Becoming party to the convention would strengthen US leadership role within IMO
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The shipping standards negotiated at the IMO are the fabric of the port state control regime that is underpinned by the Convention. It is the Convention that sets forth the responsibilities of flag states, port states, and coastal states for shipping, and the Convention is the agreement that holds nations accountable for adhering to those responsibilities. Because of the currently anomalous situation where the United States is a party to the substantive IMO standards, but not the underlying legal framework of the Convention, our ability to ensure comprehensive global accountability demanded by the port state control framework is weakened. Acceding to the Convention would strengthen Coast Guard negotiation efforts at the IMO, where we lead in the continued development of these important international standards. Although other countries look to us for leadership, there is growing skepticism for certain U.S. negotiating positions because the United States is not a party to the Convention. Becoming party to the Convention would increase the Coast Guard’s credibility as a leader at IMO and result in greater effectiveness in ensuring that U.S. interests are reflected in the standards that are ultimately adopted. The Coast Guard needs the Convention to better promote United States safety, security, and environmental interests at the IMO.
U.S. ratification of UNCLOS would boost its leadership standing in a couple of ways. First, by acceeding to the treaty, the U.S. would immediately be able to participate in the discussion around the future of the treaty and participate in maritime forums that it had previously been locked out of. Secondly, by ratifying the treaty, the U.S. would improve its soft power by showing more of a willingness to cooperate multilaterally.