Fishing vessels risk gravely due to absence of international safety requirements, Vitaly Klyuev says

Today, there are no international norms to regulate safety of fishing vessels, therefore they risk gravely, Vitaly Klyuev, Russian candidate for the post of IMO Secretary-General, Deputy Director of the Department of State policy for Maritime and River Transport (the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation), said today at the briefing in Saint-Petersburg.

He explained that international norms able to fully regulate safety of fishing vessels have been adopted but are not effective yet. The Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels adopted as early as in 1977 has not entered into force so far. To facilitate its coming into effect the Torremolinos Protocol (amendments to the Convention) was adopted in 1993. Then, in 2012, the Torremolinos Convention was simplified still further by the Cape Town Agreement, 

Yet, that never helped either. The Convention has not entered into effect, Vitaly Klyuev said.

He added that Russia has its own requirements on the safety of fishing vessels but they are too formalized and not deep enough. According to Article 7 of the Merchant Shipping Code of the Russian Federation (MSC), any vessel involved in fishery in one way or other should be understood as a fishing vessel. 

Such vessels have a possibility to avoid implementation of requirements on safety, requirements on training of crewmembers. It is the second systemic problem within the competence of RF legislation, Vitaly Klyuev added.

He also reminded that the State Duma deputies made three attempts to propose amendments into both MSC and some other legislative acts on fishery in the part of a clear definition of fishing vessels and determination of safety requirements for them.

Unfortunately, the fishery community has been succeeding in torpedoing these amendments so far, Vitaly Klyuev remarked. 

According to the Transport Ministry representative, Russia should facilitate ratification of the Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels. 

This process had been started by the Ministry of Transport in the form of the inter-agency approval before the Dalny Vostok trawler disaster, Vitaly Klyuev informed. 

Anyway, he says, Russia will take whatever actions are appropriate within the framework of IMO to make the leading fishing countries and countries operating the largest fishing fleets ratify the Convention so that it could come into force.

In our opinion, the key to the safe operation of the fishing fleet is in the international regulation of the fishing vessels safety, summarized the candidate for the post of IMO Secretary-General.

The Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels applies to fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over.

It consists of the 1977 Convention and an Annex comprising ten Chapters: General provisions; Construction, watertight integrity and equipment; Stability and associated seaworthiness; Machinery and electrical installations; Fire protection; Protection of the crew; Life-saving appliances and arrangements; Emergency procedures, musters and drills; Radiocommunications; Shipborne navigational equipment.

It contains requirements similar to those of the 1978 STCW Convention applying to fishing vessels that are 24 metres in length and over.