratification of Ship Recycling Convention, 2009 (Hong Kong Convention).
  • Maersk Network Group Meeting, 9 April 2018: New culture about autonomous ship
  • Industry Working Group on Human Element, 10 April 2018: A newly established Working Group in participation with NGOs recognising the utmost importance of Human Element, which only became the overarching principle under the IMO strategic direction 2018- 2023 (IMO SD 2018- 2023).
  • 105th Session of Legal Committee, 23-25 April 2018: Provision of Financial Security in Case of Abandonment of Seafarers, Fair Treatment of Seafarers in The Event of a Maritime Accident, Enforcement of human element as work programme to the Committee, Legitimate scoping exercise regarding Marine Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS)
  • International Forum on Seafarers Education, Training and Crewing, 10 May 2018: Presentation of the ITF work regarding Human factor in particular fatigue and seafarers’ well-being
  • 99th Session of Maritime Safety Committee, 16-25 May 2018: Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS) scoping exercise and Automation, Life Saving Appliances, Updating drafting of Polar Code
  • 42nd Session of Facilitation Committee, 5-8 June 2018: Global Single Window, Certification, Electronic certificates, Shore Leave, Maritime corruption

Upcoming participation in 2018

  • 5th Session of Sub-committee on human element, training and watch-keeping, 16-20 July 2018: Information will be updated
  • 5th Session of Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers, 10-14 September 2018: Information will be updated
  • 5th Session of Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments, 24-28 September 2018: Information will be updated
  • 73rd Session of Marine Environment Protection Committee, 22-26 October 2018: Information will be updated
  • 100th Session of Maritime Safety Committee, 3-7 December 2018: Information will be updated