Shipping Gazette Mar 10

Please see legal disclaimer and copyright information below

This Gazette was written exclusively for a client

Shipping Gazette

Latest maritime and legal news from Panama and around the world

Panama, March 2010 Volume 2, Number 02

In this issue:

  1. Welcome
  2. Panama Maritime Authority celebrates its XII anniversary
  3. Panama Marine Circulars – Know your circulars – This month MM Circulars numbers 119, 122, 190, 191, 201and 208
  4. Climate Change follow-up
  5. EU LEX update: Commission Recommendation of 21 December 2009 on the safe implementation of the use of low sulphur fuel by ships at berth in Community ports
  6. What’s new in Panama shipping scenes
  7. Panama Canal Update
  8. IMO Update


Welcome to our March 2010 edition of Shipping Gazette brought to you by the Maritime Department of a well known lawyer firm.

In this edition we have once again selected articles and news that we hope are of topical interest to the shipping industry, and in particular to shipowners and professionals working with Panama.

Our regular sections on the Panama Canal and IMO updates bring you important updates, as well as the latest changes in the Panamanian Merchant Marine scenes with new regulation being approved.

By now your Panamanian annual shipping taxes must be paid, however, if you have not done so, it is important to ensure your ship is tax cleared, as failure to do this will prevent you to obtain any administrative procedures, like the purchase of log books, issue or renewal of certificates, etc, until taxes are paid.

So welcome once again to Shipping Gazette; our aim is to help you in your business and moreover, in your relationship with us as Panamanian lawyers and as a bridge between your ship/concerns and the Panamanian Registry.

I hope that you will find our articles to be of interest; please feel free to share this newsletter with colleagues or anyone you believe would be interested in receiving it.

2. Panama Maritime Authority celebrates its XII anniversary

The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), the authority in charge of managing the world’s first registry in the world, celebrated during February 2010 the twelfth anniversary of its creation.

The immense contribution of all the AMP’s employees was recognised by the Administrator along the day which was filled with activities in honour of the largest shipping Administration in the world and its employees.

The Panama Maritime Authority was created by organic law number 7 of 10 February 1998.

Over eight thousand ships currently fly the Panamanian flag amounting nearly 200millon of tonnes registered in its book, Panama is the leader in the shipping world.

The AMP Administrator Mr. Roberto Linares expressed his satisfaction to be at the front of the authority that brought the country to the top in the world ranking. Mr Linares acknowledged the daily efforts and dedication of its employees and collaborators servicing the international maritime community to ensure they offered the excellence and professionalism captured within the mission and vision of the authority.

However it is important to mention that the registry of Panama is an open registry and dates back since 1925. Panama is the oldest open registry and has maintained its position at the top of the world registries since 1993 thanks to the trust of shipowners and financial institutions.

This firm of Lawyers is proud to work with the registry as well as shipowners, managers and financial institutions that trust their ships in our hands and our registry.

If you need information on shipping and ship’s registration, please contact us

3. Panama Marine Circulars Update

Recently the Panama Maritime Authority has revised and published new circulars on line;

Merchant Marine Circular No 119 Emergency Escape Breathing Devices (EEBD) REVISED Interpretation of item d: see MMC 122
Merchant Marine Circular No 122 Guidelines for the Maintenance and Inspection of Fire-Protection Systems and Appliances. Interpretation of MMC 119 (item d) Minimal revision of 11.1 (April 2003) Merchant Marine Circulars/122.htm
Merchant Marine Circular No 120 Issuance of Crew Accommodation Certificates Replaced by MMC No. 190 Merchant Marine Circulars/190.pdf
Merchant Marine Circular No 190 Guidelines for the Maintenance and Inspection of Fire-Protection Systems and Appliances. Interpretation of MMC 119 (item d) Minimal revision of 11.1 (April 2003) This MMC supersedes MMC 120 (above) Merchant Marine Circulars/190.pdf
Merchant Marine Circular No 191 Panamanian Administration Forms available on the website. Merchant Marine Circulars/191.pdf
Merchant Marine Circular No. 201 Correction of Deficiencies found in ASI Inspections February, 2009 Merchant Marine Circulars/201.pdf

MMC no. 202 –Ratification of the Bunker Convention 2001 – Revised – January, 2010 – Changes in paragraph 5

The Republic of Panama submitted, to the Secretariat of the IMO, the ratification of the Bunker Convention 2001 on February 17, 2009.

Since May 17, 2009, the Panamanian Administration has been issuing the Bunker Convention certificate to Panamanian vessels.

All the Certificates issued before May 17, 2009 by other Administrations to Panamanian vessels, will remain valid until their expiration date.

