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IMO sec-gen Sekimizu calls for action on passenger ferry safety

IMO sec-gen Sekimizu calls for action on passenger ferry safety
IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu says action must be taken to improve the safety standards on passenger ferries following the fatal fire on the Norman Atlantic.

In a message posted on the IMO’s Facebook page Sekimizu said: "2014 will be remembered as another year of very serious maritime casualties involving passenger ships, with the tragedy of Sewol and the fire aboard the Norman Atlantic. IMO must take action to investigate these maritime accidents and improve safety standards of passenger ships.”

At least 11 people died in the fire onboard the ferry Norman Atlantic in the Adriatic Sea and two Albanian seafarers lost their lives in the salvage operation. Confusion over the passenger manifest means that up to 98 others may still be missing according to the Italian prosecutor, although the Greek authorities say the number is 18.

“In this context, I urge IMO member governments to review the current level of safety standards of passenger ships at the Maritime Safety Committee in June and discuss how we could strengthen our system and prevent such very serious maritime accidents involving passenger ships in future. I urge the authorities of Italy and Greece to accelerate the process of the casualty investigation and submit findings to IMO as soon as possible,” Sekimizu said.

“As we begin the new year, we must all rededicate ourselves to ensuring the safety if all those who live, work and travel on the world’s oceans.”