Home » Maritime, Ports/Terminals » PH to stage mock maritime audit to discover gaps before 2021 IMO state audit

The Philippines, led by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), is drawing up action plans to prepare for an audit to be conducted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) three years from now, with the audit intended to check the country’s compliance with and implementation of IMO agreements.

Marina will develop the corrective action plans based on the results of a mock audit to be held from May 25 to June 5, meant to prepare the country for the actual IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) in 2021. 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.

Marina Overseas Shipping Service (OSS) director Atty. Jean Ver Pia, in an email to PortCalls, said the mock audit is a simulation of the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS), 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.

Pia said the results of the mock audit “matter for it shall be the basis of subsequent actions to be undertaken by the maritime administration in the event deficiencies or non-conformities are found.”

She added that the mock audit will be “an opportunity to provide corrective action with timelines in case of non-conformities, before the IMSAS audit in 2021.”

As agreed upon during the pre-audit meeting, Pia said the mock audit will cover assessment areas enumerated under the IMSAS Non-exhaustive List of Obligations and Auditors Manual, which includes Philippine legislation; effectiveness of its control and monitoring mechanism; effectiveness of promulgating IMO rules and regulations; enforcement action for the contravention of its laws and regulations; and other obligations and responsibilities under applicable instruments.

The auditors and auditees will be composed of different agencies whose mandates include giving full and complete effect to the provisions of international maritime instruments. These agencies are Marina, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Ports Authority, Cebu Port Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Office for Transportation Security, National Telecommunications Commission, National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration.

But even prior to the mock audit, Pia said the Philippines, through concerned government agencies, has taken steps to determine gaps in legislation and in charters of the concerned agencies. Inter-agency awareness or orientation programs for IMSAS have also been conducted.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr), Marina’s mother agency, has recently issued DOTr Department Order No. 2018-006, which creates an inter-agency council for the IMSAS.

Former Marina administrator Marcial Quirico Amaro III earlier said the maritime industry was working on passing laws enabling the Philippines to implement international maritime conventions ratified by the country, also in readiness for IMSAS. He explained that while the Philippines had already ratified the conventions, enabling laws still needed to be enacted by Congress.

Pia said applicable IMO instruments in six areas will be covered by the IMSAS in order to determine how the relevant obligations and responsibilities relating to maritime safety and protection of the environment are carried out by the Philippines, “with a view to further enhancing the country’s performance.”

These instruments are safety of life at sea, prevention of pollution from ships; standards of training, certification, and watchkeeping for seafarers; load lines; tonnage measurement of ships; and regulations for preventing collisions at sea.

Pia clarified that IMSAS “is not a fault-finding audit but an audit to assist the Philippines for continual improvement and enhancement of performance as a member state” of the IMO.

“It is expected that the audit scheme will bring about many benefits, such as identifying where capacity-building activities and the provision of technical assistance by the IMO to the Philippines would have the greatest effect. Targeting appropriate action to improve performance is envisaged. The receipt of valuable feedback is intended to assist us in improving our own capacity to put the applicable instruments into practice,” Pia explained.

She added that generic lessons learned from audits could be provided to the country so that the benefits could be widely shared. Moreover, she said results of the audits could be systematically fed back into the regulatory process to the IMO to help make measurable improvements in the effectiveness of the international regulatory framework of shipping. – Roumina Pablo

 Image courtesy of IndypendenZ at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

six + 5 =