Observing international standards is vital to raising regional maritime safety and security. To this end, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is working with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to align current legislation, standards and practice with international standards.
SPC’s Transport Programme organised a week-long workshop on Global Regulations (GlobalReg) and Pacific Island Maritime Laws (PIMLaws) from 16 to 20 September 2013 at its Suva regional office.
The workshop follows the adoption of an Action Plan at the Pacific Forum on Domestic Ferry Safety in November 2012, which called for quicker implementation and enforcement of appropriate maritime provisions and regulations, including the adoption of the PIMLaws.
Marie Bourrel, Policy and Research Adviser with SPC’s Economic Development Division, said the workshop was an occasion for comparing the GlobalReg and PIMLaws and identifying areas that need to be amended.
‘The PIMLaws’ extensive coverage of maritime legislation and regulations is wider than the scope of the GlobalReg, which only cover ship safety. However, both of these standards have the same ambition – that is, to provide states with a full set of ready-for-use regulatory or advisory documents to assist them in discharging their missions.’
‘The technical content of the GlobalReg and PIMLaws is fairly similar in terms of their requirements and equivalent in terms of safety level, but a few substantial differences remain. Based on the conclusions reached at the end of the workshop, it’s possible that some of these differences could be reduced or cleared,’ she said.
The workshop noted that some particularities for ship safety in the Pacific were barely taken into account in the current version of the GlobalReg. It was also highlighted that several regulations derived from PIMLaws needed amendment.
‘Discussions indicate that a number of existing regulations developed through PIMLaws need to be reviewed and updated. This work is going to be done in the next couple of months, giving all Pacific Island countries and territories the opportunity to be fully involved in the process of keeping their legislation up to date,’ said Ms Bourrel.
‘The development of the GlobalReg is not intended to undermine existing regional, bilateral or national standards. On the contrary, the goal is to develop a more generic set of regulations, in the form of a non-mandatory IMO instrument, which, once completed, could be proposed for adoption to countries or regions as a consolidated set of prescriptive regulations,’ she said.
PIMLaws is a set of model legislation and regulations that SPC members can use to enact their national maritime laws. Earlier this year, SPC updated the model regulation on the International Convention on Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention), as well as non-convention vessel safety and small boat safety regulations. In addition, new regulations were also developed on the carriage of deck passengers and the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.