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MARITIME SAFETY COMMITTEE ALCOM/ES/WP.1/Rev.1


2nd extraordinary session 21 September 2020
LEGAL COMMITTEE Original: ENGLISH
MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION
COMMITTEE
TECHNICAL COOPERATION COMMITTEE
FACILITATION COMMITTEE
1st extraordinary session
Agenda item 5

DISCLAIMER
As at its date of issue, this document, in whole or in part, is subject to consideration by the IMO organ
to which it has been submitted. Accordingly, its contents are subject to approval and amendment
of a substantive and drafting nature, which may be agreed after that date.

DRAFT REPORT OF THE MARITIME SAFETY COMMITTEE


ON ITS SECOND EXTRAORDINARY SESSION, AND THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT
PROTECTION COMMITTEE, THE LEGAL COMMITTEE, THE TECHNICAL
COOPERATION COMMITTEE AND THE FACILITATION COMMITTEE ON THEIR FIRST
EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS 1

A ADDRESS OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

A.1 The Secretary-General welcomed participants and delivered his opening address, the
full text of which can be downloaded from the IMO website at the following link:
http://www.imo.org/MediaCentre/SecretaryGeneral/Secretary-GeneralsSpeechesToMeetings
The Secretariat also provided information on the procedures and technical aspects for
participation in the upcoming extraordinary sessions of the Committees.

B OPENING OF THE SESSIONS

B.1 Prior to the opening of the sessions, the Chairs of all Committees sought agreement
from all delegations, in addition to the 26 Member States who had earlier requested this
simultaneous, remote extraordinary session of the Maritime Safety Committee, the Marine
Environment Protection Committee, the Legal Committee, the Technical Cooperation

1
As agreed at the virtual meeting on 21 September 2020, should delegations wish to comment further on this
draft report, they should submit their comments to info@imo.org by midnight (GMT+1) on
Monday, 28 September 2020.

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Committee and the Facilitation Committee (referred to as ALCOM/ES), to be held and to waive
rule 3 of the rules of procedure of each Committee to allow this meeting to be held remotely,
and rule 4, in part, to allow ALCOM/ES to be held on less than two monthsʹ notice.

B.2 As no objection was raised, and a quorum was present, remote extraordinary sessions
of the Maritime Safety Committee, the Marine Environment Protection Committee, the Legal
Committee, the Technical Cooperation Committee and the Facilitation Committee were opened
and held simultaneously from 16 to 18 September 2020 and on 21 September 2020. ALCOM/ES
corresponded to the following extraordinary session for each Committee:

.1 the second extraordinary session of the Maritime Safety Committee, chaired


by Mr. Bradley Groves (Australia), with the Vice-Chair of the Committee,
Mr. Juan Carlos Cubisino (Argentina), also being present;

.2 the first extraordinary session of the Marine Environment Protection


Committee, chaired by Mr. Hideaki Saito (Japan), with the Vice-Chair of the
Committee, Mr. Harry Conway (Liberia), also being present;

.3 the first extraordinary session of the Legal Committee, chaired by the


Vice-Chair, Ms. Gillian Grant (Canada), due to absence of the Chair,
Mr. Volker Schöfisch (Germany);

.4 the first extraordinary session of the Technical Cooperation Committee,


chaired by H.E. Mr. Laurent Parenté (Vanuatu), with the Vice-Chair of the
Committee, Ms. Mandana Mansoorian (Islamic Republic of Iran), also being
present; and

.5 the first extraordinary session of the Facilitation Committee, chaired by


Ms. Marina Angsell (Sweden), with the Vice-Chair of the Committee,
Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman (Nigeria), also being present.

B.3 The session was attended by Members and Associate Members; observers from
intergovernmental organizations with agreements of cooperation; and observers from
non-governmental organizations in consultative status, as listed in document
ALCOM/ES/INF.1.

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B.4 The session was also attended by the Chair of the Council, Mr. Xiaojie Zhang (China).

B.5 The Chairs of the Committees thanked the Secretary-General for his opening address
and stated that his advice and requests would be given every consideration in the deliberations
of the Committees.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

1.1 Prior to considering the provisional agenda (ALCOM/ES/1), the Maritime Safety
Committee considered document ALCOM/ES/1/2 (Secretary-General), requesting the
Committee to extend its second extraordinary session by one day to discuss concerns
regarding compliance with international maritime regulations for ensuring safety, health and
welfare of crews, and the prevention of fatigue, under the conditions of the COVID-19
pandemic, and proposing a draft MSC resolution to urgently address the issues associated
with the crew change crisis which developed as a consequence of measures taken by
Governments to address the pandemic.

