Being an archipelagic nation located at some of the world’s most strategic shipping routes and important international navigational systems, Indonesia attaches great importance to the protection of maritime passages which includes the Malacca and Singapore Straits, the Sunda Strait and the Lombok Strait. As part of its long term maritime policy objectives to ensure a safe, secure and clean ocean, Indonesia is fully committed to the improvement and management of infrastructures in the area and within other Indonesian waters.
In this regard, Indonesia places a great importance on being a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), the IMO was established in Geneva in 1948 and its headquarter is located in London. It is a United Nations' specialized agency responsible in developing and maintaining a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
The IMO currently (2009) have 169 Member States and 3 Associate Members. It is governed by an Assembly of Members, which meets once every two years. In between Assembly sessions, a Council consisting of 40 Member States elected by the Assembly, acts as the governing body. IMO’s works are conducted through five committees, which are supported by various technical subcommittees. The IMO Secretariat is headed by the Secretary General, currently Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos of Greece, which is appointed by the Council under the approval of the Assembly.
As a member of the IMO since 1961, Indonesia has actively participated in the organization’s activities, including being a member of the IMO Council since 1973. Indonesia has also played an active role and has demonstrated the highest interest and dedication in the promotion of the enhancement of international cooperation in maritime safety and security, including the protection of the marine environment. In this regard, Indonesia has acceded to 17 IMO Conventions, such as SOLAS 1974, CSC 1972, STCW 1978, INMARSAT 1976, MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II), COLREG 1972m and CLC 1992.
Indonesia has also ratified several other important legal instruments in relation to maritime issues, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the BASEL Convention 1989, the United Nations Convention Biological Diversity, and the International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages 1993. To enhance Indonesian seafarers’ competency and capacity, in 2008 Indonesia has ratified the ILO Convention No. 185 regarding the Revising of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention 1958.
In the region, Indonesia has a long-standing commitment to the promotion of safety, security and protection of marine environment. In this regard, Indonesia together with Malaysia and Singapore as Littoral States, have been working closely in the Tripartite Technical Experts Group (TTEG) in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. In dealing with new challenges, the Littoral States with the IMO have launched the Cooperative Mechanism, a basis for cooperation between Littoral States, User States, shipping industries and other stakeholders in enhancing maritime safety and environmental protection in the Straits.
Indonesia’s commitment was once again demonstrated in its initiative to convene the World Ocean Conference 2009 (WOC 2009) with the aim to conserve the marine environment of the world’s oceans, to respond to global threats such as the impact of climate change on oceans and degradation of land and marine resources, and to garner international commitment to work together to improve marine resource management. The resulting Manado Ocean Declaration (MOD) will be promoted to be included in the forthcoming United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen in December 2009, in order to fleet ocean-sensitive policies into the climate change discussions.
Indonesia’s ongoing national priorities are to enhance its ports’ capacities to accommodate Indonesia’s rapid development and to provide strong support for international trade. In order to ensure the security of international trade within Indonesian waters, Indonesia has implemented SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and ISPS-Code. To date, 247 ports facilities have complied with the ISPS Code, as also 742 Indonesian-flagged vessels. In addition, under the new Indonesian Law on Shipping, the Government of Indonesia will establish the Indonesian Sea and Coastguard to enhance law enforcement in Indonesian waters.
In its desire to continue its work in the IMO Council and given its strong commitment to the realization of IMO purposes, goals and objectives, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia has continued its commitment in the IMO by becoming a Member of the IMO Council in Category “C” for the period of 2009 – 2011.