Panamanian Bunker Convention certificate can be obtained by filling the following documents:

  • Application form duly filled

  • Copy of the Blue Card issued by an authorised P&I club/insurer and addressed to:
    Panama Maritime Authority
    P.O. Box 0843-0533
    Balboa, Ancon, Panama, Republic of Panama

  • Payment. The cost of the certificate is US$250.00.

Panamanian Merchant Marine Consulates are authorised since November to issue the Bunker Convention Certificate using the same procedure. The cost of the Certificate, in the cases when the application is done through a Merchant Marine Consulate will be $250.00 plus a $100.00 Consular fee plus bank and communications charges.

Alternatively, you can contact our offices requesting assistance; we can send you an application form, or it can be downloaded directly by visiting Merchant Marine Circulars/191.pdf

IMPORTANT: the Panama Maritime Authority is able and will issue Bunker Convention Certificates to those ships flagged/registered under State not party to this convention.

  • Merchant Marine Circular No 206 – Recognition of Company Security Officers (CSO)
  • This circular is at present under revision. We will bring you the revised version once it is published.
Merchant Marine Circular No 208

Information on Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), the Best Management Practices for ships transiting the Gulf of Aden, the contact points of Coordinating Authorities and Ship’s Report for Piracy and Armed Robbery

The purpose of this merchant marine circular is to inform all parties concerned with Panamanian registered vessels of the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (“IRTC”), the Best Management Practices (“BMP”), the Ship’s Reports, and Contact Points of Coordinating Authorities whereby the ships entitled to fly the Panamanian flag may request advice or assistance when sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia and to which can report any security concerns about other ships, movements or communications in the area.

Any additional measures shall be approved by the Panama Maritime Authority.

This is the latest circulated issued by Panama on Piracy Prevention and based on a resolution dated December 2009.

We strongly recommend you to download the Merchant Marine Circular to ensure your office and personnel onboard are aware of the contents of this circular, also that requirements comply with your ISM system & manual.

If additional security measures are required (other than BMP), please contact Panama Maritime Authority at the following addresses:

Weekdays Weekends and Panama National Holidays
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+507 501-5037
Maritime Ships Security Department
+ 507 501-5350
SEGUMAR Office Merchant Marine Circulars/208.pdf

You can download all the Merchant Marine circulars from the webpage of SEGUMAR of the Panama Maritime Authority

Source: Panama Maritime Authority – Segumar – Merchant Marine Circulars –

4. Climate Change follow-up

After our article in our last issue (January 2010) on the work that IMO has been doing on Climate changes, this issues brings you an interesting briefing prepared by Lloyd’s Register and one of their Climate Change specialist, Dr. Anne-Marie Warris, who headed the LR delegation attending the UN climate meeting held in Copenhagen (COP15) on January 2010. It was commented the high hopes the shipping industry had on the meeting, but unfortunately we did not receive the outcome expected or desired.

On the briefings, Lloyd’s Register remarks the general expectation to reach a binding legal agreement at the UN climate meeting held in Copenhagen (COP15) on January 2010 however, they emphasise that shipping was a minor negotiating point under AWG LCA – and although there were hopes in shipping matters that any regulatory responsibility for international marine bunker fuels was going to be left with IMO. IMO has been working intensively for over a decade on this matter.

“With most vessels registered in developing countries (approx. 70%), and given the ease with which a vessel can be re-flagged, an additional expectation was that a way would be found to accommodate the IMO principle of ‘equal treatment for all ships’ regardless of flag, rather than the application of the UNFCCC principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility and capability’ (CBDR).

The outcome of COP 15 was the creation of the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ which while ‘noted’ as part of the conclusion of the Copenhagen meeting is not linked to the UN process and is non-binding and whose interaction with the continuing UNFCCC processes is unclear. There was also a UNFCCC decision to continue with the work that was started in Bali in 2007 and which includes both AWG LCA and AWG KP.

In anticipating any further outcome from UNFCCC negotiations it is necessary to consider the political interaction between the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ and the UNFCCC approach to negotiations. While the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ has no formal UN legal standing, the signatories to it – all member bodies of both UNFCCC and IMO – are anticipated to be ‘guided’ by the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ in future negotiations at both IMO and UNFCCC.

Therefore, it is possible to envisage that the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ may be the first part of a jigsaw to negotiate a new Protocol at UNFCCC level.

The above translate into no decision made on international bunker fuels at Copenhagen and the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ makes no mention of shipping. However, with the decision to continue the AWG LCA negotiations and with the inclusion of international bunker fuels in the AWG LCA negotiation text that was produced for Copenhagen, it is expected that the international use of marine bunker fuels to be part of future AWG LCA negotiations, the next planned negotiation sessions are June and December 2010.

What does this mean for regulation of the CO2 emissions from international marine bunker fuel?

  1. The Kyoto protocol will continue in force, refer to Article 2.2 in relation to IMO activities.

  2. The work at IMO as set out in the work plan agreed at MEPC 59 will continue.

  3. CBDR remains part of the negotiations and hence is still a challenge for IMO MEPC.

  4. Regional schemes are now more likely: The EU has committed to regulation and the United States is drafting regulation.

