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Gross tonnages of merchant ships registered in IMCO member countries
44, 443, 652 Egypt

242, 745
34, 929, 214 Switzerland

211, 728
United Kingdom -
28, 832, 413 Ireland

182, 319
23, 507, 108 New Zealand..

181, 901
Union of Soviet

I ran

180, 659
Socialist Republics--- 16, 733, 674 Ghana

166, 183
15, 328, 860 Malaysia

149, 304
United States.-
15, 024, 148 Uruguay

142, 828
Federal Republic of


132, 756
8, 515, 669 Iceland

130, 561
8, 187, 323 Iraq

121, 399
7, 793, 598 Lebanon

116, 571
7, 419, 596 Czechoslovakia

103, 049
5, 632, 336 Nigeria

99, 226
4, 972, 244 Ivory Coast..

82, 316
4, 300, 055 Honduras

74, 030
4, 019, 927 Maldives

62, 230
2, 619, 677 Ecuador

56, 807
2, 380, 635 Burma

54, 877
2,012, 659 Malagasy Republic..

52, 162
1, 884, 537 Saudi Arabia --

50, 369
1, 630, 473 Morocco

46, 907
1, 587, 585 Zaire

40, 221
1, 401, 075 Hungary

33, 811
1, 191, 555 Tunisia

28, 268
1, 181, 010 Trinidad and Tobago.-

17, 988
1, 181, 179 Senegal

16, 280
Republic of Korea.--
1,057, 508 Malta

14, 641
924, 564 Sri Lanka.--.

13, 017
870, 513 Dominican Republic-

8, 881
743, 071 Libya

5, 932
741, 986 Cameroon

2, 334
698, 068 Khmer Republic_.

1, 880
618, 589 Sierra Leone.

1, 795
532, 637 Mauritania

1, 681
Hong Kong
457, 924 Barbados

1, 676
446, 374 Syria

1, 659

445, 622 Equatorial Guinea.

416, 832 Haiti

398, 030 Kenya

382, 013
1 Including Bahamas and Bermuda.
2 Associate member.

NOTE. ---Lloyd's Register of Shipping state that these advance figures are subject to con.
firmation and should, as on previous occasions, be treated as confidential.
Source : Lloyd's Register of Shipping Statistical Tables 1972.


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1. INTRODUCTION 1. The IMCO Assembly at its sixth session in October 1969 decided, by Resolution A.176 (VI) to convene, in 1973, an International Conference on Marine Pollution for the purpose of preparing a suitable international agreement for placing restraints on the contamination of the sea, land and air by ships, vessels and other equipment operating in the marine environment. At its seventh session in October 1971 the IMCO Assembly further decided by Resolution A.237 (VII) that: (a) the Conference should have as its main objectives the achievement, by 1975 if possible, but certainly by the end of the decade, of the complete elimination of the wilful and intentional pollution of the sea by oil and noxious substances other than oil, and the minimization of accidental spills; and (b) the Maritime Safety Committee should direct its appropriate Sub-Committees to give first priority to the problem of achieving these goals.

2. Since its inception in 1959, IMCO has been actively engaged in the problem of prevention of pollution of the sea, but the activities in early years were primarily directed towards the measures for controlling the operational discharge of oil from ships, their principal aim having been the protection of amenities, such as beaches, from pollution by oil discharged from ships, especially tankers, during routine tank washing and ballasting operations.

3. In 1967 the stranding of the “Torrey Canyon" brought to light the immense threat of massive pollution which could result from accidental discharge of oil in the event of strandings, collisions and other maritime accidents. Prompt action by the IMCO Council immediately after the accident resulted in an eighteen point programme of action which was pursued as a matter of urgency by the Maritime Safety Committee and its subsidiary bodies and also by the Legal Committee. Such action was designed to prevent accidents to ships (but also related to general safety at sea) and to promote rapid an defficient action to deal with them should they occur. Modern trends of shipping

4. In considering the problem of accidental pollution from ships, account should be taken of the developments in modern industrial practices of shipping which have introduced the need for action on a much larger scale and considerably broader in scope than has hitherto been required. The principal features may be summarized as follows:

(a) continuing and rapid growth of the world's merchant fleet both in numbers of ships and total tonnage, bringing about a corresponding increase in the probability of accidents particularly in narrow and congested areas;

(b) changes in ship types and service characteristics such as the increasing demand for bulk cargo carriers, tankers (oil, chemical and liquefied gas) and other specialized ships ;

(c) developments in modern equipment, devices and associated services for aids to navigation, such as radar and other electronic equipment, maritime navigation satellites and the introduction of new practices such as trallic control systems and advisory services;

(d) automation in ships and consequential reduction in number of crew;

(e) dramatic increase in the size of individual ships, in particular tankers, which has introduced a threat of massive accidental pollution on a scale which had not previously been envisaged ;

(f) increasing number of unconventional craft such as air-cushion vehicles, hydrofoil boats, catamarans, many of which operate at high speeds;

(g) increasing diversity and quantity of petroleum derivatives and other chemical cargoes carried by ships, which has introduced a threat of pollution by substances, some of which are more harmful to the environment (though perhaps less obvious and offensive in the aesthetic sense) than oil;

(h) increasing installation and operation of fixed or floating off-shore structure and incidence of other marine activities which may interfere with safe navigation. Accidents to ships which have given rise to pollution

5. Various data have been published on casualties to ships and to a limited degree on pollution of the sea as a result of maritime casualties. The data on the latter aspect are related only to oil pollution incidents, and no data is avail. able on the pollution caused by substances other than oil.

