Implementation and Enforcement of IMO Mandatory Instruments under the III Code: A Comprehensive Analysis
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. The IMO has developed a number of mandatory instruments, such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the International Convention on Load Lines (LL), and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). These instruments are implemented and enforced by flag States, port States, and coastal States.
However, the implementation and enforcement of these mandatory instruments have been subject to numerous challenges. This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the implementation and enforcement of IMO mandatory instruments under the III Code.
The III Code
The III Code, also known as the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, is a mandatory instrument developed by the IMO to ensure safety at sea and prevent pollution from ships. The Code applies to all ships, regardless of their size or type, and requires the development of a safety management system (SMS) by the shipowner or operator.
The SMS should be designed to identify and assess risks, establish appropriate safeguards against identified risks, and continuously improve the safety management skills of the crew. The SMS should also ensure compliance with all relevant international and national maritime safety and pollution prevention requirements.
Implementation of the III Code
The implementation of the III Code is the responsibility of the flag State, which is the State where the ship is registered. The flag State is required to issue a document, known as the Document of Compliance (DOC), to the shipowner or operator, certifying that the ship’s SMS complies with the III Code.
The flag State is also responsible for carrying out periodic inspections, known as the Flag State Control (FSC), to ensure that the ship’s SMS is being properly implemented. The FSC should be carried out by qualified and experienced inspectors, who should have the necessary knowledge and skills to assess the effectiveness of the SMS.
Enforcement of the III Code
The enforcement of the III Code is the responsibility of the port State, which is the State where the ship is calling. The port State is authorized to carry out inspections, known as the Port State Control (PSC), to ensure that the ship’s SMS is in compliance with the III Code.
If a ship is found not to be in compliance with the III Code, the port State may take appropriate measures, including detention, until the deficiencies are rectified. In addition, the port State may notify the flag State and the relevant classification society of any deficiencies found during the inspection.
Challenges in the Implementation and Enforcement of the III Code
Despite the efforts of the IMO to ensure the effective implementation and enforcement of the III Code, there are still numerous challenges that need to be addressed. Some of these challenges include:
Lack of Resources: Many flag States and port States do not have the necessary resources, including qualified personnel and equipment, to effectively implement and enforce the III Code.
Non-compliance by Shipowners and Operators: Some shipowners and operators may not be fully committed to implementing and maintaining an effective SMS, and may therefore not fully comply with the III Code.
Lack of Cooperation: Some flag States and port States may not fully cooperate with each other in carrying out their respective responsibilities, leading to gaps in the implementation and enforcement of the III Code.
Inadequate Training: Some inspectors may not have the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively assess the effectiveness of the SMS, leading to inconsistencies in the implementation and enforcement of the III Code.
The implementation and enforcement of IMO mandatory instruments under the III Code is crucial for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution.
Jeon, Y., Kim, K., & Kim, H. (2020). An analysis of the implementation status of ISM Code on Korean flagged vessels. Ocean Engineering, 215, 108245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oceaneng.2020.108245
Liu, J., Wu, J., Yan, X., & Chen, J. (2021). A comparative study of the ISM code implementation in China and the United States. Marine Policy, 126, 104449. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2021.104449
Ramirez-Rios, S. (2021). The role of classification societies in the implementation and enforcement of the International Safety Management Code. WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs, 20(2), 255-275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13437-021-00235-6
Sohn, I. (2022). Improving the effectiveness of Flag State Control under the ISM Code: Lessons learned from the implementation of port State control. Maritime Policy & Management, 49(1), 51-68. https://doi.org/10.1080/03088839.2021.1929684