The question “Sea is an important Component of the Cosmos’. Discuss in the light of the above statement the role of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) in protecting the environment and enhancing maritime safety and security." was asked in the Mains 2023 GS Paper 2. Let us look at the model answer to this question.
Answer: The world's oceans, covering 70% of the Earth's surface, hold immense value for humanity. They provide resources, energy, livelihoods, and vital trade routes. The IMO entrusted with enhancing maritime safety, security, and environmental protection, plays a central role in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 for the responsible use and conservation of marine resources.
Role of IMO in protecting environment:
- Providing legal and technical framework: IMO creates the legal and technical framework within which shipping has become progressively cleaner and safer.
- Providing various platforms:
- MARPOL: It addressed oil pollution by ships, chemicals carried in bulk, sewage discharges and reduced sulphur dioxide emission from ships and ozone depleting substances.
- Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas(PSSAs): IMO can designate PSSAs with special protective measures.
- Mandatory ship-routeing systems in the Great Barrier Reef.
- The GloBallast Partnerships Project, a joint initiative of GEF, the UNDP and IMO, aims to reduce the transfer of potentially harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ships ballast water.
- Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnership project (GloMEEP) is working to address greenhouse gas emissions from ships.
- Global Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) Network (GMN): A global network of five MTCCs in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific to help countries reduce GHGs emissions from their shipping sectors.
Role of IMO in enhancing maritime safety and security:
- SOLAS Convention: It sets standards for ship construction, equipment, and operation to ensure the safety of life at sea.
- ISPS Code: As a part of SOLAS, ISPS Code has been implemented to provide a standardised, consistent framework for evaluating risk, offset changes in threat with changes in vulnerability for ships and port facilities.
- SUA Convention: Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Convention) to protect the merchant ships and passengers.
- Piracy and Armed Robbery Countermeasures: IMO took measures to address piracy and armed robbery at sea.
- , collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
- Search and Rescue (SAR): SAR Plan ensures that search and rescue services are available globally, saving lives and improving the overall safety of maritime navigation.
The IMO is fully committed to working through its member States and with its partners to continue to develop, maintain and implement a set of global regulations to ensure shipping's sustainable use of the oceans.