1.2 Having noted overwhelming support for the proposal by the Secretary-General, the
Maritime Safety Committee adopted the agenda (ALCOM/ES/1) with the inclusion of a new item
on "Crew change and other seafarer-related challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic",
under which the draft MSC resolution set out in the annex to document ALCOM/ES/1/2 would be
considered in conjunction with commenting documents ALCOM/ES/1/5 (China), ALCOM/ES/1/6
(United Arab Emirates) and ALCOM/ES/1/7 (Vanuatu). The revised agenda including the new item
was issued as document ALCOM/ES/1/Rev.1.

1.3 The Marine Environment Protection Committee, the Legal Committee, the Technical
Cooperation Committee and the Facilitation Committee adopted the agenda set out in
document ALCOM/ES/1 without modification. All Committees agreed to be guided in their
work, in general, by the annotations contained in document ALCOM/ES/1/1 and by the
provisional timetable set out in the annex to the document.

1.4 Due to the technical difficulties encountered during the first day of the virtual meeting
(16 September 2020), which prevented further deliberations on agenda item 1 from taking
place, ALCOM/ES was suspended in order for the technical issues to be resolved. With the
session having been successfully resumed the following day, all Committees, on completion
of the virtual meeting held on 17 September 2020, agreed to extend the session of ALCOM/ES
and the extended Maritime Safety Committee by one additional virtual meeting day,
until 21 September 2020.

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1.5 Having agreed to consider paragraphs 3 to 5 of document ALCOM/ES/1/4


(Argentina), concerning rule 4 of the Committees' rules of procedure, under agenda item 2
(Waiver of the rules of procedure), and paragraphs 9 to 12 of the same document, commenting
on the meeting programme for 2020/2021, under agenda item 4 (Any other business) in
conjunction with document ALCOM/ES/4 (Brazil), the Committees proceeded to consider:

.1 document ALCOM/ES/1/3 (China, Islamic Republic of Iran and Russian


Federation), proposing changes to the silence procedure for approving the
ALCOM/ES report as indicated in paragraph 9 of the annex to document
ALCOM/ES/1, in particular that Member States be given opportunity to
review/comment on any comments submitted on the draft ALCOM/ES report
after the 5-day correspondence period had ended; and

.2 paragraphs 6 to 8 of document ALCOM/ES/1/4 (Argentina), also referring to


the silence procedure mentioned in paragraph 9 of the annex to document
ALCOM/ES/1, and inter alia proposing to address the question of how
Member States would be informed of comments made by others on the draft
report and how consultations would take place in order to reach consensus
on the text for adoption of the report.

1.6 In this connection, the Committees noted the information provided by the Secretariat
that the silence procedure as referenced in paragraph 9 of the annex to document
ALCOM/ES/1 was solely intended to refer to the silence procedure as employed by the Council
in its thirty-first and thirty-second extraordinary sessions and that the Council made clear in its
decisions that any such procedures would apply only for remote meetings conducted during
the pandemic. As such, the reference to the silence procedure was intended to infer that a
similar procedure as used in the Council would be used for this ALCOM/ES session, and that
this procedure would be further addressed during the ALCOM/ES meeting itself.

1.7 The Committees proceeded to extensively discuss the procedure that should be
followed for reviewing the draft report of this ALCOM/ES.

1.8 A number of delegations were of the view that, in the interest of transparency, to
facilitate equal and full participation by all Members of a committee and to ensure the credibility
and legitimacy of the decisions made, there should, as a minimum, be two rounds of
correspondence following the completion of synchronous deliberations of the remote
extraordinary session, in order for comments on the draft report to be submitted in writing and

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circulated to Member States and international organizations during the first round, who would
then have an opportunity to provide written remarks on such comments during a second round.
It was also proposed that, in the event that comments were conflicting, provisions should be
agreed for appointing a facilitator, such as the chair of a committee with the support of the
Secretariat, with a view to achieving consensus.

1.9 A number of other delegations expressed the view that, for consideration of the draft
report of this remote ALCOM/ES, the procedure for reviewing the draft report during physical
meetings of the Committees should be followed as closely as possible, in that the Committees
would review the report paragraph by paragraph during the virtual meeting, with a view to
confirming that the summary of the discussions was to the satisfaction of the Committees and
their decisions were accurately reflected. Consequently, subject to the virtual meeting having
been conducted smoothly with no interruptions, e.g. due to technical failures of the virtual
platform, there should be no need to further review the report by correspondence.

