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Duterte reforms body on international maritime conventions

Duterte reforms body on international maritime conventions
Alexis Romero - January 14, 2022 |

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has reconstituted the inter-agency body on maritime conventions to enhance the level of safety of shipping and advance the training and certification standards for seafarers.

Executive Order No. 159, which seeks to adopt an integrated approach in the ratification and accession to International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions and instruments, was signed last Dec. 28.

The order reconstituted Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on the Ratification and Implementation of Maritime Conventions (ICCRIMC) and renamed it as the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee to Facilitate the Ratification and Accession to and Implementation of Maritime Conventions. The representative of the transportation department will be the committee’s chairperson while that of the foreign affairs department will serve as its vice chairperson.

The committee will be composed of representatives from the science department, the Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Ports Authority, Cebu Port Authority, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Environmental Management Bureau, Biodiversity Management Bureau, University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute and the UP Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology. The Overseas Shipping Service of the MARINA will serve as the committee’s secretariat.

The committee will consider new international maritime conventions for possible ratification or accession, conduct a national interest analysis, and study measures needed to satisfy convention requirements and their implications on established maritime operations. It will also develop and adopt a national work program to chart timelines and determine the frequency of meetings, assign agency roles and responsibilities, and ensure the implementation and enforcement of adopted instruments.

The committee will also review and endorse proposed legislation, national policies, and administrative regulations to support the implementation of adopted instruments and develop and implement a monitoring mechanism to assess the ratification or accession process.

The committee may form a technical working group for each international maritime instrument under study.

In the EO, Duterte said the country strives to become “a major maritime nation that gives premium to the protection of life and marine environment, enhancement of the level of safety of shipping, and advancement of the standards of training, certification and watch-keeping of seafarers.”

“The State is committed to remain at the forefront of international maritime developments, and identify ways to improve its maritime sector by integrating and empowering its maritime administration to study new maritime conventions and instruments for ratification, determine the responsibilities required thereby, and conduct a national interest analysis to ascertain their benefits to the country,” the President’s EO said.

Duterte noted that the transportation department created the ICCRIMC in 2015 to monitor developments and consider new international maritime conventions for ratification, including measures needed to satisfy their respective requirements, through research, monitoring and coordination with other government agencies.

He added that the Philippine Maritime Strategy on the implementation of relevant IMO Instruments for 2020 to 2024 highlights the ratification or accession to IMO conventions to strengthen the safety operations of Philippine-registered fishing vessels, transforming the country into a global maritime hub, enhancing maritime safety and modernizing maritime security.