NEVA visit highlights Russia’s IMO role

September 20, 2017

Visits to Russia by the International Maritime Organization’s two most senior officials in the same week demonstrate that the maritime nation figures prominently in the UN agency’s thinking.

Speaking during the NEVA 2017 conference and exhibition in St Petersburg, IMO Assistant Secretary-General Lawrence Barchue said his visit offered a timely update on the engagement of Russian marine equipment makers with the standards laid out in the Polar Code.

"At a time when there are also challenges posed by regulations on air emissions, marine equipment needs to be built to very high specifications," said Mr Barchue, a marine engineer by background who also spent 11 years at sea. "From the regulatory point of view, we can sit and make rules based on data but it is essential that we come and see how equipment manufacturers and shipbuilders are applying those rules.”

This week also sees a first official visit to Russia by IMO Secretary General Ki-Tack Lim, who is attending a Tokyo MoU Committee meeting in Vladivostok. Mr Lim took the opportunity to meet Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov in Moscow to discuss cooperation between IMO and Russia on global warming, fuel standards and shipping regulations.

“Russia is a major maritime country and the technical capabilities of the Russian Federation are well known in IMO,” commented Mr Barchue. The Assistant Secretary-General also took the opportunity to emphasise how the visit chimed with the "Connecting Ships, ports, and people" theme of this year's IMO World Maritime Day 2017, which takes place on September 28.