India has been re-elected to the Council of
the International Maritime Organization [IMO] under Category “B” at the 30th
session of the Assembly of the IMO held in London on December first. The
country defeated UAE and Australia in a keenly contested election.
The IMO Council
consists of 40 member countries. In Categories “A” and “B” there are 10 members
each and in Cateogary “C” 20 members, who are elected by the IMO Assembly. IMO Council plays a crucial role to play in
deciding various important matters within the mandate of the IMO, in relation
to the global shipping industry, including its work programme strategy and budget.
Unlike in the
past where India was re-elected to the IMO Council un-opposed, this time, for the 10 seats under Category
“B” two new entrants, i.e. UAE, a
non-member of the IMO Council so far and Australia, presently a member of the
IMO Council under Category “C” had filed their nomination and this had
necessitated holding of the election. India, however, emerged a winner in
the keenly contested election.
Session of the IMO Assembly is being held at IMO Headquarters London from
November 27 to December 06. The Assembly session is being attended by a high
level Indian delegation led by Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, Mr. Gopal
Krishna, Secretary (Shipping), Mr Amitabh Kumar, Additional Director General of
Shipping, Capt. Jayakumar, Deputy Nautical Advisor, Directorate General of
Shipping and representative of the Indian Register of Shipping.
India has a large
merchant marine fleet of 1359 vessels, both on foreign going and coastal
operations, with a combined Gross Tonnage of 12.2 million. Nearly 90 per cent of India’s overseas trade
by volume is carried through maritime transport. Nearly 92 per cent of these goods are carried
through foreign flag vessels. With the Indian economy poised to grow at a
faster pace, there exist more opportunities for both the Indian and foreign
flag vessels, to carry large volumes of goods, to and from the Indian coasts.
India has a strong contingent of more than 145,000 active seafarers who
continue to be the preferred choice for specialized vessels.
India has been
one of the earliest members of the IMO, having ratified its Convention and
joined it as a member-state in the year 1959. India has had the privilege of
being elected to and serving the Council of the IMO, ever since it started
functioning, and till date, except for two years for the period 1983-1984.
India is a party
to 34 IMO Conventions and protocols and is currently in the advanced stage of
ratifying Ballast Water Convention and Bunker Convention. India has already deposited with the ILO,
instrument of ratification of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention
(revised), 2003 and Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.
to provide services of its expert manpower to the IMO, as and when
required. The IMO’s panel of auditors
for the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS) and Goal Based
Standards (CBS) has a number of auditors from India. A number of domain experts also participate
in the meetings of working groups constituted by IMO Committees.
in IMO, India will continue to engage with the international maritime community
to further her maritime interests and promote the welfare of her citizens.
The newly elected Council
will meet, following the conclusion of the 30th Assembly, for its 119th session
(on 7 December) and will elect its Chair and Vice-Chair for the next biennium.