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imoMajor changes are in progress at the UN body, the IMO (International Maritime Organization). The number of sub-committees is being reduced from nine to seven and reorganisation is taking place of various structures including the secretariat, as well as the introduction of open marine safety conferences. The aim is to decrease the workload, reduce the number of meetings and make the organisation more efficient. The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) are still the main committees for the new sub-committees, which are as follows:
1. Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW). Previously the STW. Currently remains unchanged.
2. Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO instruments (III); previously FSI. Implementation of new provisions regarding flag states, port states and coastal states.
3. Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR). Previously COMSAR and NAV. Operational management of IT based equipment, its use and integration, including e-navigation. Further discussions regarding Search and Rescue (SAR) will be needed.
4.  Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR). Previously BLG. Exclusively environmental information.
5. Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC). Previously DE, FP and SLF. Ship design, stability and other closely related areas.
6. Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE). Previously DE, FP and SLF. Equipment for fire protection and life-saving in the broad sense.
7. Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC); previously DSC. CCC All types of cargo.
The changes now being made in the IMO are necessary. At the same time I would like to emphasise that most of the criticism levelled against inefficiency in the IMO is, in my opinion, entirely unjustified. This criticism should firstly be addressed to the member states. It is the member states that make decisions on measures and regulations. It is the member states that instruct the IMO to process and carry out proposals and decisions. Some countries even counteract or obstruct some serious proposals, and then criticise the IMO.

Christer Lindvall/Senior Advisor SBF

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