MANILA, PHILIPPINES – In preparation for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) in 2021, the first IMSAS Inter-agency Council meeting has convened at the MARINA Central Office to consider the preparatory activities undertaken by the agencies performing maritime administration functions.

Through Department Order No. 2018-006, the IMSAS Inter-agency Council which is composed of representatives from the DOTr, MARINA, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Office for Transportation Security (OTS), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) is created to ensure that the Philippines meets its obligations and responsibilities as an IMO Member State.

In the first IMSAS Inter-agency Council meeting, Department of Transportation (DOTr) OIC – Undersecretary for Maritime Fernando Juan C. Perez spearheaded the discussions on the draft Philippine IMO Strategy and Cross Table of Responsibilities.

The draft Philippine IMO Strategy contained the measures that the Philippines will adopt to fully and effectively implement and enforce the mandatory IMO Instruments which it has ratified including the Safety of Life at Seas (SOLAS), International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), Convention on International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), International Convention on Load Lines, and International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships and the International Convention for the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers. It also highlighted the key performance indicators (KPIs), timeline, office, and budget to ensure that it has given full and complete effect to the international maritime instruments.

Furthermore, the Council exchanged views on the Cross Table of Responsibilities, specifically on the delineation of the roles and responsibilities of the Philippine maritime administration under the mandatory IMO instruments.

Meanwhile, the Council also discussed the draft department order on the designation of a single point of contact for IMSAS 2021 and the creation of an IMSAS support and implementation unit as action plans after the IMSAS mock audit conducted in 2018.

Finally, MARINA OIC-Administrator Vice Admiral Narciso A Vingson Jr emphasized the importance of complying with international obligations and responsibilities of the Philippines as a State Party, specifically in boosting the confidence of the Philippines as a maritime nation to trade with other countries.