INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANISATION (ICAO)
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) for civil aviation, was created by the Convention on International Civil Aviation signed in Chicago on 7 December 1944. Its aims and objectives are to develop the principles and techniques of international air travel navigation and to foster the planning development of international air transport. It also sets international standards and regulations necessary for safe, regular, efficient and economical air transport, and serves as the medium for co-operation in all fields of civil aviation among its 187 Contracting States.
Another of ICAO's functions is to facilitate the adoption of international air law instruments and to promote their general acceptance. ICAO also conducts workshops in various regions to provide States with information and advice on its activities and to facilitate exchange of information and views. In addition, ICAO also provides assistance to States to improve their aviation security facilities and procedures.
In recent years, ICAO has undertaken extensive work in areas like reporting aircraft accident and incident data, and automation of air traffic services. Among ICAO's more significant achievements has been the development of a satellite-based concept to meet the future communications, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management needs of civil aviation.
The ICAO is made up of an Assembly, a Council of limited membership with various subordinate bodies and a Secretariat. The Assembly, the sovereign body of ICAO comprising representatives from all Contracting States, meets at least once in three years to discuss civil aviation issues in the technical, economic, legal and technical co-operation fields. The Council, which is the governing body and comprises 33 Contracting States, gives continuing direction to the work of ICAO. One of its roles is to adopt International Standards and Recommended Practices and to incorporate these as Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The Council is supported by the Air Navigation Commission (technical matters), the Air Transport Committee (economic matters), the Committee on Joint Support of Air Navigation Services and the Finance Committee. The Secretariat, headed by a Secretary General, is divided into five main divisions - the Air Navigation Bureau, the Air Transport Bureau, the Technical Co-operation Bureau, the Legal Bureau and the Bureau of Administration and Services.
ICAO works in close co-operation with other members of the UN family such as the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Non-governmental organisations such as the Airports Council International (ACI), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) also participate in ICAO's work.
More information about ICAO can be found at http://www.icao.int/.
Background on Annex 13
When an accident happens involving an international civil aviation flight, Annex 13 of the International Civil Aviation Convention sets out the rules on the notification, investigation and reporting of the accident. It sets out the rights on who should conduct the investigation, which are the parties who can be involved, , what rights does each party have, how should the investigation be conducted, and how the final results should be reported. Annex 13 also states that the sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident is to prevent accidents and incidents and the investigation is not apportion blame or liability.
Annex 13 states that investigation can take place when:
a. A person is seriously injured
b. the aircraft sustains damage or structural failure
c. the aircraft is missing or completely inaccessible
Some examples of the occurrences which merit an investigation are: aircraft veering off a runway, aircraft overshooting the runway, landing gear collapsing on landing, tyre miss, turbulence and aircraft fire on ground.
Under Annex 13, the State where the accident occurs will lead the accident investigation. Besides accident where The other main parties involved are the State where the aircraft is registered, the State where the airline operator is from, or the State where the aircraft is designed or manufactured. ICAO Annex 13 stipulates that the States of registry, operator, design and manufacture have the right to appoint an Accredited Representative to the investigation. The Accredited Representatives, assisted by their advisers (ie the investigators), shall have the right to participate in all aspects of the investigation.
Singapore is a party to the ICAO Convention. When an accident occurs within Singapore's territorial jurisdiction, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) will lead the investigation. When an accident or serious incident occurs involving a Singapore-registered aircraft, MOT will appoint an Accredited Representative and a team of advisers to participate in the investigation. . The team will report directly to MOT and works independently from the other members of the investigating team.
During an investigation, the investigator is entitled to all aspects of the investigation, under the control of the investigator-in-charge. In particular he is allowed to visit the scene of the accident to examine the wreckage, have access to all evidence, receive copies of all pertinent documents, participate in readouts of recorded media, participate in off-scene investigative activities e.g. component examinations, technical briefings, and participate in investigation progress meetings including deliberations related to analysis, findings, causes and safety recommendations.
It is also normal practice to have open two-way discussions among the investigators, from the start during the fact- finding phase all the way into the analysis phase, as the investigation progresses. Draft reports are circulated to all Accredited Representatives and their advisors involved for comments and contributions.
For a full version of the Annex 13, click here
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