Seafarer safety is paramount in the context of the Red Sea and attacks on international shipping. During a meeting with shipping industry representatives today (18 January), IMO Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez reiterated the message that seafarers are innocent victims in the volatile Red Sea situation.
Secondly, freedom of navigation must be upheld, to guarantee global trade and the flow of goods by sea. Further, there must be caution and restraint to avoid further escalation of the situation in the Red Sea and broader area, Mr. Dominguez said, referencing the UN Security Council Resolution 2722 (2024) on the Red Sea.
Shipping industry representatives emphasized that the safety of crew is paramount. The meeting provided the opportunity to exchange views and look ahead to the steps that the International Marime Organization (IMO) can take, including sharing information and potential future discussions during the next scheduled Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 108, 15-24 May 2024).
The meeting was attended by representatives of: International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO, Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and World Shipping Council (WSC).
Earlier in the week (16 January) Secretary-General Dominguez had a productive meeting with representatives of the Member States of the Djibouti Code of Conduct to discuss the situation in the Red Sea, focusing on the need to enhance the maritime security capabilities of the countries in the region. The key areas of safety of seafarers, freedom of navigation and de-escalation were reiterated by countries in the region.
Addressing Member States at the Organisation’s headquarters in London at the first official meeting of this year’s IMO calendar, the Secretary-General stated:
“It is with great concern that I must highlight the regrettable situation developing in the Red Sea on my first meeting as Secretary-General. I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate my strong condemnation of attacks against international shipping in the area and call for an immediate release of the Galaxy Leader and its crew.
“I will continue to reiterate my three key messages on the situation: seafarers are innocent victims, and their safety is paramount; the principle of freedom of navigation should be uphold and allow safe trade of essential goods; and the call for de-escalation of the situation.”