The International Maritime Organization passed new rules that will require the electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew and passengers.
According to a report from Hellenic Shipping News, public authorities must establish systems to exchange information electronically over the next few years. There will be a 12-month transitional period from the date of introduction – currently expected to be Jan. 1, 2018 – during which both paper and electronic documents will be allowed.
The new standards encourage what is called a “single window” concept where all information required by public authorities can be submitted in one portal. That includes everything with the arrival, stay and departure of the ships, including everything and everyone on board.
The IMO also passed standards that cover shore leave and access to shore-side facilities, including anti-discrimination laws that say no one can be denied shore leave because of nationality, race, color, sex, religion, political opinion or social origin.
The new standards were adopted at the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, an organization set up more than 40 years ago that aims to regulate international shipping.
The adoption of these rules follows a comprehensive review of provisions that are aimed at ensuring these rules adequately address present and emergency needs to expedite international maritime traffic.
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