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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 1, 1996


I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to acceptance, amendments to the Convention on the International Maritime Organization, signed at Geneva, March 6, 1948 (the IMO Convention). The amendments were adopted on November 7, 1991, and November 4, 1993, by the Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at its seventeenth and eighteenth sessions. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State describing the amendments, their purpose and effect.

The United States is the world's largest user of international shipping. These amendments strengthen the International Maritime Organization's capability to facilitate international maritime traffic and to carry out its activities in developing strong maritime safety and environmental protection standards and regulations. The IMO's policies and maritime standards largely reflect our own. The United States pays less than 5 percent of the assessed contributions to the IMO.

The 1991 amendments institutionalize the Facilitation Committee as one of the IMO's standing committees. The Facilitation Committee was created to streamline the procedures for the arrival, stay and departure of ships, cargo and persons in international ports. This committee effectively contributes to greater efficiencies and profits for the U.S. maritime sector, while assisting U.S. law enforcement agencies' efforts to combat narcotics trafficking and the threat of maritime terrorism.

The 1993 amendments increase the size of the IMO governing Council from 32 to 40 members. The United States has always been a member of the IMO governing Council. Increasing the Council from 32 to 40 Member States will ensure a more adequate representation of the interests of the more than 150 Member States in vital IMO maritime safety and environment protection efforts worldwide.

The 1991 amendments institutionalize the Facilitation Committee as one of the IMO's main committees. The 1993 amendments increase the size of the Council from 32 to 40 members, thereby affording a broader representation of the increased membership in the IMO's continuing administrative body.

Support for these amendments will contribute to the demonstrated interest of the United States in facilitating cooperation among maritime nations. To that end, I urge that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to these amendments and give its advice and consent to their acceptance.



October 1, 1996.

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