The first international treaty on the safety of fishing vessels was adopted by IMO in Torremolinos in 1977 and a follow-up protocol was adopted in 1993. But their unprecedented entry into force has meant that fishermen are not yet protected by a binding global treaty – unlike cargo and passenger vessels, which are covered by international treaties for the safety of life at sea and environmental protection, which are widely accepted and have been in force for many decades. “As in the past, the Republic of Poland is committed to continuing the fight against INT fishing, which is why Poland is pleased to have signed the Torremolinos Declaration yesterday in Opatija, after we recently announced that we had also begun ratification of this important agreement. Chapters II to X of the CTA provide detailed requirements for the planning, construction and equipment of fishing vessels. They are listed in three categories based on the size of a ship: 24-45 meters, 45-60 meters and more than 60 meters. The requirements are designed to ensure that vessels remain watertight, weather-resistant, strong and stable, even in adverse conditions such as ice and extreme weather conditions. It is important to ensure that the premises are not hazardous to the crew, that life-saving equipment is available and sufficient, and that appropriate emergency measures are in place. It provides that vessels should have regular exercises involving all crew members and observers. In addition, ships must be equipped with radio communication equipment capable of transmitting and receiving search and rescue information, distress signals and other relevant communication. Ships must also be able to safely navigate and report.
The webinars, to be launched in November in Latin America and the Caribbean, will bring together key players involved in fisheries by different governments and highlight the benefits of the Cape Town Agreement, adopted by IMO in 2012. Once in force, the agreement will include binding international safety requirements for fishing vessels of 24 metres or more, including stability and seaworthiness provisions, electrical machinery and facilities, life-saving equipment, communication equipment and fire protection, and the construction of fishing vessels. For the record, the Cape Town Agreement was adopted by a diplomatic conference under the aegis of IMO and contains standards for the design, construction and equipment of fishing vessels, and provides rules for the protection of the safety of crews and observers and a level playing field for the industry. The TZA updates, amends and replaces the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol on the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention on Fishing Vessel Safety. Neither the Torremolinos Convention nor the protocol itself will come into force, but the provisions will be reflected in the UT. Once the ATC is in place, minimum requirements will be set for the design, construction, equipment and inspection of fishing vessels operating 24 metres or more on the high seas. Its entry into force would allow port states to carry out safety inspections that could be directed to fishing and employment agencies to ensure transparency in fishing and crew activities.