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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

IMO DISCUSSES ERIKA'S LEGISLATIVE FALLOUT

At the opening session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 72) meeting on Wednesday, discussion during the opening session immediately focused on the Erika fallout and specifically on the question of IMO’s next move.

During William O’Neil’s opening speech, he reiterated his mission to keep any regulatory action after the Erika in the realm of the IMO. In addition, he gave specific examples of how speedily the IMO could act given the appropriate circumstances and information, e.g. amendments to Regulation 13G of MARPOL 73/78 and to Resolution A.744 on Enhanced Survey Programmes, which were adopted following the Nakhodka accident.

Mrs Georgette Lalis of the EC delegation gave a short presentation from the floor following France’s initial statement. The EC presentation was somewhat more ‘watered-down’ from the usual strong stance taken, but Mrs Lalis also re-affirmed her position on the issue regarding the proposed package of Directives. Mrs Lalis stated that it was a case of re-assessing legislation that already existed.

Furthermore, and echoing France’s statement, Mrs Lalis mentioned that the international regulatory ‘safety net’ had failed and that this was something that the EC felt its duty to look into and act upon.

The remainder of the session was taken by a considerable number of statements made in support of the IMO as the ‘only competent’ body to take regulatory action on international shipping. Only a few European states made specific statements in support of France and the EC delegation, including Portugal, Finland, Germany and Italy.

Concluding the Erika debate, the Chairman stated that, as France had submitted a paper to MEPC on the issue already, it would be discussed at the next MEPC in October with a view to its formal adoption onto the agenda at MEPC 46 in April 2001. The French submission focuses attention on amending MARPOL Annex I, regulation 13G. This regulation was also noted by Mrs Georgette Lalis in her presentation, although she suggested that it be brought in line with other regional legislation on the same issue. One can only assume a reference to the current proposed EC plans.