1.10 During the discussion, some delegations also proposed that, while the established
procedure for reviewing the draft report during physical meetings should be followed for this
ALCOM/ES, the option of having one round of review of the draft report by correspondence
could be considered in certain circumstances, such as when technical failures of the remote
platform or loss of connectivity had been experienced. Under exceptional circumstances,
should conflicting comments be received during the first round of correspondence, a second
round of review by correspondence may be provided before finalization of the report so
delegations could review and react, if necessary, to those comments submitted by other
delegation during the first round.

1.11 Having noted the need for transparency and inclusiveness in the decision-making
process, the willingness for agreement to be reached on the matters put forward to the
Committees, and the preference for following the process for considering the draft report as
per in-person committee sessions, the Committees agreed that:

.1 the draft report of this ALCOM/ES would be reviewed paragraph by


paragraph on the last day of the virtual meeting, having been made available
in advance as ALCOM/ES/WP.1 on IMODOCS;

.2 subsequently, Member States and international organizations could further


review the draft report and provide written comments to the Secretariat no

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later than 5 working days following publication of the final draft report,
provided that such comments did not reopen discussion on decisions made
or outcomes that had been agreed during the virtual meeting but were
restricted to addressing editorial mistakes or, at the request of the relevant
delegation, the accuracy of a statement that had not been properly captured;

.3 the Chairs of the Committees, with the support of the Secretariat, would
review any comments received and publish on IMODOCS a document
containing all comments received together with explanations of how they had
been addressed; and

.4 subsequently, the final report would be prepared in due course for publication
on IMODOCS.

1.12 It was also agreed that the Committees would review the above-agreed arrangements
in the future on the basis of experience gained, in order for the Organization to continue
progressing its work, as far as practicable, during the exceptional circumstances resulting from
the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credentials

1.13 With regard to the credentials that had been submitted electronically (see also
paragraph 2.5.1 and annex, paragraph 15), the Maritime Safety Committee, the Marine
Environment Protection Committee, the Legal Committee and the Facilitation Committee noted
the report of the Secretary-General that the credentials of 86 delegations attending the
simultaneous extraordinary session of each of the aforementioned Committees had been
submitted and found in order. All Committees noted that credentials were not required for this
session of the Technical Cooperation Committee. All Committees agreed that, pursuant to
rule 9 of the rules of procedure for all Committees, credentials were required for sessions, not
for specific dates, and, therefore, the credentials submitted would be in effect for the
additionally agreed meeting on 21 September 2020.

2 WAIVER OF THE RULES OF PROCEDURE

2.1 The Committees had for their consideration document ALCOM/ES/2 (Secretariat),
providing recommendations on waivers of certain rules of procedure of each Committee in
respect of the holding of this extraordinary session, and other remote sessions of the
Committees held in the future.

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2.2 In this context, the Committees noted:

.1 paragraphs 2 and 3 of document ALCOM/ES/3/3 (Norway), supporting the


actions requested of all Committees in paragraph 8 of document ALCOM/ES/2,
and underlining the importance of ensuring that the rules of procedure and
method of work of the Committees continue to be applicable for remote
sessions and should only be amended when considered necessary; and

.2 paragraphs 3 to 5 of document ALCOM/ES/1/4 (Argentina), indicating


Argentina's agreement for rule 4 of the rules of procedure of the Committees
to be waived for this extraordinary session, but, as the session had already
been convened by Circular Letter No.4315, the decision to waive rule 4 had
to be clearly adopted by the Committees.

2.3 In the ensuing discussion, there was broad support for the proposal in document
ALCOM/ES/2 for the Committees to invoke rule 49 of their respective rules of procedure and
waive rules 3, 4 and 11 for this extraordinary session and for all future remote sessions of the
Committees, as appropriate, and rules 14 and 15 for this extraordinary session only. There was
also broad support of the recommendation for the Committees to take certain actions regarding
other relevant rules of procedure as set out in paragraphs 4 to 7 and 8.2 to 8.5 of
document ALCOM/ES/2.