Next steps – the importance of China and stakeholder pressure

The main conclusion is that the uncertainty in relation to future developments in the climate change arena for international marine bunker fuels has not diminished but has actually increased. There is a greater risk than before that we will get regional schemes which would add to the administrative burden of ship operators.

A lack of clear global regulatory drivers is also likely to increase stakeholder pressure as we emerge from the current downturn in shipping. Examples, already being discussed, include environmental performance rating of ships for chartering, the use of EEDI (energy efficiency design index) for rating vessels, and use of virtual arrival processes linked to optimised operational management.”


UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed in 1992)

AWG LCA (Ad Hoc Working Group on Long term Cooperative Action)

AWG KP (Ad Hoc Working Group on Kyoto Protocol)

Source: Lloyd’s Register Briefing – January 2010. Lloyd’s Register is as a classification society and a Recognised Organisation (RO) duly authorised by the Republic of Panama to issue certain certificates on behalf of Panama for ships registered under the flag and registry of Panama. Dr. Anne-Marie Warris is the climate change expert heading the LR delegation at COP15.

5. EU LEX update: Commission Recommendation of 21 December 2009 on the safe implementation of the use of low sulphur fuel by ships at berth in Community ports.

From 1 January 2010, ships using heavy fuel oil while at sea are to switch to lighter marine fuels such as marine diesel or gas oil when at berth in any port of the European Union (Community ports) as heavy fuel oil with a sufficiently low sulphur content is not generally available.

The European Commission (EC) has adopted a Recommendation on the safe implementation of the use of low sulphur fuel by ships at berth in ports of the European Community, having recognised that “there may be operational problems and safety risks associated with the use of the required fuels in ships that have not undergone technical adaptations,”.

From 1 January 2010, ships at berth in European Community ports are required to use marine fuels with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.1% by mass (Article 4b of Directive 1999/32/EC as amended by Directive 2005/33/EC). This has not changed. However, in consideration of their recent safety concerns, the Commission adopted 21 December 2009 a Recommendation aimed at Member States, which invites them, while enforcing the Directive, to consider the existence of detailed evidence of the steps taken by ships to ensure safe compliance with the Directive. Member States may consider the existence of an approved retrofit plan when assessing the degree of penalties to be applied to non-complying ships.

The Recommendation indicates that, as part of the EU Member States’ enforcement actions against ships which fail to comply with the EU’s 0.1% sulphur fuel at berth requirement; they should request those ships to provide detailed evidence of the steps they are taking to achieve compliance. The Recommendation indicates that these retrofits should be completed within 8 months after the enforcement date.

Following the publishing of this Recommendation from the EU, INTERTANKO the association of independent tankers owners did not express any surprise; they commented on their webpage that included on the Recommendation, the requirement that ships should have a class/RO approved retrofitting plan, and that a final date of the completion of eventual upgrades is indicated.

Those issues, according to INTERTANKO, may create some problems on providing specific information/evidence as recommended:

– Manufacturers had indicated that they do not have yet a technical solution for certain installations, therefore, no specific plan for upgrading is clear to be issued, and no completion date can be assumed.

– Class/RO ability to approve retrofitting plans in such a short time and at such an early stage.

Therefore, INTERTANKO hopes that the existence of a HAZID document, which may indicate the areas of upgrading, should be an equivalent to a class/RO approved plan, particularly when class/RO has been part of the HAZID assessment. (You can see the Guidance for Hazard Identification at their webpage

When the date of completion is not provided to ship owners, INTERTANKO would assume that putting the date on 31st August 2010 should be acceptable,

INTERTANKO is communicating with the EU Commission and EU Member States on their concerns and suggestions above.

Sources: INTERTANKO – and the European Union web page

6. What’s new in the Panama Shipping Scenes

Panama – the registry that never sleeps

The National Economic Council has approved an additional credit for US$2.2 million to improve the service that the Public Registry of Panama offers. With this measure, the Public Registry will work and be open to the public for registrations 24/7 in all the country’ offices.

With this extension of working hours, the most benefitted party will be the international shipowners and bankers, that will be able to effect all their registration and financial operations (mortgages, discharge of mortgages, etc) without worrying of the time of the day or without having to request in advance the extraordinary opening of the Public Registry offices, by going directly to their nearer Panamanian merchant marine consulate and request any transactions.

The Public Registry over a decade had offered the advantages of booking in advance a slot and personnel will be in the middle of the night to effect registrations, now with the additional funding, the new government is probing its interest in align the merchant marine to the needs of the shipowners, bankers and the industry worldwide.

