As the international body governing safe vessel operation and the protection of both human life and the marine environment, the work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is essential to the continued operation and development of the world’s maritime industry. In support of the IMO’s goals and objectives, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator actively participates in the work of all committee and sub-committee meetings. Additionally, on occasion, delegation representatives may also be invited to help facilitate the work of IMO meetings in leadership roles such as chairing working groups (WGs) or coordinating correspondence groups. In this regard, Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, Thanos Theocharis, recently chaired a drafting group (DG) established at the Sub-committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) 10, which took place in January 2024. The DG addressed draft amendments to:
- the Guidelines for Construction, Installation, Maintenance and Inspection/Survey of Means of Embarkation and Disembarkation (MSC.1/Circ.1331);
- Unified Interpretations of the Code on Noise Levels on Board Ships (MSC.337(91)) and SOLAS regulations II-2/9 and 13 (MSC.1/Circ.1511), as well as;
- regulation 25 of the 1988 Load Line Protocol regarding the requirement for setting of guard rails on the deck structure.
“Standards and guidelines are critical for safe vessel operation and must be reviewed periodically to ensure that the regulatory environment is maintaining pace with innovations in design and construction,” commented Thanos. “I am honored to have been invited to chair the DG and to collaborate with my colleagues from around the world to assist in amendments to these standards.”
The SDC considers a wide range of technical and operational matters related to ship design and construction, including subdivision and stability. SDC also covers testing and approval of construction and materials, load lines, tonnage measurement, safety of fishing vessels, and the carriage of industrial personnel.
The Marshall Islands delegation is recognized for bringing a strong operational and technical perspective to IMO discussions. Thanos continues in this tradition. At the 9th session of the SDC in January 2022, he chaired the WG on the revision of the performance standards for water level detectors on bulk carriers and single hold cargo ships other than bulk carriers, and is also highly engaged in a wide range of other work items at the IMO.