I was delighted to participate in the IMO/ESCAP Expert Group Meeting on “Improving Domestic Ferry Safety in Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok on March 17. While, because of COVID-19, the meeting was held telephonically, it was very successful and a credit to its organisers.
It was also very important as it confirms that IMO (the International Maritime Organisation) is now taking domestic ferry safety just as seriously as it has taken international ferry safety for many years. This is a considerable advance and something I have been urging and lobbying for strongly for more than thirty years.
The Bangkok Declaration provides an excellent platform from which to improve domestic ferry safety, particularly in developing countries. It encourages a joint approach by IMO, other UN bodies such as ESCAP and WHO, national governments, Interferry and other “stakeholders”.
It will lead, inevitably, to the development of a Convention on Domestic Ferry Safety and to a set of Model Regulations on the same subject that can readily be implemented in any country having the will to do so. It should eventually lead to a substantial reduction in the numbers of lives lost following ferry accidents.