IMO Confab Issues 'Manila Statement' to Enhance Passenger Ferries' Safety

Manila Bulletin, May 12, 2015 | Go to article overview

IMO Confab Issues 'Manila Statement' to Enhance Passenger Ferries' Safety


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Conference on the 'enhancement of safety of ships carrying passengers on non- international voyages' held recently at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City has adopted guidelines to aid the process of reducing the mounting toll of accidents involving such vessels by addressing the question of, "whether the ship is fit for purpose in its intended role," said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya and Maritime Industry Authority Administrator Dr. Maximo Q Mejia, Jr.

Described as the "Manila Statement" by the conference, whose delegates come from IMO-Member States, with observers representing respected groups of stakeholders, other government and non-government organizations, the Statement refers to the Conference's acknowledgment of the 'urgent need' to enhance the safety of such kind of ships in certain parts of the world and urges the States to 'review and update' national regulations in relation to their passenger ferries and to apply the guidelines in order to 'address the unacceptable loss of life and damage to the environment and property due to marine casualties and incidents involving such vessels.

"Domestic ferry operations played a crucial role in the movement of people and goods, and sometime represented as the only possible and/or reasonably affordable means of transport", IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu told delegates and observers at the said Philippine-hosted conference held April 24, 2015 at the historic and landmark PICC. The Conference was attended by representatives from IMO member nations: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, host Philippines, and Republic of Korea, and Secretariat of the Pacific Community; as well as observers from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), the Interferry, and the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA), World Maritime University (WMU) and the University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom.

"The public expects safety standards on domestic passenger ferries to be as strong as those on international vessels," Sekimizu stressed, adding that "the perils of the sea do not distinguish between ships engaged on international or non-international voyages and the protection of life at sea is a 'moral obligation'. …

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