Shipowners and seafarers' unions have joined forces to express concern at flag states’ failure to submit maritime casualty reports as required under international conventions.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents 80 percent of the world merchant fleet, and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which represents seafarers’ unions worldwide, have made a joint submission to the International Maritime Organization commenting on the apparent failure of some flag states to submit maritime casualty reports to IMO.
They say under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and other conventions, maritime administrations
are to conduct investigations into any casualty occurring to ships
under their flag, and supply IMO with pertinent information
concerning their findings. Reports are to be prepared for any "very serious marine casualty"
involving the total loss of the ship, death, or severe damage to the
environment and provide the IMO with the findings of the investigation.
“The lack of investigation and accident reports hinders the development of appropriate measures by IMO to address the cause of serious incidents in which seafarers may have lost their lives.” said ITF Acting General Secretary Stephen Cotton.
"It also frustrates efforts by ship operators to learn from the reports and to amend or develop new procedures, or implement other measures to prevent or mitigate similar future incidents.” added ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe.
In a joint statement, ICS and ITF suggested further consideration might be given by IMO to what constitutes “a very serious marine casualty” and the extent to which flag states should retain the latitude which they currently enjoy when determining whether the results of any investigation should be submitted to IMO. - Chris Dupin