2.4 Following consideration of document ALCOM/ES/2 as well as the relevant parts of


documents ALCOM/ES/1/4 and ALCOM/ES/3/3, and in light of the comments made, all
Committees decided to invoke rule 49 of their respective rules of procedure to waive the
following rules for the purposes of remote sessions:

.1 rule 3, in part, to waive the requirement for a session to be held at IMO


Headquarters for this and future remote sessions;

.2 rule 4, in part, to waive the requirement for the Secretary-General to notify


Members and other participants at least two months in advance of the
holding of a session of a committee for this extraordinary session and other
committees, as appropriate;

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.3 rule 11, to waive the requirement for the Secretary-General to communicate


the provisional agenda and supporting documents to Members and other
participants two months before the opening of this extraordinary session and
future remote sessions, as appropriate;

.4 rule 14, for this extraordinary session only, to waive the requirement for the
provisional agenda of a session to include all the items listed under this rule,
taking into account that the agenda for this extraordinary session was limited
to procedural matters only and agenda items on other subjects could not be
considered within the time available; and

.5 rule 15, for this extraordinary session only, to waive the requirement for the
Secretary-General to report on the technical, administrative and financial
implications of any substantive agenda items submitted to a committee.
In this context, all Committees also agreed that the preliminary reports on the
holding of remote sessions provided by the Secretary-General to the
thirty-second extraordinary session of the Council (C/ES.32/5, C/ES.32/5/23,
C/ES.32/5/23/Corr.1 and C/ES.32/5/26) sufficed for this extraordinary
session.

2.5 Furthermore, the Committees, pursuant to their respective rules of procedure:

.1 agreed to accept electronically submitted credentials, with originals to follow,


for this and future remote sessions under rule 9 during the COVID-19
pandemic, noting that credentials were not required for the Technical
Cooperation Committee;

.2 agreed that rules 22 to 25 regarding translation of meeting documents and


interpretation during remote meetings should only be waived in exceptional
circumstances and emergencies, on a case-by-case basis;

.3 considered a Member "present" for the purposes of rules 27, 28 and 34 if


they had registered for the session using the Online Meeting Registration
System (OMRS) and were listed as a participant in the remote session, using
the virtual meeting platform; and

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.4 agreed that their respective rules of procedure and organization and method
of work (MSC-MEPC.1/Circ.5/Rev.1, LEG.1/Circ.9, TC.1/Circ.72 and
FAL.3/Circ.214, respectively) would continue to be applicable and should
only be waived when necessary.

3 INTERIM GUIDANCE TO FACILITATE REMOTE SESSIONS OF THE COMMITTEES


DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

3.1 The Committees recalled that the thirty-second extraordinary session of the Council
had adopted the Interim guidance to facilitate remote sessions of the IMO Council during the
COVID-19 pandemic, as set out in annex 3 to document C/ES.32/D, and invited the
Committees and other governing bodies to consider using the aforementioned Interim
Guidance when developing the way forward for their future work during the COVID-19
pandemic, taking into account document C/ES.32/5/25 (Secretary-General).

3.2 The Committees also recalled that, in adopting the aforementioned Interim Guidance,
C/ES 32 had noted that:

.1 the purpose of the Interim Guidance was to facilitate the work of the Council
using a structured and transparent methodology aimed at standardizing the
conduct of remote sessions in view of the exceptional circumstances during
the COVID-19 pandemic;

.2 the Interim Guidance was for temporary use during the COVID-19 pandemic
and was not intended to provide an interpretation of the IMO Convention or
the Rules of Procedure of the Council or to set a precedent for the methods
of work of the Organization; and

.3 the Interim Guidance should be kept under review as necessary, to


incorporate experiences gained in the conduct of remote sessions during the
COVID-19 pandemic.

3.3 In this connection, the Committees had for their consideration:

.1 document ALCOM/ES/3 (Secretariat), proposing draft interim guidance to


facilitate remote sessions of the Committees during the COVID-19
pandemic, based on the Interim Guidance adopted by C/ES.32, for
consideration by the Committees;

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.2 document ALCOM/ES/3/1 (China, Islamic Republic of Iran, Russian


Federation), proposing amendments to paragraphs 13, 18 and 20 of the draft
Interim Guidance annexed to document ALCOM/ES/3 and, more specifically,
that the Secretariat make alternative arrangements when Member States
encounter technical problems, and that the procedure for approving the
report be amended to allow for additional comments after the first round of
comments, which should be made available on IMODOCS, had been
received;

.3 document ALCOM/ES/3/2 (United Arab Emirates), proposing amendments


to paragraph 8 of the draft Interim Guidance to make clear which part of rule 3
of the rules of procedure is being exempted (i.e. waiving the requirement for
sessions to be held at IMO Headquarters); and

.4 relevant parts of document ALCOM/ES/3/3 (Norway), proposing that the


draft Interim Guidance be amended to make clear that statements made in
a virtual meeting are considered to be "official statements" and, therefore, do
not need to be submitted in writing to the Secretariat.

