United Nations
United Nations

Marshall Islands accedes to five UN treaties on safety and marine pollution


Source: United Nations

The Marshall Islands, one of the world’s major shipping nations, has acceded to five important International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions that aim to discourage environmental pollution and promote safety on the high seas, the United Nations agency announced today. The Pacific island nation has acceded to the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships 2001 (known as the AFS Convention) and to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001 (Bunkers Convention).

The AFS Convention requires parties to the pact to ban or restrict the use of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships flying their flag, operating under their authority or entering their ports, shipyards and offshore terminals. The Marshall Islands’ accession means 30 States comprising 49.17 per cent of the world’s fleet in tonnage have now ratified the treaty, which will enter into force on 17 September.

The Bunkers Convention aims to ensure that prompt and adequate compensation is available to people who suffer damage caused by oil spills when carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers. That pact enters into force on 21 November.

The Marshall Islands has also acceded to the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972 (1996 London Convention Protocol).

This protocol, which entered into force in March 2006, bans the export of wastes to non-parties for the purpose of dumping or incineration at sea, except for emergencies. It has now been ratified by 35 States that collectively control 29.73 per cent of the world’s fleet.

In addition, the Marshall Islands is now a party to the Protocol of 2005 to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation 1998 (2005 SUA Convention) and the Protocol of 2005 for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf (2005 SUA Protocol).

Neither the convention nor the protocol is yet in force, but they are aimed at broadening the list of offences at sea to include terrorist offences and at introducing measures for the boarding of ships when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the ship or someone on board has or is about to be involved in an offence.

IMO, which is based in London, is the UN agency with the responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

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