The Hong Kong Marine Department, which is the marine department of the Government of Hong Kong, is responsible for maintaining safe and environmentally compliant movement of ships, cargoes, and passengers in Hong Kong waters.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that was established in October 1919. It aims at promoting rights at work, encouraging decent employment opportunities, and strengthening policymaking for work-related issues by giving workers, employers, and governments an equal voice through its unique tripartite structure.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is a specialized United Nations agency that is responsible for developing, executing, ratifying, and regulating legislations, treaties, and frameworks to promote safe, secure, and sustainable global shipping and maintaining international marine traffic.
Adopted in 1978, the STCW came into force on July 7, 1984, to globalize the necessary standards of training, certification, and watchkeeping in shipping. STCW faced major revisions in 2010 by the IMO in Manila. The amendments introduced in June 2010, popularly known as the Manila Amendments, came into force on January 1, 2012. Further, the amended and updated STCW 2010 as a result of the Manila Amendments came into effect from July 2013.
Manila Amendments introduced key changes to the STCW in the following aspects:
- Training Requirements:
- Changes in competence tables related to ECDIS, environment management, leadership, and teamwork skills.
- Mandatory use and orderly maintenance of Training Record Books
- Mandatory Security Training
- Refresher of basic safety training every five years
- Changes in Competence tables related to Tanker Training
- Additional Medical Standards
- Prevention of Unsafe Alcohol Use
- Changes to minimum rest hours and related compliance
Adopted in 1973, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) aims to minimize pollution to the marine environment both by regular ship operations and any mishaps at sea. It incorporates six technical annexes which strictly monitor operational discharges onboard various types of ships.
Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 is an international labour convention adopted by the ILO, which defines a comprehensive set of basic maritime labour rights and principles. It ensures minimum working and living conditions for seafarers on board ships operating on international and domestic voyages.
The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) came into being in 1970 to curb marine pollution especially by oil. With its vision “A global marine industry that causes no harm to people or the environment,” the OMICF works to promote safety and security in the transportation of crude oil, oil products, petrochemicals, and gas by vessel and related offshore activities.
Following one of the most catastrophic oil spills by the oil tanker Exxon Valdez in March 1989, the US Congress voted to pass the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) in 1990. OPA puts forward a comprehensive approach for companies to prevent, respond to, and compensate (in the form of penalties) for any oil spill caused by a vessel in US waters.
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea is a comprehensive set of rules covered across 14 Chapters that establish minimum standards for the construction, equipment, and operation of the ships.
Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) 2010 aims to establish a common international agreement on training, certification, and watchkeeping standards to promote safety and wellness of life, property, and environment at sea.
STCW was adopted on July 7, 1978, and came into force on April 28, 1984. The convention faced revisions in 1984, 1995, 1997, and 2010. The major revision came in 2010 to cope with new technologies, stringent environment, and safety policies.