3.4 With a view to facilitating the discussion, the Committees considered document
ALCOM/ES/WP.2, reproducing the draft Interim Guidance to facilitate remote sessions of the
Committees during the COVID-19 pandemic (ALCOM/ES/3) with all the amendments that had
been proposed in the documents submitted under this agenda item shown in grey shading,
together with further proposed revisions to paragraphs 18 of 20 of the Interim Guidance,
prepared by the Chairs of the Committees, as shown below:

"18 In keeping with the IMO spirit, every effort should be made to take decisions
in a remote session by consensus. The decisions taken by the committee during a
remote session will be consolidated into a single draft report for consideration in
accordance with the provisions of paragraph 20 below. In some cases, should an
agreement be reached on a specific matter during a meeting, the chair of the
committee may prepare an advance draft decision, that would be circulated on
IMODOCS, for further review by the committee during the remote session."

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"20 After consideration of the draft report of the committee in a virtual session, the
Secretariat will prepare the final draft report for publication on IMODOCS. Delegations
will have 5 business days from publication of the final draft report to comment by
correspondence. Comments should address whether the report accurately reflects the
decisions taken during the session, but should not reopen discussion on decisions
taken. The chair and the Secretariat will facilitate resolution of any comments received,
as appropriate. After the conclusion of the 5-day correspondence period, the
Secretariat, in consultation with the chair, will publish a document on IMODOCS
containing the comments received, together with an explanation of how they have been
addressed. After the above document has been published, the final report will be
prepared in due course for publication on IMODOCS."

3.5 Having noted general support for the proposal contained in document ALCOM/ES/3/2
(United Arab Emirates) concerning waiving the requirement for sessions to be held at the IMO
Headquarters, all Committees agreed to the following final wording for paragraph 8 of the draft
Interim Guidance:

"8 The circular letter containing the invitation to a remote session should
indicate that the session is proposed to be conducted remotely necessitating the
waiver of rule 3 of the rules of procedures of the Committees with respect to the
requirement for the session to be held at the IMO Headquarters. The circular letter
should provide the opportunity for Member States to comment on the waiver indicating
their objection, if any, before adopting the agenda at the start of the session. "

3.6 Having acknowledged the importance of providing alternative communication


arrangements should, for example, technical problems be encountered by delegations in the
course of a virtual meeting, the Committees used the proposal in paragraph 12 of document
ALCOM/ES/3/1 as a basis and, following a brief discussion, agreed on the following final
wording for paragraph 13 of the draft Interim Guidance:

"13 With the aim to ensure equal and full participation, for virtual meetings
scheduled in a remote session, the Secretariat should provide a manual on how to
use the e-conferencing platform and connectivity testing, as well as making
arrangements for alternative means of communication with the Secretariat in case of
technical problems."

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3.7 In this connection, the Committees noted with appreciation the information provided
by the Secretariat that a dedicated point of contact (phone number and email address) would
be set up for delegations to communicate with the Secretariat and report any connectivity
issues that they might be facing at the time, with a view to receiving assistance in reconnecting
and resuming their participation in a virtual meeting. The Committees also noted that the
Secretariat was working towards a possible alternative video-conferencing platform that could
be used as a backup solution for conducting virtual meetings in the event that technical
problems with the primary virtual platform necessitated a switch.

3.8 In considering the proposed revisions to the text on paragraphs 18 and 20 of the draft
Interim Guidance, concerning guidance on the decision-making process, consideration of the
report of a committee and adjournment of a remote session, the Committees agreed that this
part of the Guidance should:

.1 refer to the IMO spirit of cooperation and emphasize that the ultimately
preferred approach for reaching decisions was by consensus;

.2 make clear that, following the consideration of a committee's draft report at


a virtual meeting, further comments received by correspondence should not
reopen the discussion on matters that had been agreed during the virtual
meeting;

.3 indicate that reports of Committees should not only include the decisions
made but also a summary of the discussions and/or the main points
considered in making the decisions;

.4 provide the necessary discretion to the Chairs of Committees to take action,


as they deem appropriate and necessary, when technical difficulties or
connectivity problems arise during virtual meetings; and

.5 make appropriate and correct use of the terms "virtual meeting" and "remote
session", in line with the definition for remote session in paragraph 7 of the
Interim Guidance.
3.9 In this connection, the Committees noted, inter alia, the view expressed by a number
of delegations that decisions should be made without resorting to unnecessarily prolonged
processes.

