PIMLA at the First Regional Meeting of Ministers for Maritime Transport
Wednesday, 13 June 2007

As a new professional legal entity, PIMLA felt it was important to meet relevant players from the Pacific Islands maritime sector. Prior to the Ministerial meeting, PIMLA was given the opportunity to brief the Pacific Islands Maritime Association - PacMA about the Association, basically answering the questions as to where, when, what, who, why and how the concept came about. There was great interest shown by participants and Nauru expressed a request for PIMLA to develop a maritime policy.

PIMLA can play a pivotal role in advising and disseminating relevant maritime legal information to PICT governments on the implications of IMO/ILO Conventions. One of the important maritime issues highlighted in the communiqué signed by Ministers for Maritime Transport included legal matters. Among other outcomes, the communiqué recognised the need for a strategy of incountry assistance and capacity building utilising regional expertise from regional maritime associations; the benefits of acceding to IMO/ILO maritime instruments; the need to continually review maritime legislation to ensure compliance; the promotion of second tier maritime rules to expedite the ratification process; the need for relevant and effective maritime policies; and the development of relevant legislation to deal with derelict vessels in ports.

PIMLA is a specialist service used to assist PICTs on the legal implications of IMO/ILO Conventions and other relevant international maritime instruments such as the Law of the Sea Convention 1982. Given that its members are from the region they are quite familiar with the various constraints and challenges faced by PICs in terms of trying to implement laws and enforce the same in accordance with the international standards required. Typically, very few conventions come into effect immediately and it usually takes on average a period of five to seven years before it comes into force. The internal procedures on treaty ratification differ significantly from one state to another and some of them may be particularly lengthy or complicated. Ultimately, so much depends on Government will, its political margin for manoeuvre, and the means of pressure available to authorities of maritime industries. Also, the coming into force of a convention does not necessarily imply its effective enforcement. There are also delays in the process of implementation due to scarcity of civil servants or through bureaucracy that slows down the standardisation process.

Thus, any form of policy and legislation must take into account the above constraints and challenges. PIMLA can assist in establishing appropriate strategies to address such issues and any such work must be done in collaboration with other maritime associations, national focal points and SPC/RMP.

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