Belize, Japan & Portugal Join Fishing Vessel Safety Treaty

Belize, Japan and Portugal have become the latest countries to show their support for the safety of fishing vessels by becoming contracting parties to the fishing vessel safety treaty, the 2012 Cape Town Agreement.

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA) will bring in mandatory safety requirements for fishing vessels when it enters into force. It now has 20 parties.

The CTA, which will enter into force 12 months after at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels meeting the length requirements operating on the high seas, must express their consent to be bound by it. 

The CTA will apply to fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over. It includes provisions addressing stability and associated seaworthiness, machinery and electrical installations, life-saving appliances, communications equipment and fire protection, as well as fishing vessel construction.  

Japan’s H.E. Mr. Hajime Hayashi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Japan to IMO deposited the instrument of accession with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim on 27 March. 

Portugal’s H.E. Mr. Nuno e Brito, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Portugal to IMO deposited the instrument of accession with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim on 28 March.

Belize’s H.E. Mrs. Therese Rath, High Commissioner of Belize to the United Kingdom, deposited the instrument of accession with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim on 29 March.

IMO has been spreading awareness of – and building support for – the CTA via a series of regional webinars, organised and conducted in cooperation with The Pew Charitable Trusts. 

More than 50 countries signed the “Torremolinos Declaration”, following a Ministerial Conference held in Spain in October 2019, indicating their determination to ratify the Agreement by its tenth anniversary (i.e. 11 October 2022).  There are, at present, 20 Contracting States to the CTA with approximately 2,000 qualifying fishing vessels. These are: Belgium, Belize, Congo, Cook Islands, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Kenya, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa and Spain.

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