The April issue shows that disasters have often sparked advancements in safety. The huge loss of life that resulted from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 shocked the world into improving life-saving equipment, ship stability and watertight subdivision requirements. Notably, the incident led to the establishment of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).  

Since then, further improvements in maritime regulations and standards have made shipping one of the safest modes of transport. As technology evolves and the industry continues to grow, however, there will always be room for progress, as the recent tragic incidents earlier this year involving the Costa Concordia, the MV Rabaul Queen and the Shariatpur-1 demonstrate. With shipping being one of the most international of industries, global action is needed.

The April 2012 issue of ISO Focus+ showcases how ISO can be a platform for translating lessons learnt into viable technical solutions to avoid future disasters. The articles look at the role that International Standards play in addressing the unique needs of the maritime industry. They highlight some of the most innovative safety standards, and explore emerging challenges such as pollution and environmental concerns, the crippling issue of piracy and the difficulties of artic navigation.

Much of this work is carried out by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 8, Ships and marine technology, which brings together the different stakeholders in the maritime field to develop solutions for the industry.

The issue features an exclusive interview with Koji Sekimizu, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN specialized agency responsible for safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

Mr. Sekimizu emphasizes the close relationship between ISO and IMO, “ISO has always worked closely with IMO in the meetings of its committees and subcommittees and we very much welcome its contribution.

“Our relationship has always been a great strength for both organizations and I will continue to promote it, as my predecessors have done in the past. I have no doubt that there will be a continued need for International Standards developed by ISO in many other aspects of IMO’s work in the future.”

ISO Focus+, April 2012

Maritime matters