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Spain Accedes to Fishing Vessel Safety Treaty

Carlos Bastarreche Sagües, Ambassador of Spain to the United Kingdom and Permanent Representative of Spain to IMO, deposited the instrument of accession to the Cape Town Agreement with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.
Carlos Bastarreche Sagües, Ambassador of Spain to the United Kingdom and Permanent Representative of Spain to IMO, deposited the instrument of accession to the Cape Town Agreement with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

By The Maritime Executive 2019-02-09 16:32:05

Spain has become the latest country to accede to the IMO’s Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety, significantly boosting the number of vessels needed for entry into force.

The entry into force of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement is expected to result in benefits for the fishing industry, including fewer accidents, fewer lives lost and a more effective infrastructure for monitoring and targeting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

SOLAS includes a number of regulations which are applicable to all ships, such as SOLAS chapter V on safety of navigation. However, many other SOLAS regulations provide an exemption for fishing vessels. 

“With Spain’s accession we are approaching half way to reaching the entry into force criteria for this vital treaty. I urge other IMO Member States, who have not already become a party to the treaty, to follow suit,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim. “The Cape Town Agreement needs to enter into force so that we can fill the regulatory gap and have an effective international regime to address fishing vessel safety and reduce fatalities in one of the most dangerous professions in the world.”

The Cape Town Agreement will enter into force 12 months after at least 22 States, with an aggregate of 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 meters in length and over operating on the high seas, have become Contracting States. With Spain’s accession, there are now 11 Contracting States to the Agreement, with an aggregate number of 1,413 fishing vessels of 24 meters in length and over operating on the high seas. The Contracting States are: Belgium, the Congo, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa and Spain.

The IMO and the Government of Spain will co-host an IMO Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, in Torremolinos, Spain, tentatively scheduled for October 21 to 23, 2019. The Conference will be followed by a meeting of the Joint Food and the Agriculture Organization (FAO) /IMO Ad Hoc Working Group on IUU Fishing and Related Matters, pending approval by MEPC 74 and MSC 101. The Joint Working Group meeting will also be sponsored by the Government of Spain. The FAO and Pew Charitable Trusts have pledged additional funds and in kind support for the Conference and Working Group meeting.