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IMO Audit Preparation Series

Investigations

Investigations Report

Like the III Code requirements on delegation, the area of investigations is covered by a separate mandatory Code, known as the Casualty Investigation Code. This has been in place for some time and the investigation of casualties is seen by the IMO auditors as a very important duty laid on flag states.

Investigating casualties is also a core duty laid on flag states by Article 94 of UNCLOS as well as an obligation in both the Maritime Labour Convention and in SOLAS.

The audit summaries make it clear that the most recurrent findings in this area relate to the independence and impartiality of investigations, the decisions to open an investigation, the powers of investigators, reporting to the IMO and the publication of reports.

The III Code is quite prescriptive in this area and says that a flag state must ensure that:

1. Investigations are conducted by impartial and objective investigators irrespective of the location of the incident, and
2. Casualties are investigated and reported to the IMO in accordance with the Casualty Investigation Code.

There are also recommendations, notably that occupational accidents involving absence from duty for 3 days or more, should be investigated and the results made public. While this is a recommendation in the III Code, it is also a mandatory requirement from the Maritime Labour Convention and so, while the IMO auditors are confined to the IMO Instruments, the fact remains that there is another major convention that lays a clear duty on flag states to undertake this function.

The requirement to report to the IMO is now achieved through the GISIS portal as an on line process. But the entry of data into the IMO’s system via GISIS is complicated and time consuming.

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