As the ferry industry’s trade association, Interferry wishes to express its deepest condolences to everyone affected by the recent tragedy in South Korea. Fatal ferry accidents are rare in developed countries such as this but that does not diminish the industry’s ongoing commitment to advancing safety measures even further. Interferry stands ready to assist the relevant authorities in understanding the causes and then communicating the results to ensure any necessary modification of equipment, design, operational procedures, training, regulations or enforcement are implemented.
Although Interferry has no members in South Korea, we are always concerned about ferry safety matters in any part of the developed or developing world. We have been working in partnership with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for a number of years on efforts to improve ferry safety in developing countries where most of the accidents occur. The government of South Korea has provided assistance in these efforts in Bangladesh and Indonesia.
The safety record within international ferry operations is extremely good in those countries that actively enforce the IMO regulations, which apply to international services. Domestic routes, such as that being operated by the South Korean ferry Sewol, are governed under national regulations. At this point Interferry would like to stress that South Korea is widely respected as a maritime authority.
The international ferry industry has suffered serious accidents on rare occasions in the past. These have led to numerous important technical safety improvements for both old and new ships. In addition to technical issues, Interferry strongly supports and advocates the continuous enhancement of strict operational requirements for crews and their supporting land-based organisations. The ongoing improvement in international ship safety is the mandate of the IMO. Interferry participates in this process as an NGO with consultative status at the IMO.