IMO to assess maritime infrastructures after tsunami disaster
As global attention in the aftermath of the Dec. 26 tsunami disaster turns to the task of repairing the long-term damage and restoring infrastructures in the affected regions of Asia, the International Maritime Organization said today it will assess the maritime infrastructures in these areas and coordinate efforts to attend to these infrastructures.
The IMO said it is important to ensure that “ports, navigational aids and other key elements of the maritime infrastructure are in effective working order as soon as possible, both to facilitate the medium and long-term recovery of the affected areas and to ensure that short-term aid arriving by sea can do so efficiently and in safety.”
The United Nations agency has initiated consultations with organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization, the International Hydrographic Organization, and the International Association of Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities concerning priority actions aimed at the safety of shipping and other elements of the maritime infrastructure in the affected areas.
IMO is also in contact with the United Nations Development Program and the Regional Program for Marine Pollution Prevention and Management in the East Asian Seas region concerning possible short term and medium term activities.
“In the medium to longer term, IMO plans to field needs assessment missions to affected countries, both to assess the situation and to establish appropriate follow-up activities, such as rebuilding their fishing capacity, and also to prioritize IMO responses,” it said. The agency will seek to coordinate these activities with other agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Labor Organization and the World Bank, as appropriate.
Steps will also be taken to assess any action that may have been taken by maritime rescue coordination centers in the region “in response to (or in the absence of) information about the earthquake and tsunami,” the IMO said. The possibility of more effective use being made of the maritime safety networks established by IMO to disseminate other information will be investigated.
The secretary-general of the IMO, Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, has established a fund through which the shipping industry’s direct financial and in-kind aid for the victims of the disaster might also be coordinated, the London-based agency said.