Source: La Estrella Panamanian daily newspaper (05-02-2010)

EU lifts sanctions to Panama fishing

According to the daily newspaper La Estrella, on 4th February 2010, the EU lifted a restriction that was in place since last January 1st to all sea products from Panama.

The Panamanian exports to European markets were restricted due to the non-compliance of the obligations on illegal fishing, Thanks to the actions taken by the Panamanian Government the restriction and ban has been lifted. Panama exports of fish to Europe amounts approximately US$ 35m and represents the 8% of the total fish products exports of Panama

Source: NOTICIAS/Febrero-2010/Union Europea.pdf

Public Registry to accept payment by Credit Cards

As from next April 2010 the Public Registry of Panama will accept through their web site an on line credit card payment option. With this new feature, the applications, payment and collection of documents will be expedited by reducing the time and visits that personally the users are currently done, additionally to the payment which must be done at a bank.

Since January the Public Registry has the system with 25 Panamanian lawyers firms who are regular and high volume users of the registry; however the new credit card payment has not being tested with the general public.

The procedure will be done through the web page to ensure the document will be ready for collection the following day.

The new system will allow payment for the registration of ownership title for vessels, as well as planes and land registry and public deeds for Panamanian corporations.


CADE 2010 – Panama City, Rep. of Panama 20-23 April 2010

This year, for the first time CADE will include maritime issues, specifically maritime auxiliary services and how small companies can benefit from this new and growing sector of the industry in Panama. Local and international speakers have been invited to tell conference participants how maritime auxiliary services are actually offered in other major ports of the world – and how this industry has become an important source of revenues for countries and for small entrepreneurs.

The Panamanian Association of Business Executives, APEDE, is a not-for-profit, apolitical and wide-ranging organization founded on 17 March 1958. For more than 50 years, APEDE has, through many projects and events, contributed to the preservation and strengthening of free enterprise, as the cornerstone of democracy.

In so doing, since 1966 APEDE has organized what has become one of the most dynamic and prolific annual conferences to be celebrated in Panama City. CADE, as it is known for its Spanish acronym, is private enterprise meeting of reference with very clear objectives, including discussion, analysis and recommendations regarding problems facing the nation at the time. In 2010, CADE will take place from 20th through 23rd April and the conference main theme will be “Economy and Social Dialogue”. Local as well as international speakers have been invited to participate.

7. Panama Canal Update

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors.

Panama Canal Authority Releases Fiscal Year 2010 First Quarter Metrics

During January 2010 the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released first quarter (Q1) operational metrics today for fiscal year 2010. In Q1, Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal (including waiting time for passage) significantly decreased. There also were increases in total transits and net tonnage. These metrics are based on operations from October through December 2009, the first quarter of the ACP’s 2010 fiscal year, and are compared with Q1 of fiscal year 2009.

CWT decreased 27.5 percent – to 20.29 hours from 27.97 hours. CWT for booked vessels, those ships holding reservations, also experienced a decrease of 20.7 percent – to 13.43 hours from 16.94 hours.

Total Canal transits increased 2 percent – to 3,590 transits from 3,520. Transits of supers, larger ships that require greater time and navigation skills to transit the Canal, increased 8.1 percent – to 2,026 transits from 1,874.

With regard to key segments, dry bulk and tankers transits increased, while transits of containers, refrigerated cargo (reefers) and vehicle carriers decreased.

“In the first quarter of 2010, we saw an increase in a few key areas – particularly tonnage and transits – which point to a global economy slowly, but surely, recovering,” said ACP Executive Vice President of Operations Manuel Benítez. “We will go into the remainder of fiscal year 2010 with slightly positive projections and expect sluggish shipping segments to show some recovery.” Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage increased 3.5 percent – to 80.9 million PC/UMS tons from 78.2 million PC/UMS tons.

The official accident rate declined 0.9 percent to 1.11 accidents per 1,000 transits from 1.12. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted. Utilization of the booking system decreased 52.6 percent – to 43.1 percent utilization from 90.9 percent.


Panama Canal Authority Awards Vehicular Crossing Analysis Contract

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) awarded the contract for the analysis of a permanent vehicular crossing on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal to consortium URS-COWI. Scope of work under the contract includes examining the possibility of building either a bridge or a tunnel north of the existing Gatun Locks and the new post-panamax locks complex, and then determining the best alternative.

Below are the companies that submitted bids and the corresponding bid prices.

Moffat & Nichol/ Arup USA, Inc. 954,059.00
URS / COWI 895,000.00
TYPSA / CFC SL 1,495,000.00
T – Y – Lin/ Fugro Panamá/ Mott MacDonald/ Onmiconsult 943,000.00
The Louis Berger Group/ Amman&Whitney/ D2 Consult 1,248,713.92

Once the order to proceed is issued, URS-COWI will have 240 days to present its analysis and final recommendation.

