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Study to determine if Seychelles should follow other Sids to ratify 5 further maritime conventions | 04 November 2019

Study to determine if Seychelles should follow other Sids to ratify 5 further maritime conventions

Mr Renaud (photo by Joena Meme)

Cabinet has approved for consideration to be given to the ratification of 5 maritime conventions.

Principal secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Alan Renaud notes that his department will undertake a study to determine if Seychelles should ratify the conventions on account that the Republic acceded to four maritime conventions earlier this year.

He noted that an analysis of 22 other small island developing states (Sids) revealed that the majority of them have acceded to the five conventions under discussion, namely, the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claim (LLMC 1976), the Convention on International Maritime Satellite Organisation (IMSO 1976), the Intervention on High Seas in cases of oil Pollution Casualties (INTERVENTION 1969), the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling systems (AFS 2011) and the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 on the Implementation of Provisions of the 1993 Protocol relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels (CAPE TOWN 2012).

“When we are considering these conventions, the population will definitely benefit as it is geared towards cleaner, safer waters. We also have to give assurances to ship and business owners that they also have conditions that they can manage.

The LLMC 1976 Convention provides for a virtually unbreakable system of limiting liability for claims pertaining to loss of life or personal injury, and property claims such as damage to other ships, property or harbour works. The Convention therefore acts as a safeguard against raised claims.

The IMSO 1976 was adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 1976 to establish and oversee satellite communications for shipping. Under the treaty, the International Mobile Satellite Organisation (IMSO) has been established as the inter-governmental body that oversees the provision of certain satellite-based maritime distress communication services, specifically those used in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). IMSO is headquartered in London and has more than 100 member States.

As well as overseeing satellite communications under the GMDSS, IMSO has also been appointed by IMO to audit and review the performance of the international system for the Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT).

With regards to the INTERVENTION 1969, PS Renaud emphasised its importance towards affirming the country’s rights to protect its maritime territory.

“Where there is a risk of an oil spill, and it’s not limited to oil but provides for any harmful substances, we can enforce measures that we want, to protect our water, our seas,” he said.

Under the terms of the AFS Convention, Parties to the Convention are required to prohibit and/or restrict the use of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships flying their flag, as well as ships not entitled to fly their flag but which operate under their authority and all ships that enter a port, shipyard or offshore terminal of a Party.

Anti-fouling paints are used to coat the bottoms of ships to prevent sealife such as algae and molluscs attaching themselves to the hull – thereby slowing down the ship and increasing fuel consumption. In the early days of sailing ships, lime and later arsenic were used to coat ships’ hulls, until the modern chemicals industry developed effective anti-fouling paints using metallic compounds. These compounds slowly “leach” into the sea water, killing barnacles and other marine life that have attached to the ship. But studies have shown that these compounds persist in the water, killing sea-life, harming the environment and possibly entering the food chain. One of the most effective anti-fouling paints, developed in the 1960s, contains the organotin tributyltin (TBT), which has been proven to cause deformations in oysters and other marine species.

“The final agreement is the CAPE TOWN 2012. The population know that fishing is very important to our economy but not many know that fishing is among the most dangerous professions in the world with 7 percent of the world’s casualties in the industry. The Agreement sets global standards and it will come into force in 2022 but as Seychelles, we think we will set standards as well, it will set standards for the construction of new fishing vessels as well that are over 24 metres, it sets standards for how managements treat workers,” PS Renaud stated.

He concluded by stating that there will be consultations with local stakeholders in the near future as the authority strives towards making Seychelles’ waters safer. The department is primarily interested in the contributions of those involved in artisanal fishing since most vessels that enter Seychelles’ waters are already compliant since many countries have ratified the conventions.

The Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority (SMSA) Act is expected to be passed later this year. The Act will establish the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA) as an authority with more powers including setting and enforcing ship and vessel safety and security requirements.

The impact assessment will be handed to cabinet following consultations, before further approval and the processes to ratify the conventions.

 

Laura Pillay

 

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