International Maritime Organization - Council
About the Committee
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is the specialised UN agency, established in 1948 (entered into force in 1958) and bestowed with the responsibility of maintaining & promoting safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans. In other words, the Organisation’s core objectives in are the improvement of maritime safety & security and the prevention of marine pollution. The IMO develops and maintains a regulatory framework that covers all aspects of international shipping – including ship design, construction, equipment, manning, operation and disposal – to ensure that this pivotal sector remains safe, environmentally sound, energy efficient and secure.
Topic Area A: Utilizing the immense potential of AI solutions in the maritime sector.
The adoption of AI solutions in the maritime industry is still at a nascent stage, however, it is widely acknowledged that they have an immense potential in increasing overall fleet efficiency. There is a wide range of AI use cases in the maritime industry, including the support of autonomous navigation, voyage optimization, as well as automated systems that support maintenance and constant monitoring of vessels. AI technology represents modern standards that gradually make their appearance in the shipping industry. The emerging cases of digital twins, machine learning, knowledge-driven AI, natural language processing (NLP) and neural networks, are but a fraction of the potential of the use of AI in the maritime sector.
AI technology is also very crucial in voyage optimization. This particular aspect is primarily focused on reducing vessel fuel consumption which in turn results in the reduction of CO2 emissions and operating costs. Namely, digital systems onboard vessels collect enormous amounts of data which the AI tools can process instantaneously. This results in the creation of extremely accurate vessel performance insights. The overall result is plain enough, improvement of fleet efficiency, reduction of maintenance and cut costs and the decisive decarbonization of vessel operations regardless of the future fuel mix.
Topic Area B: Black Sea and the Sea of Azov: Ensuring safe navigation and the protection of civilians during the Russo-Ukrainian War.
As the conflict in mainland Ukraine intensifies, the Putin administration insists on placing impediments to the unbothered navigation of commercial ships and civil vessels through their routes, disrupting the chain of transportation of essential goods via shipping and resulting in grave damage towards neutral ships and personnel.
Accessing the internationally significant ports of coastal Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula has been affected negatively: Odessa, Ust-Dunaisk, Mariupol and Berdyansk. A fair amount of these and other shipping points of registration and storage have been dismantled by Russian Armed Forces, with the rest operating at significantly lower capacities. One can only imagine the chaos this blockade has led to, given that prior to the conflict Ukrainian Black Sea ports accounted for up to 90 % of the country’s grain and oilseed exports, of which one third was directed towards Europe, China, and Africa.
The U.N.’s Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered the United Nations in July 2022 between Ukraine and Russia to resume Ukrainian agricultural exports via the Black Sea, has smoothened the damage since. A respectful amount of shipping corporations has suspended shipments to and from Ukraine and Russia, claiming erratic operational impacts. Such an impact, accompanied by financially catastrophic effects, would be the blockade of at least eighty commercial ships in the affected ports, and the serious damaging of another ten as of October 2022. Revealing of the Russian intentions for the future are the complete military shutdown of the Kerch strait (15/11), an essential maritime corridor to the Black Sea.