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Wednesday, September 26, 2018


IMO Secretary General Thimio Mitropoulos believes that it is time to take notice of the ramifications of a poor or non-existent image and to act. “How we are viewed by politicians is having a direct bearing on the regulatory framework within which the industry has to operate,” he said in a speech to the Round Table of international shipping associations this week in London. “There has been a discernable shift in emphasis and now we have to acknowledge that the decisions made in IMO are becoming increasingly influenced by political factors. It is not always the technical experts whose opinions hold sway in the end; their political masters are becoming increasingly important players in the work of IMO as they themselves come under pressure, often from public opinion that may not be as well informed as we might like it to be.”

He expressed concern that the balance may have swung too far away from technical experts and that we may be in danger of pursuing solutions that are politically short-sighted and driven and designed to please electorates rather than being based solely on sound technical arguments.

He urged politicians to stop directing their wrath at shipping, requesting its head on a plate, and instead to come forward with constructive proposals to rectify any identified weaknesses or shortcomings - and to consult their technical and legal experts before risking aphorisms and later, when realising the unsubstantiated basis of their statements, seeking to modify international law to accommodate their wishes.

He called on the industry to restore faith in the ability of the industry’s own experts to build and maintain an effective international regulatory framework, and to repeat positive messages widely, celebrating excellence in shipping far more often than we do. This message includes the “everyday miracle” of the safe and clean delivery of more than 90% of the world’s goods by sea which goes mostly unnoticed.

Contact: Bill Box