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3.10 Following an extensive discussion on the exact wording to be included in the draft
Interim Guidance in order to reflect the above-listed points, the Committees agreed to the
following text for paragraphs 18 and 20 of the draft Interim Guidance:

"18 In keeping with the IMO spirit, every effort should be made to take decisions
in a remote session by consensus. The decisions taken by the committee during a
remote session will be included in the draft report for consideration in accordance with
the provisions of paragraph 20 below. In some cases, on specific matters during a
meeting, the chair of the committee may prepare a draft summation and/or proposed
solutions, as necessary, with the aim of achieving consensus, to be circulated on
IMODOCS for further review by the committee during the remote session."

"20 After consideration of the draft report of the committee in a virtual meeting,
the Secretariat will prepare the final draft report for publication on IMODOCS.
Delegations will have five working days from publication of the final draft report to
comment by correspondence. Comments should address whether the report
accurately reflects the decisions taken during the remote session and should not
reopen discussion on decisions taken during the remote session. The chair,
supported by the Secretariat, will facilitate resolution of any comments received, as
necessary. After the conclusion of the five-day correspondence period, the
Secretariat, in consultation with the chair, will publish a document on IMODOCS
containing the comments received, together with an explanation of how they have
been addressed. After the above document has been published, the final report will
be prepared in due course for publication on IMODOCS."

3.11 The Committees confirmed that the above text, specifically the part concerning the
chair of a committee preparing a draft summation and/or proposed solutions that would be
circulated on IMODOCS for further review by the committee during the remote session,
covered cases of delegations facing technical difficulties during virtual meetings.

3.12 In this context, the delegation of Argentina recalled its view, which had been
supported by the delegations of China and the Russian Federation, that it was not appropriate
for a guidance document to prescribe the type of comments that Member States could submit,
but instead should be restricted to indicating that delegations should avoid reopening the
discussion on decisions and outcomes that had been agreed at a remote session. In noting
that the agreed text in the draft Interim Guidance did not fully reflect that view, the delegation

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of Argentina, while not objecting to the text agreed by the Committees, expressed concern that
in this case not every effort had been made to reach as broad a consensus as possible and
that caution should be exercised during future sessions of Committees to take the necessary
time to achieve consensus, especially on delicate technical or policy issues.

3.13 With regard to the proposal in paragraph 5 of document ALCOM/ES/3/3, the


Committees noted general support for the proposal as well as for the comment that delegations
should be able, as it was the practice in the committees, to present written statements and
request them to be included in the report. Therefore, the Committees agreed to include the
following paragraph regarding statements made during a virtual meeting:

"23 Statements or interventions given in a virtual meeting are considered as


official statements and need not be submitted in writing to the Secretariat, unless a
delegation specifically requests their statement be included in the report."

3.14 Having noted general support for a proposal made by the delegation of the Cook
Islands that the Interim Guidance should emphasize that the normal practice for conducting
the work of the Committees should be maintained as far as possible, the Committees agreed
to include the following additional sentence in the introduction of the draft Interim Guidance.

"It is also noted that in order to ensure full participation and understanding by all
delegations, the normal established practices for the conduct of committee meetings
should be maintained as far as possible."

3.15 Having concluded their consideration of the draft Interim Guidance all Committees
approved MSC-LEG-MEPC-TCC-FAL.1/Circ.1 on Interim guidance to facilitate remote
sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic, as set out in the annex, and authorized the
Secretariat to conduct an editorial review of the text, including renumbering as necessary.

3.16 All Committees agreed to keep this Interim Guidance under review, based on
experience gained in conducting remote sessions.

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4 ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Meeting modalities and meeting programme for 2020/2021

4.1 The Committees had for their consideration:

.1 paragraphs 9 to 12 of document ALCOM/ES/1/4 (Argentina), providing


comments on the meeting programme for 2020/2021, on the prioritization of
sessions, the number and prioritization of agenda items of postponed
sessions, and the time allocated to and between meetings; and recalling the
decision by MEPC 74 that ISWG-GHG 7 and MEPC 75 would be counted as
one meeting in the context of the application of the Procedure for assessing
impacts on States of candidate measures (MEPC.1/Circ.885); and

.2 document ALCOM/ES/4 (Brazil), reiterating the position that Brazil


communicated during C.ES/32 (C.ES/32/Communication/39) that remote
meetings should be held by a combination of virtual and correspondence
means; proposing that adoption of binding measures and deliberations
concerning matters for which no clear consensus could be reached during a
remote session should be put on hold until formal face-to-face meetings were
resumed; and providing comments and proposals regarding the schedule of
meetings for 2020.