When completed, the new vehicular crossing will allow uninterrupted ground transportation to cross the Panama Canal on the Atlantic side.

Source: The Panama Canal –

The Panama Canal is using Twitter!

Twitter is a free service that lets you keep in touch with people through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What’s happening? Join today to start receiving the Panama Canal’s tweets.

PRINCE ANDREW Receives Royal Treatment at the Panama Canal

Date: 08-FEB-2010 

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) welcomed British royalty during February 2010, with the visit of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York who also serves as the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.

During his first Panama Canal visit, ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta greeted the Prince and briefed him on the latest developments at the waterway, including the historic expansion project, which continues to progress on time and on budget.

Prince Andrew recognized the ACP’s visionary leadership and commitment to service. “The Panama Canal is indeed one of the greatest engineering marvels and a gateway to world trade,” said Prince Andrew. “I am highly impressed by the work of the Panama Canal Authority and their management of the Expansion Program. We look forward to the opportunities that will abound across markets upon its completion in 2014.”

As part of the VIP tour, His Royal Highness also visited the Canal’s Miraflores Locks and control tower.


Panama Canal Authority Named Most Transparent Panamanian Organization

For the second year in a row, the Panamanian Public Institutions Integrity Index ranked the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) as the most transparent public institution in Panama for 2009. Out of 31 participating organizations, the ACP obtained the highest score, 266 out of 281 points. The ACP was also recognized as the firm with the best ethics and management program for 2009. The Index, promoted by the Foundation for Citizenship Freedom Development with the sponsorship of the United Nations Democracy Fund, determines institutions’ levels of quality, transparency and citizen participation. The Foundation serves as the Panamanian chapter of Transparency International.

Index participants were evaluated through an 88-question survey with answers supported by documented evidence and validated by the Foundation. The questions examined policies and regulations at the institutions, the amount of public information available, and recent comments, complaints and reactions from the public.


8. IMO Update

Amendments to the ISM Code to enter into force on 1st July 2010 include:

  • Setting a mandatory internal audit frequency of one year (previously the requirement had been for internal audits and periodic assessment of the efficiency of the SMS).

  • Introducing a need for the company to assess the effectiveness of the SMS, rather than its efficiency.

  • Introducing possible 3 months extension of certificate, if a ship is not in a port (including change in the certificate form).


In general, shipowners and ship managers must pay due attention to the changes, which will affect operator safety management systems, for example, the period of the internal audit is now identified as “not exceeding 12 months”. Inspections and audits after 1 July 2010 will include verification that all safety management systems comply with the Code. The major modifications are listed as follows:

Objective, Section 1.2

The initial stated objective of the Code — “The purpose of this Code is to provide an International standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention” – has been expanded and fully outlined in section 1.2 . The new amendment now includes what we used to define risk assessment concepts. The revised section 1.2 states:

“The Safety management objectives of the Company should assess all identified risks to its ships, personnel and the environment and establish appropriate safeguards.”

Development of plans for shipboard operations. Section 7

As consequence of the modification in the above “ISM Objectives”, “the Company should establish procedures, instructions, including checklist as appropriate, for key shipboard operations” not only limited “to the safety of ship and prevention of pollution” but for “the safety of personnel, ship and protection of the environment”.

Emergency preparedness, Section 8.1

An additional amendment details the proactive requirement provided by section 8, already focused on anticipating a risk assessment procedure to identify and deal with potential emergency situations. The current Section 8.1 states:

“The Company should establish procedures to identify, describe and respond to potential emergency shipboard situations.”

The amended section 8.1 reads as follows:

“The Company should identify potential emergency shipboard situations, and establish procedures to respond to them”.

This statement reflects the adoption of a risk assessment concept within the ISM Code. Now companies need to consider in advance all potential emergency situations in order to anticipate any possible hazard. Companies are also required to conduct an evaluation to establish in advance the necessary procedures to face such potential hazards.

Reports and analysis of non-conformities… Section 9.2

The amendments to section 9.2 are aimed at enforcing risk assessment and quality principles.

The current section 9.2 states: “The Company should establish procedures for the implementation of corrective actions”

The revised version reads: “The Company should establish procedures for the implementation of corrective action, including measures intended to prevent recurrence”.


ISM Code, 2010 Edition, now available

Now available from IMO is the 2010 edition of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, which includes all related guidelines and consolidates all amendments to the Code adopted since the last edition was published in 2002.

