IMO: Enact Security Plans Now

Monday, March 15, 2004
IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, has urged Member States to implement the IMO maritime security regime adopted in December 2002 as early as possible, in the wake of the Madrid atrocities of 11 March 2004.

Speaking at the opening of IMO's Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI), which meets from 15 to 19 March, Mr. Mitropoulos led a minute of silence for the victims of last week's attacks in the Spanish capital, as well as for those in the United States, Bali, Moscow, Istanbul and in all other parts of the world which have suffered at the hands of terrorists.

"The devastating news of last week's atrocities in Madrid has filled us all with anguish and a feeling of personal loss for fellow human beings whom we did not know, while the pictures of the scenes where the atrocities were committed brought home the terror in its full dimension," Mr. Mitropoulos said.

"Those atrocities should serve as a grim reminder of the vulnerability of all modes of transport to acts of terrorism. As far as we, servants of the maritime mode are concerned, our concern, in the context of the question posed by analysts and commentators as to which country will be the next target, should be which mode of transport will attract next the interest of the perpetrators of these unlawful acts," he said. "We should mobilize all our resources to protect our industry, the international trade and the global economy from those whose motives and acts have nothing at all to do with all that the civilized world stands for."

The IMO Secretary-General urged all parties concerned, be they Administrations, designated authorities, port authorities, companies, recognized security organizations, training institutions or others, to intensify their efforts to meet the entry-into-force deadline for the new security regime specified in SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. The new measures enter into force on 1 July 2004.

"I might even go one step further by urging all parties concerned, in particular SOLAS Contracting Governments and port organizations, to implement the new measures as early as possible, as far as ships entitled to fly their flags and port facilities under their jurisdiction are concerned," Mr. Mitropoulos told delegates.

"My argument, in so doing, is simple," he added. "While the 1st July deadline constitutes a pact among Governments doing business in a civilized manner under the mutually binding provisions of a treaty instrument, this deadline means nothing to terrorists who may decide to strike wherever and whenever such an act might suit their evil purposes - and, have no doubt, they will do so if they assess that our defences are low or, to put it in a different manner, when they think that our defences are not high enough to prevent and deter them from committing any atrocities they may have in mind to commit against our industry, the international trade and the world economy."

Mr. Mitropoulos also highlighted other items on the FSI agenda, including the development of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme, responsibilities of Governments and measures to encourage flag State compliance, review of the self-assessment of flag State performance, , ISM Code-related matters and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

The Chairman of the FSI Sub-Committee is Mr. K.T. Lim (Republic of Korea).

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