Asia-Pacific Authorities Agree to Enhance Regional Maritime Safety

Article excerpt

Maritime experts from 17 countries and six international organizations have agreed to enhance strategic approach to regional cooperation on maritime safety, security, marine environmental protection and search and rescue at the conclusion of the 11th Asia-Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies (APHoMSA) forum in Manila.

The 11th APHoMSA forum issued the Manila 2010 Statement acknowledging the significance of active participation and information sharing among the Asia Pacific countries.

The forum also encouraged unified efforts to reinforce maritime safety, maritime security, marine environmental protection and search and rescue tasks.

It encourages wider participation of Asia-Pacific countries in future APHoMSA fora and recognizes that APHoMSA members share a common understanding and interest on safety of ships and offshore platforms, effective methods of addressing marine pollution, importance of addressing security concerns, and opportunities for greater collaboration on maritime issues.

They also noted the importance of fostering a safety culture with operators being encouraged to take greater responsibility for the safety of their ships and crew.

The forum called for coordinated efforts among countries of the Asia Pacific region and the need to address the problem of piracy off the Coast of Somalia, Gulf of Aden, Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.

The Manila 2010 Statement also declared the following:

- Underscores the importance of implementing the Long-range identification and tracking of ships (LRIT) System and notes that IMO is establishing the distribution facility for the provision of LRIT information to security forces in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean.

- Reaffirms the role of the IMO in developing global regulations as opposed to unilateral or regional measures), and emphasizes the implementation of IMO conventions.

- Recognizes the role of human element in maritime security and safety and encourages countries to consider ratifying and applying key ILO instruments, including Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006), ILO Convention 185 (Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention, 2003), and ILO Convention 188 (Work in Fishing Convention, 2007). Regional cooperation is encouraged in this regard. …