The Cape Town Agreement of 2012

The Cape Town Agreement of 2012: What You Need to Know

The Cape Town Agreement of 2012 is an international treaty that aims to promote safety and security at sea by setting standards for the design, construction, and equipment of fishing vessels. It was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on 11 October 2012, and it entered into force on 11 July 2016.

The treaty is named after Cape Town, South Africa, where the IMO held a conference to discuss the safety of fishing vessels in 1993. The conference identified a number of problems in the fishing industry, including the high number of accidents and fatalities among fishermen, particularly in developing countries.

The Cape Town Agreement of 2012 is designed to address these problems by establishing minimum standards for fishing vessels that are 24 meters in length or longer. These standards cover a range of areas, including stability, structural requirements, watertight integrity, and safety equipment.

One of the key requirements of the treaty is that fishing vessels must have a safety management system (SMS) on board. An SMS is a structured and documented system that ensures that the vessel is operated safely and that risks are identified and managed. The SMS must be approved by the vessel`s flag state, which is the country in which the vessel is registered.

Other requirements of the treaty include the provision of life-saving appliances, such as life jackets and life rafts, and the installation of communication equipment, such as a radio or satellite phone. The treaty also requires that fishing vessels undergo periodic surveys and inspections to ensure that they continue to meet the standards set out in the treaty.

The Cape Town Agreement of 2012 is an important step towards improving safety and security in the fishing industry. It provides a framework for countries to work together to improve the safety of fishing vessels, particularly in developing countries where standards may be lower. It also provides a way for countries to cooperate in the enforcement of safety standards, by allowing them to inspect and detain non-compliant vessels.

In conclusion, the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 is an important international treaty that sets minimum standards for the safety and security of fishing vessels. It aims to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities in the fishing industry, particularly in developing countries, and provides a framework for countries to work together to improve safety standards. By promoting safety and security at sea, the treaty helps to protect the lives of fishermen and ensure the sustainability of the fishing industry.