During his week-long official visit to the Russian Federation (July 11-15, 2005), IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos has received pledges of continued support for a full range of IMO activities, including the important IMO Voluntary Member State Audit Scheme.
In a packed program that included high-level talks as well as a series of visits to key Russian maritime centers, Mr. Mitropoulos received repeated assurance of the Russian Government’s firm intention to continue supporting the development and adoption of global standards for shipping engaged in international trade only through IMO and for the work programme and initiatives of the Organization.
Among the senior figures with whom Mr. Mitropoulos enjoyed productive talks during his visit were Mr. M. E. Fradkov, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation; Mr. I. E. Levitin, Minister of Transport and Mr. A.N. Chelingarov, Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of the Russian Federation. He also met the Governor of St. Petersburg, Mrs. V.I. Matvienko; Mr. S. Frank, Chairman of Sovcomflot, as well as senior representatives from the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping.
In addition to his visit to Moscow, Mr Mitropoulos also went to Murmansk, where he saw a demonstration of the VTS system in Kola Bay and visited the nuclear icebreaker Rossia; and St Petersburg, where he was shown the Gulf of Finland VTMIS as well as the oil export ports of Primorsk and Visotsk.
On his return to IMO Headquarters in London, Mr Mitropoulos expressed his appreciation for the concern shown by the Russian Federation over environmental issues, particularly at the port of Primorsk, and of the systems it has put in place to ensure the protection of the marine environment, such as the collection of information and laboratory examination and analysis of the ballast water of incoming tankers and the strict measures applied in the case of tankers found to be carrying ballast water exceeding the levels required to allow discharge.
He added, “The work done to safeguard life and the environment in the Gulf of Finland, in co-operation with the Governments of the two other littoral States, Estonia and Finland, in designing, installing and seeking IMO’s approval and adoption, as appropriate, of an integrated Vessel Traffic Management and Information System, AIS and GMDSS stations and RCCs, mandatory ship reporting systems
and routing measures, including traffic separation schemes, should be recognized and appreciated.”