IMO, other organizations adopt post-tsunami action plan
The International Maritime Organization, together with the International Hydrographic Organization, an inter-government body, and the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities, a non-government organization, Wednesday adopted a joint action plan after discussing their immediate responses to the Asian tsunami disaster.
The World Meteorological Organization is also participating in the coordinated efforts, but did not attend the meeting in London.
The four bodies are focusing their attention principally on ensuring the integrity of the maritime navigational infrastructure, including the safe navigation of ships, improvements to the promulgation of maritime safety information, and a future tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean.
Both the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities and the International Hydrographic Organization have begun assessing the extent of the damage to ports and their approaches, navigational channels and navigational aids in the affected areas.
“Although feedback from member organizations in the affected countries is still far from complete, early reports indicate that some damage has occurred, and that cooperation between affected countries and relevant international organizations to effect initial repairs is underway,” the IMO said in a statement.
The joint action plan adopted at the meeting will be submitted to the appropriate bodies of the three organizations, recommending appropriate action at the regulatory level. It contained the short term and longer term elements.
The short term measures are:
* Assess the extent of damage to navigational aids in the affected areas, in cooperation with national authorities.
* Assess and undertake preliminary resurvey for any reported changes in depths in the affected areas particularly ports, restricted navigational areas, the Malacca Strait and other areas as needed.
* Issue advice to shipping as appropriate, through existing networks.
The medium and long term tasks are:
* Technical cooperation activities including needs assessment missions.
* Assess and define new charting requirements.
* Marking of new dangers, if necessary.
* Assess the need to improve procedures for checking navigational aids and providing relevant warnings following natural disasters.
* Participate in establishing a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean, in cooperation with other organizations.