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Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding on Ports State Control (IOMOU)

A review on the adequacy of the region's maritime safety infrastructure, as well as requirements in accordance with the International Maritime Convention was carried out during the period August 1997 to September 1997. From this, it was felt that Regional co-operation for the countries on the Indian Ocean rim, would be the solution to control the plying of sub-standard ships in the region. Accordingly, the concept of an Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding was mooted.
At the invitation of the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation, and with a generous offer of the Government of India to host the meeting, the first preparatory meeting on the developing of flag and port State capabilities in the Indian Ocean rim was held from 13th to 17th October 1997, at Mumbai, Delegations from the following countries attended the meeting:
Australia, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Yemen.
A draft Memorandum, drawn at this meeting, was subsequently finalised between 1st and 5th June 1998, in Pretoria, during a second preparatory and signatory meeting hosted by the Government of South Africa. In addition to the countries mentioned earlier, Sudan & Iran participated in this meeting.
The Memorandum was kept open for signature at the Head Quarters of the Secretariat in Goa, India, from 5th June, 1998 to 22nd January, 1999. The first committee meeting of MOU took place at Goa from 20th to 22nd January 1999. During this period and at the first meeting, the following countries signed acceptance of the Memorandum of Understanding:
Australia, Eritrea, India, Sudan, South Africa and Tanzania.
Subsequently, Mauritius, Srilanka, Iran, Kenya, Maldives, Oman, Yemen, France, Bangladesh , Comoros and Mozambique acceded to the MOU. As at september 2013 seventeen countries have become parties to the Memorandum. The Memorandum came into effect on 1st April 1999.

IOMOU member

Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)

Founders and Members:

The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an intergovernmental regional organization established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey with the purpose of promoting economic, technical and cultural cooperation among the member states. In 1992, seven countries joined the ECO members, accordingly ECO changed to a big and regionally important organization. The ECO members are: Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.


ECO is established for promoting the economic cooperation among the member states based on principles such as having free access to the markets of other member states, achieving sustainable economic development in the member states, adopting shared commercial policies and practices in the international communities in order to contribute to the global commercial growth and avoid the effects of unfair commercial policies and unhealthy commercial competitions among the member states.

Meetings of the Heads of Reference Marine Organizations

In the meetings of the heads of reference marine organizations of the ECO member states, the managing director of Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran is the head of the Iranian delegation and so far four meeting has been held, which are explained in the following table:


Date of Holding

Place of Holding

Mentioned Issues


13-16 October, 2003

Iran, Tehran

-Investigation of marine cooperation among ECO member states, such as using port advanced facilities and services of ECO transit countries by all the members

-Investigation of the role of information technology in improving the ports managerial and executive operations and the related infrastructures

-Preparation of the MOU of search and rescue operations in Caspian sea and Persian Gulf by ECO member states


November, 2005



Turkey (Istanbul)

Studying the creation of a working group for investigation of marine transport tariff structure in ECO zone


18 January, 2007

Pakistan (Karachi)

-Studying the preparation of an ECO marine website

-Drafting the agreement of search and rescue cooperation

-Suggesting solutions for implementation ofclauses mentioned in Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TTFA)

-Development of technical cooperation among the member states



16-19 February, 2008


Discussing about the transport cooperation among the member states

Summit of Caspian Sea Ports Directors

In parallel with the agreements of Economic Conference of Caspian Sea Littoral States, held in October 2008 in Astrakhan, Russia, the directors of Caspian Sea ports hold meetings each year in one of the Caspian Sea ports to review the problems and do the necessary actions. The sessions are as follows:


Date of Holding

Place of Holding

Mentioned Issues


5 -6May 2009

Iran (Anzali Port)

-Development of cooperation among the shipping sector of the Caspian sea littoral states

-Facilitating and simplifying the regulations related to the cargo loading and unloading in the Caspian sea littoral states,

-Mutual moderation of the rights and port dues of vessel and cargo

-Optimum use ofregional transport capacities by developing transit through corridors


23 -24 April 2010


-Investment in Caspian sea ports

-Holding annual summits of the Caspian sea ports directorsand signing five-sided MOUs for oil pollution preparedness, response and co-operation (OPRC), search and rescue operations (SAR), port state control (PSC), and safety and firefighting


22 -23Sep 2011


-Signing MOU for fire safety by the representatives of Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan


14Nov 2012


-discussing the problems in Caspian sea ports and development of port and maritime cooperation


7 -8Nov 2013


-discussing the latest condition of ports in Caspian Sea littoral states and the passenger transport in these ports


16-17Sep 2014


-data exchange regarding freight transport volume in the Caspian sea area

-Enhancement of port operation efficiency and development of port infrastructure in Caspian sea area

-Ensuring the safety of maritime navigation in the water area of Caspian sea

-analyzing the MOU for port state control in Caspian sea

-adopting changes to provide especial condition for vessels of the littoral states to be repaired in shipyards in Astrakhan

-Development of regular shipping lines

-Holding sport competitions for employees of ports in Caspian sea littoral states


16 -17Nov 2015

Iran(Amir Abad Port)

-Studying the MOU of port state control

-Establishingthe hydrographic commission and the sub-coordinator of Caspian sea area

-Studying the MOU for identifying the range of near coastal voyages

-Establishingjoint private shipping companies for Caspian sea littoral states

-Reduction of the water level of Caspian sea and its economic effects


A Regional Intergovernmental Organization Concerns with Marine Pollution

In accordance with Article III of the Protocol concerning Regional Co-operation in Combating Pollution by Oil and other Harmful Substances in Case of Emergency, the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Centre (MEMAC) was established in 1982. The main objectives of MEMAC are: to strengthen the capacities of the Contracting States and to facilitate co-operation among them in order to combat pollution by oil and other harmful substances in cases of marine emergencies; and to assist Contracting States, which so request, in the development of their own national capabilities to combat pollution by oil and other harmful substances and to co-ordinate and facilitate information exchange, technological co-operation and training. The permanent headquarters of MEMAC are located in the Kingdom of Bahrain.