6. The Statistical Tables published by Lloyd's Register of Shipping show that during 1965–1971 the world's merchant ships totally lost are as follows:

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It appears from the table that during the past years there has been a steady decrease in the casualties to ships in terms of the percentage of tonnage (with the exception of 1971 when there was a substantial increase in casualties) whereas the number of ships expressed as a percentage of the total number of ships remains more or less the saine.

7. Various studies have been reported on casualties to ships and resulting oil pollution. Although the results of these studies vary considerably in some respects there is an indication that the major causes of accidental pollution are grounding, collision and structural failures.

8. There is also some variation in data on the amount of oil discharged or released into the sea according to causes, but it seems reasonable to say that ship casualties would constitute between 15-25 per cent of the total oil pollution of the sea caused by ships. Although ship casualties do not appear to be a major source of pollution, such incidents, when they occur, undoubtedly have a very serious local effect because of the spillage of large quantities of substances with high concentrations.



9. There appears to be a variety of measures which would contribute to the minimization of accidental pollution by oil and other noxious substances. These may be divided into the following broad categories:

(a) Prevention of accidents to ships which would give rise to significant pollution; this aspect might include such matters as: safe navigational procedures, traffic separation schemes, crew training and watchkeeping, provision of modern navigational equipment, maneuverability of large ships, construction and equipment of ships carrying oil or other dangerous chemical substances, safe carriage of dangerous goods in packages and containers, safe operational procedures for ships carrying oil or other dangerous chemical substances,

(b) Minimization of the risk of escape of oil and other noxious substances in the event of maritime accidents; this aspect might include such matters as: survival capability of ships after collision or stranding damage, limitation of size and arrangements of cargo tanks in ships carrying oil or other noxious substances to minimize their escape in the event of accidents, facilitation of transfer of cargo in the event of accidents, its recovery after release into the sea.

(c) Minimization of damage to the marine environment in the event of accidental escape of oil and other noxious substances; this aspect might include such matters as: development of appropriate clean-up, retrieval and other similar procedures, providing appropriate powers to enable States to take action to mitigate or eliminate pollution damage as a result of maritime accidents, providing the means of redress for damage caused by pollution (liability and compensation).

II. MEASURES TAKEN BY IMCO 10. As mentioned in paragraph 2, IMCO has, since 1967, intensified its activities on the prevention of accidents to ships and the mitigation and abatement of pollution damage resulting from such accidents. These activities have culminated in the establishment of new Conventions, amendments to existing Con

ventions and recommendations to governments. These are summarized in the following:

A. Prevention of accidents to ships Revision of the regulations for preventing collisions at sea

11. In October 1972 IMCO convened a Conference for revision of the Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea which were drafted in 1960 and came into force in 1965. The new Regulations constitute a marked improvement in establishing safe navigational procedures and fully recognize the rapid technological evolution in the field of shipborne navigational aids, such as the use of radar; they encourage mariners to take early action and they set out the responsibilities of different categories of ships; they ensure that very large ships which are less maneuverable in certain circumstances are not hampered by other ships in confined areas. The new Regulations have also adopted the practice of traffic separation in congested waters and deal with the conduct of ships navigating in such areas. An amendment procedure incorporated into the new Regulations will allow updating as necessary so that the Rules are kept in step with technological developments. Routing of ships in congested or converging areas

12. A measure very much intended to prevent collision accidents with possible ensuing outflow of oil or other noxious cargoes, is the establishment of schemes to separate traffic in congested or converging areas. The schemes' primary objective is to separate traffic proceeding on opposite or nearly opposite courses, thus minimizing the probability of head-on collisions.

13. A significant number of schemes and areas to be avoided by certain classes of ships, mainly those carrying noxious cargoes, have been established (Resolutions A.161 (ES.IV) 1968, A.186(VI) 1969, A.226(VII) 1971, A.227 (VII). 1971, and surveillance in some of the most congested waters, e.g. the English Channel, has shown that the majority of the ships were complying with the traffic separation measures even when these were of purely recommendatory nature.

