THE Philippines is currently undergoing a mandatory audit, a litmus test of its compliance with International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards.
From October 2 to October 9, the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) is set to scrutinize the nation’s adherence to IMO instruments, determining its “full and effective implementation and enforcements” of international maritime practices and standards.
These regulations span crucial aspects of maritime safety, pollution prevention, seafarers’ training, certification, load lines, tonnage measurement of ships, and prevention of collisions at sea.
As a longstanding member of the International Maritime Organization since 1964, the Philippines has ratified and acceded to 28 IMO Instruments, with ongoing efforts to ratify additional instruments aimed at bolstering the nation’s maritime industry.
The IMSAS audit, mandated under IMO Resolutions A.1067(28) and A.1070(28), is designed to hold Member States accountable for meeting their obligations under a range of IMO Instruments. These obligations touch upon vital areas that bear a direct impact on global maritime safety and environmental protection.
The audits are conducted at intervals not exceeding seven years.
To facilitate a coordinated effort among various government departments and agencies involved in maritime affairs, two significant Executive Orders were issued: Executive Order No. 159, series of 2021, and Executive Order No. 84, series of 2019.
EO 159 refers to the adoption of an integrated approach in the ratification and accession to IMO conventions and instruments, as well as the reconstitution of the interagency committee to spearhead the initiative.
EO 84 creates an interagency council on the IMO member state audit scheme.
According to Marina, government entities—the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Philippine Coast
Guard (PCG), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Cebu Port Authority (CPA), National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), and National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ‚ “have all actively prepared for this audit.”
“As a maritime nation with a proactive maritime administration, the Philippines is steadfast in its commitment to effectively implement and enforce all laws, regulations, and recommendations in accordance with the IMO instruments. The country pledges to establish and maintain a robust system to fulfill its obligations as a flag, port, and coastal state, in full compliance with applicable international laws, ensuring the highest standards of maritime safety and environmental protection,” Marina said.