4.2 The Committees noted that the proposal in paragraph 10.1 of document ALCOM/ES/4
had already been addressed during discussions under agenda items 1 and 3. The Committees
also noted that the proposals in document ALCOM/ES/1/4 regarding allocation of sufficient
time for the Committees to consider comments in writing had also been addressed under
agenda items 1 and 3.

4.3 With regard to the comments made and the proposals in the above-mentioned
documents in relation to prioritization of agenda items and scheduling and timing of committee
meetings, the Committees considered whether such matters should be referred to the Council.
In this context, the Committees noted that:

1 the Council had decided on the prioritization of meetings and had requested
the Secretariat to calendar the dates for remote sessions in 2020, in
accordance with the priority listing and other guidance provided by the
Council; and

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.2 the Chairs of the Committees, with the support of the Secretariat, were in the
process of prioritizing agenda items, taking into account, inter alia, the
urgency associated with each output.

4.4 Consequently, the Committees agreed that there was no need to refer documents
ALCOM/ES/1/4 and ALCOM/ES/4 to the next session of the Council, having noted the
concurrence of the delegations of Argentina and Brazil, respectively, and that Member States
could submit documents to the Council in this regard should they deem it necessary.

4.5 In this context, the Committees noted the concern expressed by the delegation of the
Russian Federation, which it would raise at the next session of the Council, in relation to the
revised meeting calendar for 2020 set out in the annex to Circular Letter No. 4213/Add.6,
specifically that the meetings were scheduled too close to each other, that the dates for each
meeting only reflected the time allocated to a virtual meeting and not to a remote session in its
entirety (i.e. including the period for correspondence), and that the correspondence period for
MSC 102 overlapped with the virtual meeting of MEPC 75.

***

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ANNEX

MSC/LEG/MEPC/TC/FAL CIRCULAR

INTERIM GUIDANCE TO FACILITATE REMOTE SESSIONS OF THE


COMMITTEES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

1 The Maritime Safety Committee, at its second extraordinary session


(16 to 21 September 2020), the Legal Committee, at its first extraordinary session
(16 to 21 September 2020), the Marine Environment Protection Committee, at its first
extraordinary session (16 to 21 September 2020), the Technical Cooperation Committee, at
its first extraordinary session (16 to 21 September 2020) and the Facilitation Committee, at its
first extraordinary session (16 to 21 September 2020), approved the Interim guidance to
facilitate remote sessions of the Committees during the COVID-19 pandemic, as set out in the
annex, taking into account the Interim guidance to facilitate remote sessions of the IMO Council
during the COVID-19 pandemic (C/ES.32/D, annex 3), which was adopted by the Council at
its thirty-second extraordinary session (4 May to 3 August 2020).

2 Members States are invited to apply the annexed Interim Guidance with immediate
effect, as appropriate, and to bring it to the attention of their representatives attending remote
sessions of the IMO Committees and their subsidiary bodies, advising them to strictly observe
its provisions.

3 The Committees agreed to keep this Interim Guidance under review, based on
experience gained in conducting remote sessions.

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ANNEX

INTERIM GUIDANCE TO FACILITATE REMOTE SESSIONS OF THE


COMMITTEES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Introduction

1 The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic crisis has affected many countries around
the world and has resulted in the temporary closure of the IMO Headquarters building, thus
preventing the possibility of physical meetings being held. Associated travel restrictions and
lockdown conditions have limited movement and travel of staff and delegates, requiring
important adjustments to the methods of work of IMO.

2 Being aware of the challenges ahead with remote sessions, a cautious approach has
been taken in developing this Guidance. The Guidance is based on the experience gained by
the Council in the conduct of remote sessions in these extraordinary times. The experiences
of the United Nations and other United Nations agencies have also been noted in this regard.

3 This Guidance should be kept under review, as necessary, to incorporate experience


gained in the conduct of remote sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

4 It is noted that the existing rules of procedure of the Committees and the organization
and method of work of the Committees and their subsidiary bodies, as appropriate, continue
to be applicable and should only be waived when necessary.

5 It is also noted that, in order to ensure full participation and understanding by all
delegations, the normal established practices for the conduct of committee meetings should
be maintained as far as possible.

Purpose

6 The purpose of this Guidance is to facilitate the work of the Committees using a
structured and transparent methodology aimed at standardizing the conduct of remote
sessions in view of the exceptional circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic.

7 This Guidance is for temporary use during the COVID-19 pandemic and is not
intended to provide an interpretation of the IMO Convention or the rules of procedure of the
Committees or to set a precedent for the methods of work of the Organization.

