Coronavirus (COVID 19) – Declaration by Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR) members in view of the global COVID-19 situation

The Secretary-General has received the attached Declaration by Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR) members in view of the global COVID-19 situation, signed by a group of leading port authorities from around the world and forwarded by Singapore with a request for circulation.

Recognizing that the maritime sector plays a critical role in keeping trade flows open in the global fight against COVID-19, 20 PAR members from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America came together on 24 April 2020 in Singapore to declare their commitment to ensuring their ports remain open amidst the current pandemic. The Declaration, initiated by Singapore, calls for port authorities to collaborate and share best practices in ensuring that port operations can remain undisrupted.

In this connection, the Secretary-General wishes to emphasize again that it is crucially important that the flow of commerce by sea should not be unnecessarily disrupted. At the same time, the safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment must also remain paramount. One of the goals of IMO, as stated in its Convention, is to ensure availability of shipping services to the commerce of the world, for the benefit of humanity, and the Secretary-General wishes to urge all IMO Member States to bear this in mind when framing their policy decisions with regard to the coronavirus. Defeating the virus must be the first priority, but global trade, in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly manner, must be able to continue too.

Member States and international organizations are encouraged to take similar initiatives at national and regional levels, and are invited to circulate this information to all interested parties, as deemed appropriate