IMO Secretary-General-elect Koji Sekimizu. Photo: Imo.un

A senior United Nations official today called for a thorough investigation into the incident involving the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Italy over the weekend.

?In the centenary year of the Titanic, we have once again been reminded of the risks involved in maritime activities,? Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said in a speech to the agency?s Sub-Committee on Stability, Load Lines and Fishing Vessel Safety.

Mr. Sekimizu expressed his condolences to the families oI would like to urge the Flag State administration to carry out the casualty investigation covering all aspects of this accident and provide the findings to the IMO.f those who lost their lives in the tragic incident that occurred on Friday near Giglio Island.

Six people reportedly died and at least 16 are missing after the Costa Concordia?s hull was torn open after it ran aground. A total of 4,200 passengers and crew were on board the vessel, according to media reports.

?Causes of this accident are still not yet established,? noted Mr. Sekimizu. ?We must wait for the casualty investigation and should not pre-judge or speculate at this stage.

?I would like to urge the Flag State administration to carry out the casualty investigation covering all aspects of this accident and provide the findings to the IMO,? he added.

Mr. Sekimizu voiced his appreciation to the Italian Coast Guard for their rescue operations over the night of the accident, adding that the IMO must not take this accident lightly.

?We should seriously consider the lessons to be learnt and, if necessary, re-examine the regulations on the safety of large passenger ships in the light of the findings of the casualty investigation,? he stated.

The IMO, based in London, is the UN specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

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