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Thursday, December 14, 2017

More, and positive, experience gained with IMO's Member State Audits

22 IMO Member States have so far been subjected to the IMO Voluntary Member State Audit, and more are in the pipeline.

 

The IMO Voluntary Member State Audit Scheme – First Hand Reflections and Experiences”, was the subject of a conference at the World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden, this week.

 

The Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme is intended to provide an audited Member State with a comprehensive and objective assessment of how effectively it administers and implements those mandatory IMO instruments which are covered by the Scheme.

 

Several of the speakers underlined that they had learnt a lot from the audits, not only from the actual audit itself, but particularly during the systematic preparations they had to undertake prior to the auditors' visit. Furthermore, the auditors said that their work was challenging, but absolutely worthwhile.

 

The speakers consisted of both IMO Member State representatives who had co-ordinated the audits in their own countries, several auditors and also representatives from the industry.

 

One of the speakers was INTERTANKO's Assistant Director, Kristian R. Fuglesang, who had been invited to talk about INTERTANKO and quality shipping in the context of flag state implementation.

 

Fuglesang mentioned examples of what ship owners expect of flag states, including the "seven Cs": Competent Administrations, Commitment, Consistency, Corruption-Free, Competitive, Capital-Friendly, and Casualty Investigation. He said that shipping companies have good reason to put pressure on the flag states they use to make sure that they are up to the standard required, and that this could have an impact on the number of countries that are prepared to be audited under the IMO Member State Auditing Scheme. Similar pressure might be put on the shipping companies from their customers, i.e. the charterers, thus extending the pressure for proper auditing.

 

Fuglesang underlined the importance of flag states, and suggested also that classification societies should be encouraged to be more selective in accepting to work for under-performing flag states.

 

He also referred to the decision by INTERTANKO's Council that, once the IMO Audit Scheme is up and running, INTERTANKO Members should commit to only employing those flags that have satisfactorily completed an IMO Member State Audit. He also suggested that the results of the audits should be made public (which has already been done by several States) and that the findings of the audits need to be followed up.

 

Click here for a copy of Fuglesang's presentation.

 

Contact: Kristian R. Fuglesang