Liberia flag backs Australia’s call for IMO reform

Scott Bergeron, CEO of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry
Scott Bergeron

Leading ship registry, the Liberian Registry has backed an Australian initiative calling on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reconsider transparency and the role of industry bodies in the organisation.

Liberia is the largest flag state to support the push by Australia, which will lead to a submission to the IMO Council meeting in July calling into question the existing role of the IMO Council and the IMO Assembly, and seeking to facilitate greater transparency and the wider representation of maritime interests in the IMO.

Global anti-corruption coalition Transparency International came out to slam the IMO earlier this year over lack of transparency. Its report cited delegate responsibility and voting practices as especially suffering from a lack of transparency. This was exacerbated by IMO’s policy of not normally reflecting the positions of individual representatives in its reports as well as journalists reporting on sessions to be subject to the so-called Chatham House Rule, which prevents identifying of comments without gaining specific consent.

The Australian submission suggests that discussions at IMO should be more open to the public and other stakeholders.  It also refers to the decreasing accessibility of discussions and decisions within the IMO Council and Assembly for both member states and the public.

Liberian Registry ceo Scott Bergeron said: “As a founding IMO member and the world’s second-largest flag state, Liberia has always been a committed and public supporter of IMO, and will continue to be so. But it is only right that we should lend our support to Australia’s push for reform in the light of concern from observers both within and outside the organization that the IMO decision-making process may not be fit for purpose in the 21st century and may moreover be susceptible to commercial influence.”

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to as the source.