The 2010 edition is an essential reference for maritime administrations, ship manufacturers, owners and operators, shipping companies, academia, engine and equipment manufacturers and others with an interest in ensuring safety at sea and avoidance of damage to the environment and includes:

  • Amendments to the ISM Code adopted in 2004, 2005 and 2008;

  • Guidelines on implementation of the ISM Code by Administrations (Assembly resolution A.1022(26);

  • The complete text of SOLAS chapter IX Management for the Safe Operation of Ships, as amended in 2000 and 2005;

  • Guidelines for the operational implementation of the ISM Code by Companies (MSC-MEPC.7/Circ.5);

  • Guidance on the qualifications, training and experience necessary for undertaking the role of the designated person under the provisions of the ISM Code (MSC-MEPC.7/Circ.6); and

  • Guidance on near-miss reporting (MSC-MEPC.7/Circ.7)

ISM Code and guidelines on implementation of the ISM Code, 2010 Edition, is available from authorized distributors ( and via IMO’s online bookshop.

For further information, please consult the IMO website at

New titles published by IMO

Last updated: 12 January 2010

Future Titles
PRICE   CODE   TITLE   Planned delivery
£590   D14A   The IMO-Vega Database, 2009: English   January 2010
£95   DD970E   GMDSS Manual on CD (V4.0) 2009: English   March 2010
£12   IB117E   ISM Code & Guidelines, 2010 Edition: English   February 2010
£10   I579E   Oil Spill Rsk Evaluation, 2010 Edition: English   February 2010
£75   IE110F   SOLAS – Consolidated Edition, 2009 Ed: French   February 2010
£20   IA664F   Revised MARPOL Annex VI & NOx, 2009 Edition: French   February 2010
£75   IE110S   SOLAS – Consolidated Edition, 2009 Ed: Spanish   February 2010
£16   IB874S   Code on Intact Stability, 2009 Edition: Spanish   February 2010


Groundwork completed for Manila conference to adopt revised STCW Convention and Code

Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW) – 41st session, 11 15 January 2010

Draft amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention), and its associated Code, have been approved by the Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW) and are ready for submission to a Diplomatic Conference that will meet in Manila, Philippines, from 21 to 25 June 2010, for adoption.

The proposed amendments mark the first major revision of the two instruments, completely revising the original 1978 Convention, adopted in 1995.

There are a number of important changes to each chapter of the Convention, including:

  • In chapter I General provisions: improving measures to prevent fraudulent practices associated with certificates of competency; strengthening the evaluation process (monitoring of Parties’ compliance with the Convention);and standards relating to medical fitness standards for seafarers;

  • In chapter II Master and deck department: certification requirements for able seafarer (deck); celestial navigation, automatic radar plotting aids and radar requirements; marine environment awareness training; leadership and teamwork; and vessel-traffic-services training;

  • In chapter III Engine department: near coastal requirements; marine environment awareness training; leadership and teamwork; upgrading of competences for engineers; and certification requirements for able seafarer (engine);

  • Chapter IV Radiocommunications and Radio Personnel is renamed Radiocommunications and Radio Operators and updated to reflect current regulations, including reference to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue ( IAMSAR) Manual;

  • In chapter V Standards regarding special training requirements for personnel on certain types of ships: competence requirements for personnel serving on board all types of tankers, including liquefied gas tankers; and regulations for personnel on “ro-ro passenger” and “passenger ships” combined to cover all “passenger ships”;

  • In chapter VI Emergency, occupational safety, security, medical care and survival functions, amendments include new requirements for maintaining professional competence in areas where training cannot be conducted on board; and new requirements for security training, as well as provisions to ensure that seafarers are properly trained to cope if their ship comes under attack by pirates;

  • In chapter VII Alternative certification: changes in other chapters are reflected, including addition of requirements for certification of able seafarers and specifications for approved seagoing service and training required for certification of candidates at support level in various functions; and

  • In chapter VIII Watchkeeping: updated and expanded requirements on hours of work and rest and new requirements for the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.

The Sub-Committee also approved for submission to the June conference 13 draft resolutions relating to:

  • The contribution of the International Labour Organization;

  • Development of guidelines to implement international standards of medical fitness for seafarers;

  • Revision of model courses published by IMO;

  • Promotion of technical knowledge, skills and professionalism of seafarers;

  • Attracting new entrants and retaining seafarers for the maritime profession;

  • Promotion of technical co-operation;

  • Transitional provisions and early implementation of the revised STCW Convention and Code;

  • Promotion of the participation of women in the maritime industry;

  • Accommodation for trainees aboard ships;

  • Verification of certificates of competency and endorsements;

  • Standards of training and certification and ships’ manning levels;

  • Future amendments and review of the STCW Convention and Code; and

  • Recommendation on measures to ensure the competency of masters and officers on ships operating in polar waters.

IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said that last week’s work of the Sub Committee has now cleared the way for the amendments to be adopted.

Review of the principles for establishing the safe manning levels of ships

The STW Sub-Committee also completed its review of the principles for establishing the safe manning levels of ships and agreed a draft Assembly resolution on Principles of Minimum Safe Manning, which would replace the Principles of Safe Manning (resolution A.890(21), as amended).

