London – INTERPORTPOLICE is participating actively in the International Maritime Organization’s Facilitation Committee (FAL 46) which meets this week (9 to 13 May 2022). In addition to adopting amendments to the FAL Convention, FAL is also expected to adopt a range of new guidance of interest to the membership authorities and agencies of the INTERPORTPOLICE.  

The purpose of the Convention on the Facilitation of Maritime Traffic, 1965, as amended (FAL Convention) is to “facilitate maritime transport by simplifying and minimizing the formalities, documentary requirements and procedures associated with the arrival, stay and departure of ships engaged on international voyages”.  Putting it another way: ships, people and goods crossing international borders are subject to Government controls. Facilitation is the process whereby the negative impact of these controls on international maritime traffic is reduced whilst at the same time retaining the effectiveness and integrity of those controls. Effective facilitation means that ships can enter the port, unload, reload and depart more quickly, thus saving time and money, delivering goods more efficiently, increasing the earning potential of ships and ports, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing the attractiveness of maritime transport against other modes.

The effective enforcement of these diverse Government controls requires a high degree of cooperation, coordination and communication between a diverse range of authorities, agencies, private sector entities and stakeholders, often with overlapping mandates, and for facilitation to be effective, calls for a multi-disciplinary, whole-of-Government approach. 

The key to achieving this is an effective national maritime transport facilitation programme, developed and steered by a national maritime transport facilitation committee (NMTFC) and firmly grounded in national law. To this end, INTERPORTPOLICE submitted proposals to the Committee in support of the development of revised Guidelines for national maritime transport facilitation committees and programmes.

INTERPORTPOLICE also co-sponsored a proposed set of guidelines for the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of wildlife on ships engaged in international maritime traffic. These guidelines, if adopted, will help border control authorities and other stakeholders combat wildlife trafficking in the maritime sector in support of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The new guidance is expected to be approved and adopted as a tool for all stakeholders to combat bribery and corruption in the maritime sector.

INTERPORTPOLICE was represented at IMO Headquarters and online by Deputy Secretary General Chris Trelawny. [Pictured]