Member States:

  • Kingdom of Bahrain
  •  Sultanate of Oman
  • Islamic Republic of Iran
  • State of Qatar
  • Republic of Iraq
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • State of Kuwait
  • United Arab Emirates 

 Activities and Programmes

1- The Regional Environmental Master Plan
 The "Master Plan" addresses the Future Planning of how the Region will be fitted out with pollution and Navigational Hazards prevention and control capabilities, and to enhance Maritime Safety and Security Standards based on the future trade volumes and the possible hazards to the marine environment.
Main Advantages of the Master Plan
  • It will constitute a very essential tool on how to coordinate present and future activities.
  • It will enable the Member States, as well as ROPME/MEMAC, to avoid duplication in spending on facilities such as pollution control and navigation safety centers.
  • Its implementation can be self-financing through proper management of compensations and retrieval of pollution control costs.
2- Marine Environmental High Risk Areas (MEHRA's)
MEHRA's is one of the main and highly important projects which are under the process by MEMAC. A number of ROPME Member States' Experts and Experts from ANATEC Company, who have excellent experience in such types of projects, met on the 12th and 13th June 2005 in Bahrain. They launched the project after discussion and agreement upon each Committee Member's role.
Project Objectives
  •  To identify areas within the ROPME Sea, this should be designated as Marine Environmental High Risk Areas.
  • To establish a tool kit i.e. GIS Model, which can be updated as new information on environmental sensitivity.
Marine Environmental High Risk Areas (MEHRA's)
 The main issues tackled by MEHRA's are as follows:
  • Understanding of the risk of marine pollution to sea areas and coastlines in the Region and identifying areas of high risk.
  • Development of a database of shipping movements, which can be utilized to assess the risk or impact associated with future offshore developments taking place in the Region.
  • Development of a GIS system on all coastal environmentally sensitive areas, which can be used to keep information up to date for future environmental impact assessment being carried out in the Region.
  • Identification of areas of high environmental sensitivity.
  • Identification of Marine Environmental High Risk Areas for the Region based on pollution risk and environmental sensitivity.
  • Use of the system to identify where pollution response and traffic management measures require to be focused.
  • The system can be used for any of the Member States in the Region, applying to IMO for a Particularly Sensitive Area (PSSA).
 3-Establishment of a Maritime Emergency Response and Salvage Co-ordination Unit (MERCU) System
As a result of the tremendous increase in the numbers of shipping traffic in the Region and increase of marine activities within the Region, the need for rising the Regional preparedness towards any incidents has become a must. Accordingly, the ROPME Council assigned a new project to revise and study the overall Regional marine traffic, activities and the present level of the preparedness and possible establishment of an Oil Spill Response and Salvage Coordination Unit System.
  •  Protect the Marine Environment.
  • Raise the Regional level of Preparedness.
  • Availability of Emergency Fund.
  • Availability of EEZ Oil Pollution Combating Principle.
4- Accidental Nuclear Radiation and Radiological Hazard in the ROPME Sea Area
The Radiation matter has become one of highly important matters since the use of radiation became popular in the Region where it is used in hospitals, oilfields and many other places. Many of the Members States are besides the planning of utilizing this technology for the future power plants. Accordingly, ROPME Council decided to step forward and plan for the future protection of the environment in case of any accident which may result from the use of radiation and radiological facilities. A Committee of Experts in the field has been formed in order to lay down the overall Regional emergency action plan.
Several Activities have been carried out by the Committee, including a meeting to discusses the issue, a Regional Workshop in cooperation with the IAEA, and a Workshop on Radiation Measurements Cross Calibration Project which was convened in cooperation with the University of Bahrain and Sandia National Laboratories of the United State of America. A visit to the Nuclear Power Plant in Bushehr and the laboratory facilities in Tehran was also carried out.
Radiation and Radiological Hazard in the ROPME Sea Area
In accordance with the ROPME Council Decision, a visit to the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria was carried out by Capt. A.M. Al Janahi, MEMAC Director, and Dr. Khalid M. Al-Otaibi (K. Saudi Arabia), Chairman of the Regional Committee for establishment of the Action Plan for Response to Radiological or Nuclear Emergencies during the period of 20th to 25th August 2008. The purpose of the visit was to seek the IAEA cooperation and to plan the future co-ordination and communication.
Several Activities have been carried out by the Committee, including a meeting to discusses the issue, a Regional Workshop in cooperation with the IAEA, and a Workshop on Radiation Measurements Cross Calibration Project which was convened in cooperation with the University of Bahrain and Sandia National Laboratories of the United State of America. A visit to the Nuclear Power Plant in Bushehr and the laboratory facilities in Tehran was also carried out.
Several programs were achieved during the visit, including the following.
The assurance of ROPME endorsement as an observer within the IAEA meetings.
Highlighting the IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre and its function where the Action Plan should include MEMAC as a Regional Centre similar to the IAEA Centre.
Registering MEMAC as a Regional Centre within the IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre.
Preparing all the details of the required assistance for the RSA Radiation Action Plan for Preparedness and Emergency.
And IAEA to provide MEMAC with the needed training courses.