Home » Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Duterte forms inter-agency body ahead of IMO state audit scheme

President Rodrigo Duterte has created an inter-agency council in preparation for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) that will check in 2021 the Philippines’ compliance with and implementation of IMO agreements.

The Inter-Agency Council on the IMO Member State Audit Scheme, created under Executive Order (EO) No. 84 series of 2019, shall ensure that its member agencies implement and comply with all the policies, laws, and issuances pertaining to the implementation of IMO instruments “in an integrated manner.”

The IMSAS will set out to determine how well the Philippines, as a member state of the IMO and its Council, gives full and complete effect to its obligations and responsibilities contained in a number of IMO treaty instruments.

IMSAS is a mandatory audit under the IMO Instruments of Implementation Code (III Code), conducted to determine how extensively a country implements and enforces its functions under maritime instruments as a flag, port, and coastal state.

The inter-agency council under EO 84 is tasked to plan, manage, and monitor efforts of government agencies to implement IMO instruments pertaining to the following: safety of life at sea; prevention of pollution from ships; standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers; load lines; tonnage measurement of ships; and regulations for preventing collisions at sea.

It shall also ensure the adoption of rules and regulations implementing the provisions’ requirements and the technical annexes of applicable international instruments, as well as their future amendments. Further, the council shall review, approve, and implement a national work program and adopt mechanisms that will ensure that international obligations and responsibilities of the Philippines as a flag, port, and coastal state are fully satisfied.

The inter-agency council will be chaired by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) secretary and with the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) administrator as vice chairperson. Representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Ports Authority, and Cebu Port Authority will be council members.

The council will be assisted by a technical working group (TWG) that will provide technical support on specific subjects of IMSAS. The TWG will be headed by the DOTr assistant secretary for maritime as chairperson and the Marina Overseas Shipping Service (OSS) director as vice chairperson.

Marina’s OSS shall serve as the council’s secretariat and coordinate with relevant agencies on the status of their plans and programs.

Other government agencies are directed to extend “prompt and necessary assistance” to the inter-agency council.

Initial funding requirements for implementing EO 84 shall be charged against sources to be identified by the Department of Budget and Management. Funds for succeeding years shall be incorporated into the annual budget proposals of the member agencies through the General Appropriations Act.

Prior to the creation of the inter-agency council, the DOTr in 2018 created the IMSAS Interagency Council (ITC) to ensure that the Philippines meets its obligations and responsibilities as an IMO member state in relation to IMSAS. ITC met last month to discuss the draft Philippine IMO Strategy and Cross Table of Responsibilities, which contains the measures the Philippines will adopt to fully and effectively implement and enforce the mandatory IMO Instruments that the country has ratified.

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