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What is FAL convention (The Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic)

The Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), 1965 was adopted on 9 April.

The Convention's main objectives are to prevent unnecessary delays in maritime traffic, to aid co-operation between Governments, and to secure the highest practicable degree of uniformity in formalities and other procedures. In particular, the Convention reduces to just SEVEN the number of declarations which can be required by public authorities.

Standards and recommended practices

In its Annex, the Convention contains "Standards" and "Recommended Practices" on formalities, documentary requirements and procedures which should be applied on arrival, stay and departure to the ship itself, and to its crew, passengers, baggage and cargo. The Convention defines standards as internationally-agreed measures which are "necessary and practicable in order to facilitate international maritime traffic" and recommended practices as measures the application of which is "desirable".

The Convention provides that any Contracting Government which finds it impracticable to comply with any international standard, or deems it necessary to adopt differing regulations, must inform the Secretary-General of IMO of the "differences" between its own practices and the standards in question. The same procedure applies to new or amended standards.

In the case of recommended practices, Contracting Governments are urged to adjust their laws accordingly but are only required to notify the Secretary-General when they have brought their own formalities, documentary requirements and procedures into full accord.

The IMO Standardized Forms (FAL 1-7)

Standard 2.1 lists the documents which public authorities can demand of a ship and recommends the maximum information and number of copies which should be required. IMO has developed Standardized Forms for seven of these documents. They are:

  1. IMO General Declaration

  2. Cargo Declaration

  3. Ship's Stores Declaration

  4. Crew's Effects Declaration

  5. Crew List

  6. Passenger List

  7. Dangerous Goods

The general declaration, cargo declaration, crew list and passenger list constitute the maximum information necessary. The ship's stores declaration and crew's effects declaration incorporate the agreed essential minimum information requirements.

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