14. In 1971 the Organization invited Member Governments to make it an offence for ships under their flags to proceed against the general direction of traffic flow in a traffic lane when navigating in a traffic separation scheme (Resolution A.228 (VII).) Legislation to this effect has been or is in the process of being enacted by many countries. The conduct of ships when navigating in traffic separation schemes is a feature of the revised Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. Unification of buoyage systems in international waterswreck marking

15. The Organization, in co-operation with the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities, the International Hydrographic Organization and other bodies concerned has decided to examine the possibility of unifying the buoyage systems which are at present in use bearing in mind that such unification will be of great significance for enhancing the safety of navigation.

16. As a matter of priority the question of marking of wrecks in international waters has already been considered and an agreed system has been proposed by IALA and recommended to the Maritime Safety Committee for approval. The recommended system (expanded Cardinal System) is of particular significance in European waters where the possibility of confusion exists since both the Lateral and the Cardinal Systems are used for wreck marking. A number of European countries have already agreed to introduce the system in their areas of responsibility after due promulgation. Measures relating to the prevention of accidents to off-shore mobile units

17. IMCO has developed several recommendations relating to the prevention of accidents involving off-shore mobile units deployed for the exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed mineral resources. The recommendations which would contribute to the prevention and minimization of accidental pollution by such units are: Establishment of fairways through off-shore exploitation areas (A.179 (VI), 1969) ; Dissemination of information, charting and manning of drilling rigs and production platforms and similar units (A.180(VI), 1969); Fire safety of mobile off-shore units (MSC/Circ. 86, 1970). Crew training and watchkeeping

18. Early attention was given to the need for improving and standardization training of masters, officers and mariners in general (A.188(VI) 1969). Relevant recommendations intended to serve as guidance particularly for developing countries wishing to bring up-to-date their training facilities and methods were issued.

19. It was further recognized that it is necessary to specify minimum standards and professional qualifications for mariners and in particular for masters and officers in charge of navigational watch. The Organization has therefore initiated a relevant study which has as its first aim the identification of basic principles to be observed in keeping a safe navigational watch and subsequently the establishment of international standards of training and certification of mariners.

20. In specifying training and qualifications for officers and crews particular reference is made to those serving on ships carrying hazardous chemicals in bulk and the need, if any, for special provisions concerning watchkeeping at sea and in ports, cargo handling and related operations of such ships. The ultimate aim of the whole project is to prepare an international convention establishing qualifications, training standards and related requirements for masters, officers and



21. Recent shipping disasters have emphasized the need for more reliable communications for safety purposes. Consequently, the Organization adopted Recommendations and amendments to the 1960 Safety Convention and took other measures intended to improve communications for distress, search and rescue and radio navigational warnings. (A.217 (VII), A.218(VII), A.219 (VII), A.220(VII), A.221 (VII), A.222(VII), A.223 (VII) and A.225 (VII) 1971.) They cover, inter alia, the following subjects: (a) improving the existing distress system (radiotelephone and radiotelegraph distress networks and inter-linking of those networks) ; (b) the carriage and use of emergency position indicating radio beacons ; (c) the reliability of radiotelegraph auto alarms; (d) equipment to be carried in SAR-aircraft for facilitating a rapid location of survival craft and ships in distress; (e) use of shore-based direction-finding stations for SAR purposes; (f) portable equipment for internal communication on board ship for emergency situation; (g) selective calling equipment for speedy and direct connections with ships; (h) safety radio requirements for manned ocean data acquisition systems, novel types of craft, drilling platforms and special purpose ships. Shipborne navigational equipment

22. As a result of the effort to strengthen safety at sea the relevant Convention was recently amended to require the carriage of navigational equipment which up to now was carried for the most part on a voluntary basis. (A.146 (ES. IV),1968). Extensive reference was also made in the revised Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea to the use of radar and the information provided by it as effective means of assessing the risk of collision and deciding on evasive action.

23. The Convention includes only general technical requirements for each item of equipment. These have been supplemented by the establishment of detailed performance standards for the navigational equipment which is carried on a mandatory basis or is considered as important to safety. Member Governments have been recommended (A.224 (VII),1971) to take these performance standards into account when exercizing their prerogative of approving the shipborne navigational equipment for ships under their flags. Maneuvering capabilities of ships

24. Administrations have been recommended to ensure that the masters and officers have readily available on the bridge, all necessary data concerning the maneuvering capabilities of the ship and stopping distances under various conditions of draught and speed (A.160 ( ES.IV)). An appropriate format of a booklet to contain information on these and other aspects relating to the safe handling of the ship has been developed (A.209 (VII),1971).

25. A further recommendation (A.210 (VII),1971) has been made to guard against the possibility that a large ship proceeding at full speed with otler ships in the vicinity, might suddenly be deprived of the ability to operate the steering gear. For this purpose the Administration should ensure that, in all new ships of over 70.000 tons gross tonnage and in existing ships of similar tonnage as far as reasonable and practicable, the navigating officer will at all times have ade quate and direct control over the rudder movements by such provisions as: (a) the duplication of the steering gear mechanism ; (b) the provision of an alter

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