The Kingdom of Norway has become the first State to sign the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 on the Implementation of the Provisions of the 1993 Protocol relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977.
Ms. Ida Skard, Director General, Maritime Department, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Norway, signed the Agreement, at IMO Headquarters, on Monday, 15 July. (See photos here.)
As Norway is already a Contracting State to the 1993 Protocol, the signature of Norway expresses that country’s consent to be bound by the Cape Town Agreement (under a simplified procedure set out in Article 3(4) of the Agreement).
The Cape Town Agreement of 2012 updates and amends a number of provisions of the Torremolinos Protocol. In ratifying the Cape Town agreement, Parties agree to amendments to the provisions of the 1993 Protocol, so that they can come into force as soon as possible thereafter.
The safety of fishermen and fishing vessels forms an integral part of IMO’s mandate but technical and legal problems had prevented the Torremolinos Protocol, which was adopted in 1993 to revise the earlier 1977 treaty, from entering into force. The aim of the new Agreement is to address those issues. Fishing at sea remains a hazardous occupation and the sector experiences a large number of fatalities every year and bringing into force a binding international safety regime is expected to play a part in helping to improve safety standards and reduce the loss of life.
The Cape Town Agreement of 2012 is currently open for signature at IMO Headquarters, until 10 February 2014, and thereafter will remain open for accession. It will enter into force 12 months after the date on which not less than 22 States the aggregate number of whose fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over operating on the high seas is not less than 3,600 have expressed their consent to be bound by it. Norway has 242 fishing vessels of 24m in length and over operating on the high seas.