As the travel restrictions and social distancing rules necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic continue, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has announced that its original 2020 calendar of meetings has now been ‘rescinded’.
According to a notice posted on the IMO website yesterday (20 July), the IMO Council, which is meeting by correspondence for its thirty-second extraordinary session (C/ES.32), is currently ‘considering the reconstruction of the schedule of meetings for 2020, including the possibilities for virtual meetings’.
The IMO added: ‘As discussions on the reconstruction of the schedule are still under way, the previously issued programme of meetings for 2020 (and preliminary programme for 2021) should not be used for planning purposes. Information regarding the rescheduling of postponed meetings and scheduling of future meetings will be made available in good time, to allow Member States and other participants to make appropriate arrangements.
‘All IMO meetings originally planned to be held between late March and July 2020 have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Resuming physical meetings will depend on guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UK Government, as well as the situation of IMO Member States.’
The COVID-19 pandemic is also continuing to disrupt the scheduling of the major maritime business conferences and exhibitions. It was announced this week that Posidonia 2020 has been cancelled – after it had initial been postponed from its traditional June slot to October. Theodore Vokos, managing director of Posidonia Exhibitions commented: ‘The worrying increase of cases in certain jurisdictions and the inability to predict reliably where the pandemic will take us in the months ahead compounds the uncertainty that now prevails, imposing upon us circumstances that are beyond our control.’ The next Posidonia event will take place in June 2022.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition have announced that SIBCON 2020 will be ‘delivered digitally’ on 6-8 October.