Mr. Koji Sekimizu, Secretary General, International Maritime Organization (IMO), London called on Shri G.K.Vasan, Minister of Shipping in New Delhi yesterday.
During the meeting, the Minister drew the attention of the Secretary General to the issue of 43 Indian seafarers who are in captivity of Somali pirates. He also stressed the need for Counter Piracy Measures to be taken and requested for the intervention of the IMO for early release of the Indian seafarers.
The Minister also brought to the attention of the Secretary General that the High Risk Area extended from 65 deg E to 78 Deg East in December, 2010 for heightened state of alertness to ward off any approaching “pirate skiff” has resulted in increased shipping traffic closer to Indian western Coast and thus causing unprovoked firing incidents on innocent fishermen on mistaken identity leading to loss of lives.
The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the IMO is a large body, as a result of which Piracy related issues do not get focused attention of the MSC. The Minister, therefore, suggested that IMO may consider constituting a Sub-Committee on Piracy under MSC to deal with piracy related issues in a wider scale, having members from major piracy affected nations as well as major flag states.
The Minister also added that though India fully recognizes the relevance of sustainable shipping and the urgent need for addressing the issue of GHG emission from ships, a need is felt for a balanced, fair and effective initiative from IMO in addressing GHG emissions from ships, in consistence with the climate change regime under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol.
The Minister sought assistance of the IMO for promotion of technical co-operation and technology transfer relating to the improvement of the energy efficiency of ships. He also requested for assistance of the IMO for providing mandatory training for the Indian seafarers in ships from IMO Member countries who pass out from maritime training institutes and for utilizing the skilled manpower available in Indian Maritime Administration as Technical Consultants/Assistants, auditors etc. in various projects / programmes undertaken by the IMO in its Member countries.
The Minister also requested the Secretary General, IMO for considering cooperation between Indian Maritime University (IMU) and World Maritime University (WMU) for development of the IMU.
Mr. Sekimizu assured to extend all possible assistance to India. The International Maritime Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations, responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships. It is also involved in legal matters, including liability and compensation issues and the facilitation of international maritime traffic.
IndiaGov, October 17, 2012; Image: IMO