Three States Sign Torremolinos Declaration

Credit: IMO

Published Mar 11, 2020 8:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Torremolinos Declaration  on fishing vessel safety and combating IUU fishing has now reached 51 signatories.

During a European Union High-level Ministerial Maritime Conference in Opatija, Croatia, this week three more States (Bulgaria, Poland and Portugal) signed the Declaration - under which States publicly indicate their determination to ratify the Cape Town Agreement by the 10th anniversary of its adoption (October 11, 2022).

The entry into force of the Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety is expected to be important for improved safety at sea for fishers and will support the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. It outlines regulations designed to protect the safety of crews and observers and provides a level playing field for the industry while setting standards for fishing vessels of 24 meters length and over. It includes mandatory international requirements for stability, construction and associated seaworthiness as well as requirements for life-saving appliances, communications equipment and fire protection.

The treaty will enter into force 12 months after at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 meters in length and over operating on the high seas have expressed their consent to be bound by it. To date, 14 countries have ratified the Agreement. 

International treaties such as SOLAS have been in force for any decades for commercial shipping, including cargo and passenger ships. SOLAS includes a number of regulations which are applicable to all ships, such as its SOLAS chapter V, on safety of navigation. However, many other SOLAS regulations provide an exemption for fishing vessels. 

In 1977, the IMO adopted the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, which was later modified by the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol.  As both of these treaties had failed to come into force, IMO later adopted the 2012 Cape Town Agreement, to bring into effect the provisions of the earlier treaties.