A one-day workshop aimed at familiarising stakeholders of the maritime industry about the mandatory International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) audit and their respective involvements opened yesterday at Westin Turtle Bay Hotel in Balaclava in the presence of the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo.
Some 40 stakeholders involved in the implementation of the various IMO Maritime Conventions and Protocols participated. The objective is to better prepare Mauritius for the real exercise of February 2020 since the country has a duty to meet its obligations and responsibilities as Flag, Port and Coastal State. The workshop also helped to identify any capacity-building related needs. The resource person was Captain A. Coopen, Deputy Director of Shipping from the Ministry, who has previously conducted various IMO's IMSAS Audits.
In his address, Minister Koonjoo stated that in the wake of the blue economy initiative, Government is keen to facilitate vibrant maritime commerce and economic activities at sea in a bid to strengthen economic security. Accordingly, the container terminal has been upgraded in order to enhance our maritime connectivity which is critical for harnessing the global trade and reap the benefits of globalisation, he said.
He underlined that Mauritius is poised to become a strategic maritime and shipping hub in the region, with major projects namely the development of the Riche Terre Special Economic Zone, an Island Container Terminal, a cruise terminal building and petroleum hub which are in the pipe line. It is also important, he added, to ensure that our waters are safe and secure for long term sustainability.
Speaking about international maritime conventions, Mr Koonjoo highlighted that the IMO has developed and adopted several conventions which he said need to be domesticated, effectively implemented and enforced. In that context, the IMSAS was developed and came into force in January 2016.
He emphasised that the objective of the audit is to determine to what extent Member States are implementing and enforcing the applicable mandatory IMO instruments. According to the schedule set up by IMO, Mauritius is scheduled to undergo the IMSAS audit, in February 2020. The IMSAS is intended to provide audited Member States with a comprehensive and objective assessment of how effectively it administers and implements IMO instruments, he said.
The IMSAS is intended to provide audited Member States with a comprehensive and objective assessment of how effectively it administers and implements IMO instruments while assisting Member States to improve their capabilities and overall performance in compliance with the requirements. The results of the audits would then be systematically fed back into the regulatory process at IMO to help make measurable improvements to the effectiveness of the international regulatory framework of shipping.
To attain the Government's policy objective to ensure maritime safety and security as well as the prevention of maritime pollution from ships, Mauritius has acceded to about 21 major IMO Conventions and Protocols - some of them have finally been already implemented into the national law while other regulations have been prepared and are being vetted.