Improving Mexico's energy safety and security framework: a new role for the Navy?

01/25/2017 - 15:00-01/25/2017 - 16:30


Adriana Avila-Zuniga Nordfjeld
(World Maritime University)
Dimitrios Dalaklis
(World Maritime University)


Regulatory Framework (Part C)

Patrick Donner

This analysis examines the decree presented by the President of Mexico and approved by the National Congress to reform the country’s legal framework and allow the shift of maritime safety and security responsibility, as well as port state control from a civil authority (Ministry of Communications and Transport, MCT) towards a military one (Ministry of Marine, MMAR). The previous failures of the Mexican Designated Authority, executed by the General Direction of Merchant Marine (GDMM) from MCT resulted into an important number of security incidents and maritime accidents which have contributed in turn not only in loss of property at sea, but also loss of human life and significant marine pollution; poor inspections to tankers operating in the Mexican oil market and to Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs). Security concerns are always in the spotlight, with Mexico facing huge challenges related to oil theft from pipelines and distribution networks, as well as plundering of offshore platforms and confiscated vessels. The decree changed the control of all Masters of Harbours, from MCT to MMAR. However, there is a dualism to some extent and it is necessary to change the appointment of the Designated Authority from MCT to the MMAR to represent the country in every aspect before the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to avoid a duality of functions at these two institutions and to ensure compliance with obligations derived from IMO Conventions. The results show the decree has a high acceptance between the four pillars of representatives of authorities and institutions directly related to maritime safety and security. The conclusion is that Mexico has to significantly improve the current level of maritime safety and security. Even though changing the executor authority may contribute to achieve this goal, the MMAR must ensure the application of integrity and anti-corruption programs during the transferral process, to avoid the transference of old corruption practices too, with respect to ship’s inspections, including revision of and issuance of crew certificates. The introduction of new “no-blame” culture, as well as other necessary measures including the evaluation and reorganization of the Mexican Navy concerning its new attributions and responsibilities in relation to its material, human resources and training is addressed; as well as the reduction of the number of Master of Harbour Offices located around the country from 117 to 30.