TelestackTOC EventsVan AalstCimbriaTBA GroupThe Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology
  • The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology
  • Sailors Society
  • Port of South Louisiana
  • Cleveland Cascades Ltd
  • Cimbria
  • Bühler GmbH

Ships not operating in regulatory vacuum says ICS

(Posted on 11/09/18)

At the United Nations in New York, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is representing shipowners at the start of a major negotiation to agree a new legal instrument for the protection of the ocean under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – which will apply to ‘high seas’ areas ‘beyond national jurisdiction’.

Addressing government negotiators in New York on 5 September, ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson, highlighted the need to ensure that this UN initiative will not “unwittingly” impact on the effective future governance of global shipping, potentially interfering with principles such as freedom of navigation, or otherwise cutting across the work of shipping’s global regulator, the London-based UN International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“As a result of the global rules already provided by IMO, ships are not operating in a regulatory vacuum” stressed Esben Poulsson. “A shipowner’s activities are never beyond national jurisdiction, even on the high seas.”

ICS fully supports the objectives of the UN negotiations and the critical need to provide environmental protection for the ocean from activities such as fishing and seabed mining. However, ICS says these are activities which, unlike commercial shipping, do not enjoy a comprehensive framework of global regulation such as that which has been developed, over a period of 50 years, by the UN IMO and its 174 Member States.

ICS says this IMO framework already governs virtually every aspect of maritime environmental protection and is genuinely implemented on a worldwide basis. This includes a sophisticated mechanism for Port State Control enforcement, whereby all visiting ships are inspected for full compliance with global IMO standards, regardless of the flag state of the ship.

Of particular interest to ICS is that the new UN instrument is likely to permit area-based management tools such as Marine Protected Areas (MPAS) being developed for the high seas. ICS asserts that the detail and appropriateness of any future measures that might apply in such MPAs – for example special navigational measures to protect whales – should still be determined by the relevant specialist agency, in this case IMO, which has long experience of implementing MPAs for global shipping.

“IMO should always be the lead organisation for developing environmental rules that may affect international shipping” said Mr Poulsson. “IMO’s jurisdiction is broad and extends already to shipping activity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.”

There are around 80,000 merchant vessels engaged in international trade, operating outside of territorial waters, which must all adhere to IMO rules throughout the ship’s voyage, including the MARPOL Convention for pollution prevention.

The UN negotiations for the ‘Development of an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction’ are expected to conclude with the adoption of a new legal instrument by 2020.

The ICS Chairman was participating at a special event on shipping issues held for UN government negotiators, jointly organised at the UN in New York by ICS, IMO and the governments of the Marshall Islands and Norway, with the assistance of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association.  

Latest News

Potential officer shortage looms

(Posted on 29/07/21)

Launched this week, the new Seafarer Workforce Report from BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping... Read more


DNV backs crew change programme in SE Asia

(Posted on 29/07/21)

DNV, the world’s leading classification society and risk management expert, is embarking on an... Read more


IMI and Columbia sign cooperation agreement

(Posted on 29/07/21)

International Maritime Industries (IMI), the largest maritime yard in the Middle East and North Africa... Read more


Ocean Technologies helps seafarers minimise distractions

(Posted on 26/07/21)

Distractions are recognised as one of the biggest causes of human error resulting in incidents, accidents... Read more


The BMA recognises first mental health training course

(Posted on 26/07/21)

The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has announced that it has recognised the Seafarer Mental Health... Read more


ClassNK grants innovation endorsement Tsuneishi

(Posted on 20/07/21)

Leading Classification Society ClassNK granted its first Innovation Endorsement “Provider Certification... Read more


Jamaica’s successful women can serve as an example

(Posted on 20/07/21)

World shipping can learn a lot from Jamaica when it comes to equality in the maritime workplace because... Read more


DNV verifies Survitec’s new firefighting foam tests

(Posted on 15/07/21)

Classification society DNV has issued a verification statement allowing global survival technology specialist... Read more


METIS contributes digital expertise to EU sustainability project

(Posted on 15/07/21)

METIS Cyberspace Technology is contributing to an EU-backed project that will test clean energy solutions... Read more


Wärtsilä launches major carbon-free solutions test programme

(Posted on 15/07/21)

The technology group Wärtsilä continues to lead the ongoing transformation of the energy and... Read more


Sailors SocietyCleveland Cascades LtdTMS Awards 2021Coaltrans Asia 2021Port of StocktonPort of South Louisiana
  • TMS Awards 2021
  • Coaltrans Asia 2021
  • Port of Stockton
  • Vigan

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest global news in bulk cargo handling and shipping