Mr. W.A. O'Neil
International Maritime Organization
4 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7SR
Dear Mr. O'Neil:
We are writing with regard to the recently concluded Special Consultative Meeting concerning maritime transport of nuclear materials covered by the INF Code, which we attended as the Nuclear Control Institute's participants in the Greenpeace International delegation.
We commend the IMO for having convened this important meeting and for structuring it in such a way that all points of view, including those presented by us, were fully and fairly represented. We were gratified by the final summing up by the meeting chairman, G.A. Dubbeld, in which he itemized the matters about which concerns had been voiced and he identified the elements within IMO to which these matters would be referred. And we were particularly gratified by your statement at the close of the meeting expressing confidence that "action will be taken" by these various elements of the IMO.
We believe such action is essential to correcting weaknesses in the existing INF code and thereby meeting the legitimate concerns expressed in the closing statement by the Argentine delegation on behalf of 13 coastal states (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Indonesia, Ireland, Solomon Islands, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela) in which demands for more information, and for a strengthened and binding code, were highlighted.
In the interest of responding credibly to the coastal states' demands and of acting effectively on the concerns summarized by Chairman Dubbeld, we offer for your consideration the following proposal for an "IMO Action Plan" to deal with outstanding issues posed by transports of INF-Code materials:
1. Environmental Impact Assessments. The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) should clarify and reaffirm the Duty to Prepare Environmental Impact Assessments, in conformity with the 1995 U.N. Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, 30 I.L.M. 800 (1991). The process prescribed by MEPC must be made mandatory and include opportunities for public input, notice to potentially affected countries, and opportunities for potentially affected countries to engage in consultations regarding the proposed activity. Such a mandatory process would constitute a partial fulfillment of the demand by coastal states for "more information."
2. Prior Notification and Consultation. The informational requirements of coastal states would be met fully if the MEPC also reaffirmed the necessity for shipping states to provide prior notification and to engage in consultations before the actual movement---or in planning for contingency movement---of ultrahazardous cargoes (e.g. highly radioactive and radiotoxic materials) through the territorial seas or exclusive economic zones of coastal and island states. These notification and consultation procedures are essential for safety and environmental protection, and should be required to cover
(b) contingency planning for accidents and emergencies;
(c) access to ports;
(d) availability of emergency-response capabilities, including the means to salvage damaged, highly radioactive cargos;
(e) exclusion of certain routes to avoid particularly sensitive marine areas, and
(f) understanding currents, weather conditions and traffic patterns.
3. IMO Technical Research Program. The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) should draw upon the expertise unique to the IMO to develop an independent technical research program to
(b) compare the accident environments so obtained to those simulated by the IAEA SS6 Type B test series;
(c) determine the adequacy of the current INF Code in compensating for any inadequacies in the packaging standards, and in the current radionuclide thresholds for INF ship classes, revealed by the above study;
(d) refer the results of the study to the IAEA to determine whether the IAEA SS6 Type B packages can be upgraded to withstand a revised test series based on the accident environments identified in the study;
(f) based on the results of the revised IAEA SS6 Type B test series, amend the current INF code, as necessary, and prescribe appropriate mechanisms for making it mandatory;
(g) develop an effective inspection and certification regime for INF-class ships.
(h) assess the adequacy of existing plans for salvage of INF-code material cargos, especially in the event of damaged packaging.
4. Liability. The IMO Legal Committee should develop a mandatory liability regime that effectively deals with all damage and responses to damage (i.e. environmental damage, lost opportunities, pure economic loss, preventive actions, etc.).
We appreciate your consideration of the above proposal and ask that you circulate it to the appropriate committee chairmen. We look forward to receiving your response and would hope that we will be granted the opportunity to meet with you soon to discuss it further.
Nuclear Control Institute
Nuclear Control Institute
Jon Van Dyke
University of Hawaii Law School