The draft resolution will be submitted to the Maritime Safety Committee for approval at its 88th session in December 2010, subject to comments by the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV) at its 56th session in July 2010.

The STW Sub-Committee also endorsed proposed draft amendments to SOLAS regulation V/14 Ships’ manning, to require Administrations to take into account the guidance on minimum safe manning adopted by IMO (with a footnote referring to the Assembly resolution on Principles of Minimum Safe Manning), with a view to approval by MSC 88, subject to comments made by NAV 56.


Hydrographic survey for Marine Electronic Highway in Straits of Malacca and Singapore underway.

A key hydrographic survey within the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore is now underway, as part of the Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) Demonstration Project, a regional project that IMO is executing for the Global Environment Facility (GEF)/World Bank. The purpose is to produce an updated electronic navigation chart of the area.

The specially-refitted survey vessel MV Arifah Adni sailed on 10 February 2010 from the Loyang Offshore Supply Base in Singapore to the survey site, with surveyors/crew from GEMS Survey Limited and the MEH Project Oversight Team, which includes six hydrographers from Indonesia (Dinas Hidro Oceanografic Office (DISHIDROS)), Malaysia (National Hydrographic Centre) and Singapore (Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore).

The surveyors will use shallow-water multi-beam and side-scan sonar technology to acquire accurate hydrographic survey data, including the location of any obstructions such as wrecks, covering an area of 621.28 square kilometres around the One Fathom Bank area, representing around 14 per cent of the total area of the TSS. The target area to be surveyed has a depth of less than 25 metres. Some parts of the target area have been resurveyed at various times between 1972 and 2005, but the survey will provide completely up-to-date data.

Calibration of survey instruments and the deployment of tide gauges are currently taking place. Altogether, the survey will take a total of 50 days, including two port calls in Port Klang, Malaysia.

The US$2.754 million contract for the hydrographic survey in the Straits was signed on 20 May 2009 between GEMS and IMO, following an international competitive tender process.

The MEH Project aims to establish a regional mechanism in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore for enhanced maritime safety and marine environment protection, in a co-operative arrangement with the three littoral States (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) as well as the Republic of Korea, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO).

The demonstration project will link shore-based marine information and communication infrastructure with the corresponding navigational and communication facilities aboard transiting ships, while also being capable of incorporating marine environmental management systems. The MEH is being built on a network of electronic navigational charts using electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) and environmental management tools, all combining in an integrated platform covering the region that allows the maximum amount of information to be made available both to ships and shipmasters as well as to shore-based users, such as vessel traffic services.

The overall system – which will also include positioning systems and real-time navigational information like tide and current data, as well as providing meteorological and oceanographic information – is designed to assist in the overall traffic management of the Straits and provide the basis for sound marine environmental protection and management.

The funding for the hydrographic survey comes out of a US$6.86 million grant agreement signed in June 2006 between the GEF/World Bank and IMO.

Source: MEH website:

Replacing unsafe lifeboat release mechanisms – guidelines agreed by Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) on its 53rd session of 22 – 26 February 2010

Draft guidelines to ensure release mechanisms for lifeboats are replaced with those complying with new, stricter safety standards have been agreed by IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE), 53rd session, in order to reduce the number of accidents involving lifeboats, particularly those which have occurred during drills or inspection.

The draft Guidelines for evaluation and replacement of lifeboat on-load release mechanisms will be submitted to the Maritime Safety Committee in May (MSC 87) for approval, alongside the anticipated adoption of amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliances (LSA) Code and the Recommendation on testing of LSA, which require safer design of on-load release mechanisms, as well as a related draft amendment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), chapter III Life-saving appliances, which will require lifeboat on-load release mechanisms not complying with the new LSA Code requirements to be replaced no later than the next scheduled dry-docking of the ship following entry into force of the SOLAS amendments.

The Sub-Committee recommended that Administrations and shipowners be strongly urged to use the guidelines to evaluate existing lifeboat on-load release mechanisms at the earliest available opportunity, in advance of the entry into force of the new SOLAS and LSA Code amendments.

The Sub-Committee also agreed draft amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances concerning test procedures for lifeboat hooks, for adoption by MSC 87.

This new package of amendments and guidelines addressing lifeboat release mechanisms follows intensive work within the DE Sub-Committee and by the MSC, over a number of years, to address the significant number of serious injuries and fatalities which had been occurring during lifeboat drills and inspections.

