History Leading to the 1969 Load Line Conventon
In one of the previous articles we have given some brief Introduction to the Load Lines and Conditions of the Load Line Assignment. As we all know, the assignment of the shipboard load lines and associated requirements are listed in the International Convention on Load Lines of 1969. Today, let us check what were the changes and developments that eventually led to the need for the subject governing document.
Need for a Standardized System
The need for a standardized international system of tonnage measurement of ships is evidenced by the fact that small ships of identical size and form may measure less than 200 gross tons or more than 1000 gross tons and the fact that exemptible and deductible spaces are treated differently under various national rules. The variations in tonnages cause inequities in the assessment of charges and in the application of provisions of treaties and laws.
This need for a standardized system was recognized in tin initiation of the League of Nations study and in the Oslo Convention. However, there were many differences in national systems and in those systems evolving from tin foregoing international activities that were yet to be resolved.
Work by the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization
In the meantime, the question of tonnage measurement had often been discussed by the Transport and Communications Commission of the United Nations. After the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) came into being in 1958, the task of developing a universal system of tonnage measurement of ships was taken over by the Organization as the United Nations had intended.
Against this background, IMCO formed a subcommittee of its Maritime Safety Committee in 1959 to study the problem and to draw up recommendations for a system of tonnage measurement suitable for worldwide application, which would be just and equitable between the individual ships and groups of ships, and would not hamper good design or mitigate seaworthiness, and which would take account of the economics of the shipping industry generally.
Over a period of years, the Subcommittee and its working group considered a number of proposals for a universal system of tonnage measurement. Finally the International Conference on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 19G6, was held in London during a four-week period beginning May 27, 1969.
The Conference adopted the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships (ICTM, 1969), which the delegations felt largely met the above-listed criteria for a satisfactory system.
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