The IMO’s Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) is intended to provide a comprehensive and objective assessment of how effectively a Member State administers and implements the key IMO conventions they are party to (e.g., SOLAS, MARPOL, Load Lines, Tonnage, COLREGS, and STCW). The Member State audit includes flag, port, and coastal State activities ranging from port State control to search and rescue. The first voluntary IMO audit of the United States was conducted in April 2008.
The United States Consolidated Strategy for the IMO Instruments Implementation (III) Code serves as the framework to ensure the United States meets its international obligations and responsibilities as a flag, port, and coastal State as prescribed by the III Code. The strategy underscores the vision to enhance global maritime safety, security, and protection of the marine environment through effective engagement and implementation of the IMO instruments and captures the lines of effort to ensure compliance with the III Code.
As the lead federal agency, the Coast Guard will coordinate with interagency partners to capitalize on this opportunity to improve processes and expand the Mission Management System (MMS). The MMS conforms to the American National Standard Institute for Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2015) to drive continuous improvement in the fulfillment of domestic and international obligations. Since the voluntary audit in 2008, the Coast Guard has continued to develop capabilities by implementing the MMS to foster a culture of continual improvement, training a nationwide cadre of MMS professionals, and by conducting routine ISO 9001-based audits across the interagency to monitor system efficacy. Future efforts will seek to incorporate coastal State programs, as well as Areas and Districts into the MMS to ensure consistency in meeting international requirements.
The IMO Member State audit will be a two-week engagement, beginning Monday 28FEB2022 and closing Monday 14MAR2022. Over 70 participants from COMDTs (CG-5P) and (CG-5R) program offices, and external partners including DOS, EPA, NTSB, NOAA,
USACE, and FCC will play an important role in demonstrating overall compliance with the IMO instruments. Sector Virginia will be the field representative for this effort and will verify both implementation and enforcement of the IMO instruments.
The participating auditors for this effort are from Canada, Italy, Sweden, Finland, and the IMO Secretariat, representing countries that are members of the IMO and have undergone their own Member State audit. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with regards to the implementation and enforcement of IMO instruments. The USCG looks forward to sharing with them how the United States effectively manages Member State obligations with regards to implementation, compliance, and enforcement of IMO instruments.
Interagency goals for this audit will be to: (a) further improve flag, port, and coastal State systems used to fulfill the United States’ obligations, and (b) continually grow and enhance the MMS. To maximize exposure and knowledge, the results of the audit will be shared in an effort to highlight both areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.