The International Maritime Org’s Ferry Safety Conference, 2015

The International Maritime Organization Conference on the enhancement of safety of ships carrying passengers on non-international voyages, was held in Manila, Philippines last April 24th. The Conference adopted the “Manila Statement,” which calls for States to check and update their national regulations on passenger ferries, and to apply guidelines that would counter the unacceptable levels of lives lost, as well as loss or damage to property and the environment. Kemplon Engineering reports.

The International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) is a specialized agency of the United Nations concerned with safe, secure and environmentally-sound international shipping. The agency creates regulations and standards for universal adoption and implementation. Their approach to international shipping is ‘cradle to the grave’—from design and construction to equipment, manpower, operations and disposal.

The IMO is also vocal about ferry safety. According to Lee Adamson of IMO’s Public Information Services, ferry deaths in Southeast Asia are particularly unacceptable, and that this is a major issue, especially with international shipping becoming much safer.

The Domestic Ferry Safety Conference in Manila was attended by IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu, who stated domestic passenger safety standards should match that of international vessels. After all, “The perils of the sea do not distinguish between ships engaged on international or non-international voyages and the protection of life at sea is a moral obligation.”

The burden of that obligation is a shared responsibility between and among governments; according to the Manila Statement adopted by the conference, those involved include the authorities, owners, managers, operators and personnel of ships, institutions engaged in maritime training and education, classification societies and government compliance and certification agencies, insurers, port authorities and of course, civil society and the public.

The conference, which was hosted by the Philippine Government, was attended by 13 member states and representatives from organizations like the International Chamber of Shipping, Interferry and the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association, and the International Association of Classification Societies.

We at Kemplon Engineering are heartened by the international efforts aimed at lessening the death tolls from domestic ferry accidents. With thousands dead over the last few years, gatherings like this bring more hope for a safer future for ferry passengers.

^ “IMO: Making Ferries Safer.”, 24 Apr 2015. Web. 02 May 2015.
^ International Maritime Organization. “Introduction to IMO.” Web. Accessed 02 May 2015.
^ International Maritime Organization. “Philippines domestic ferry safety conference urges action to improve safety record.”, 27 Apr 2015. Web. 02 May 2015.
^ “Number of Ferry Deaths in Southeast Asia Unacceptable.” World Maritime News, 24 Apr 2015. Web. 02 May 2015.