IMO Legal Committee approves guidelines on dealing with crimes on ships
The Legal Committee of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), at its 100th session, approved draft
guidelines on the preservation and collection of evidence in case of a serious crime occurring on a ship or
following a report of a missing person from a ship and for pastoral and medical care of victims.
The draft guidelines will now be submitted to the IMO Assembly 28th session, in November this year, along with
an associated draft resolution, for consideration with a view to adoption.
The guidelines focus on what can be practically carried out on board a ship to preserve and collect evidence
and provide protection to persons affected by serious crimes, until the time the relevant law enforcement
authorities launch an investigation.
The primary purpose of the draft guidelines is to assist masters in the preservation of evidence and in the
pastoral and medical care of persons affected and, when appropriate, in the collection of evidence, during the
period between the report or discovery of a possible serious crime and the time when law enforcement
authorities or other professional crime scene investigators take action.
The guidelines further state that the master is not a professional crime scene investigator and does not act
as a criminal law enforcement official when applying the guidelines. The guidelines should not be interpreted
as establishing a basis of any liability, criminal or otherwise, of the master in preserving and/or handling
evidence or related matters, according to the IMO.
At a special event to mark the 100th session of the IMO Legal Committee, held on April 18, 2013, prominent
speakers reflected on some of the complex legal issues that have been addressed by the IMO.
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IMO Legal Committee Approves Guidelines on Dealing with Crimes on Ships