Measures which have already been adopted/approved, to address the prevention of accidents involving lifeboats, include:

  • May 2004: MSC 78 adopts amendments to SOLAS chapter III Regulation 19 (Emergency training and drills) and Regulation 20 (Operational readiness, maintenance and inspections), concerning the conditions in which lifeboat emergency training and drills should be conducted, which introduce changes to the operational tests to be conducted during weekly and monthly inspections, so as not to require the assigned crew to be on board in all cases (the amendments entered into force on 1 July 2006);

  • May 2006: MSC 81 approves guidelines to implement the 2004 SOLAS amendments: Guidelines for periodic servicing and maintenance of lifeboats, launching appliances and on-load release gear and Guidelines on safety during abandon ship drills using lifeboats (MSC.1/Circ.1206; while MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev.1, issued in 2009, updated the guidelines);

  • December 2006: MSC 82 amends SOLAS regulation III/ concerning provisions for the launch of free-fall lifeboats during abandon-ship drills, to allow, during such drills, for the lifeboat to either be free-fall launched with only the required operating crew on board, or lowered into the water by means of the secondary means of launching without the operating crew on board, and then manoeuvred in the water by the operating crew. Also, the LSA Code is amended to require safer design of on-load release mechanisms (hooks) of lifeboats (the amendments to SOLAS and the LSA Code entered into force on 1 July 2008);

  • May 2008: MSC 84 approves Interim recommendation on conditions for authorization of service providers for lifeboats, launching appliances and on-load release gear (MSC.1/Circ.1277); and

  • June 2009: MSC 86 approves Guidelines for the fitting and use of fall preventer devices (MSC.1/Circ.1327).


IMO launches “Year of the Seafarer”

Readers will remember that in our previous issue of January 2010, we reported that the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) had declared 2010 the Year 0f the Seafarer during his intervention at the opening of the 26th session of the Organisation’s governing body, the Assembly.

Well, on 11 January 2010, IMO “launched” the theme for this year’s World Maritime Day – “2010: Year of the Seafarer ” – at an event held at its London headquarters, co-hosted with the International Shipping Federation (ISF) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

Speaking at the event, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said 2010 promised to be an auspicious and important year for the seafaring profession, with a diplomatic conference meeting in Manila in June to adopt amendments that will bring the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention), and its associated Code, fully up to date with today’s expectations.

Mr Mitropoulos said that designating 2010 as the Year of the Seafarer would help to reassure those who work at the “sharp end” of the industry – the seafarers themselves – that those responsible for the international regulatory regime understand the extreme pressures seafarers face and that they approach their task with a genuine sympathy for the work that seafarers carry out. The theme had also been chosen, he said, to allow the maritime community to pay tribute to seafarers for their unique contribution to society and in recognition of the vital part they play in the facilitation of global trade. It would also add impetus to the “Go to Sea!” campaign, which was launched by IMO in November 2008, in association with the International Labour Organization, the “Round Table” of international shipping associations and ITF, to boost recruitment to the seafaring profession.

He concluded, “Seafarers deserve respect and recognition: let us resolve, during 2010, to ensure that this message is trumpeted loud and clear.”

Those addressing the event included Mr. Peter Brady, Chairman of IMO’s Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping, which was in session at the time, Mr. Spyros Polemis, President of the ISF, and Mr. Jon Whitlow, representing the ITF.


IMO Secretary-General opens new branch of the Arab Academy in Port Said

“I could not think of a better way to formally start the “Year of the Seafarer” other than by commissioning a new training centre, such as the new branch of the Arab Academy in Port Said.”

So said IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos on Saturday, 9 January, as he formally opened an extension to the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) on a new 77-acre site allocated for that purpose by the Governor of Port Said, who also officiated during the ceremony together with other senior officials of Egypt and Dr. Mohamed Farghaly, President of the AASTMT since October 2007.

This latest expansion of the Academy comes within the context of significant development in the City of Port Said, which has attracted a great deal of investment to the region. The Academy’s heavy involvement in devising the detailed plans for the port infrastructure, and the subsequent creation of some 250,000 new job opportunities in the maritime sector, has been acknowledged with the allocation of the site, within the City of Port Fouad.


Legal Disclaimer

The content and the opinions expressed on this publication have been provided for information purposes only. It should not be relied on as a substitute for specific legal advice on any particular topic.

Copyright and Reproduction Notice

Unless otherwise stated, the contents of this page are the property of ISM Shipping Solutions Ltd and copyright © ISM Shipping Solutions Ltd and our client. Reproduction of part or all of the contents of the page in any form is prohibited except in accordance with the following exceptions: Licence to copy for personal use You may download or print extracts from the page (“the material”) for your personal use only

Licence to Recopy for Limited Purposes

You may forward or recopy the material to individual third parties for their personal use only provided always that:

  • You acknowledge ISM Shipping Solutions Ltd as the source of the material. You must include the acknowledgement and the ISM Shipping Solutions Ltd website address ( in the forwarded or the copy of the material

  • You expressly inform the third parties that these Disclaimer, Copyright and Reproduction Notices apply to them and that they must comply with them.

This licence to forward or recopy does not permit incorporation of the material or any part of it in any other work or publication, whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form. In particular (but without limitation) no part of this page may be distributed or copied for any commercial purpose.