Invitation to a remote session

8 The rules of procedure of the Committees on the requirements for convening a


session (regular or extraordinary) remain applicable for the invitation to a remote session.
A remote session is one that contains both meetings by correspondence and virtual meetings
during the session.

9 The circular letter containing the invitation to a remote session should indicate that
the session is proposed to be conducted remotely necessitating the waiver of rule 3 of the
rules of procedures of the Committees with respect to the requirement for the session to be
held at IMO Headquarters. The circular letter should provide the opportunity for Member States
to comment on the waiver indicating their objection, if any, before adopting the agenda at the
start of the session.

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10 The circular letter should also indicate the date of the session and the chair's proposal
of the modalities and timelines for the conduct of the remote session, including the provisional
agenda.

11 Before holding a remote session, the chair, in consultation with the Secretariat, should
publish information regarding the submission of additional documents to any postponed
sessions of the Committees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a predetermined
format for holding remote sessions, delegates would be given foresight of the relevant
milestones for the session and would also support the chair and the Secretariat in organizing
the logistical arrangements.

E-conferencing platform for the virtual meetings of a remote session

12 Virtual meetings should cater for data security, confidentiality and simultaneous
interpretation requirements.

13 Virtual meetings should be of maximum 3 hours duration with a 15-minute break.


Consideration should be given to rotation of the commencement timing of virtual meetings
within a remote session.

14 With the aim of ensuring equal and full participation for virtual meetings scheduled in
a remote session the Secretariat should provide a manual on how to use the e-conferencing
platform and connectivity testing, as well as make arrangements for alternative means of
communication with the Secretariat in case of technical problems.

Conduct of business

Credentials

15 For credentials, the existing rules of procedure of the Committees should apply to
remote sessions. Provisional acceptance of electronic copies of credentials should be
permitted.

Registration

16 The registration of delegates for remote sessions should be the same as for physical
sessions, that is through the Online Meeting Registration System (OMRS). When a remote
session includes virtual meetings, OMRS should be used to draw up the distribution list for the
link to participate in virtual meetings in a remote session and specific instructions regarding
the distribution of links should be provided to all registered attendees. The distribution list
should also be circulated to all participants as an information document to facilitate
communications between Member States during a remote session.

Quorum

17 A meeting scheduled in a remote session would commence when the quorum is


achieved according to the existing rules of procedure of the Committees.

Agenda

18 For remote sessions, consideration of the agenda should be taken as a matter of


priority during the meetings and urgent agenda items should be prioritized.

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Decision-making process

19 In keeping with the IMO spirit, every effort should be made to take decisions in a
remote session by consensus. The decisions taken by the committee during a remote session
will be included in the draft report for consideration in accordance with the provisions of
paragraph 21 below. In some cases, on specific matters during a meeting, the chair of the
committee may prepare a draft summation and/or proposed solutions, as necessary, with the
aim of achieving consensus, to be circulated on IMODOCS for further review by the committee
during the remote session.

20 Should a need for voting arise, the Secretariat should be requested to submit options
to facilitate remote voting for consideration. Such voting should be made in writing.

Report and adjournment of the remote session

21 After consideration of the draft report of the committee in a virtual meeting, the
Secretariat will prepare the final draft report for publication on IMODOCS. Delegations will
have five working days from publication of the final draft report to comment by correspondence.
Comments should address whether the report accurately reflects the decisions taken during
the remote session and should not reopen discussion on decisions taken during the remote
session. The chair, supported by the Secretariat, will facilitate resolution of any comments
received, as necessary. After the conclusion of the five-day correspondence period, the
Secretariat, in consultation with the chair, will publish a document on IMODOCS containing the
comments received, together with an explanation of how they have been addressed. After the
above document has been published, the final report will be prepared in due course for
publication on IMODOCS.

22 The Secretariat will circulate the final report on IMODOCS. Should errors in the report
be detected by the Secretariat or by any delegation, those errors will be corrected through the
normal processes used for physical meetings.

Statements made during a virtual meeting

23 Statements or interventions made in a virtual meeting are considered as official


statements and need not be submitted in writing to the Secretariat, unless a delegation
specifically requests their statement be included in the report.

Recording of virtual meetings

24 The existing rules of procedures on publicity should apply to virtual meetings.


All virtual meetings should be recorded and made available on IMODOCS by the Secretariat,
except for those parts of a meeting that are held in private. This includes whether the meeting
will be recorded and how the recording may be used.

25 The existing terms and conditions of media attendance at meetings of the IMO
Assembly, Council and committees and their subsidiary bodies should apply to remote
sessions.

___________

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