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Monday, October 22, 2018

INTERTANKO Asian Panel meet in Hong Kong, China

INTERTANKO’s Asian Panel met this week in Hong Kong, China for its first meeting of 2007. Despite the meeting being scheduled so close to the Chinese Lunar New Year, the Chairman, Dr. J. H. Lee, was able to welcome a strong presence from members in the region.


The Panel was provided with an agenda focused on the key issues to be discussed further at the upcoming INTERTANKO Council meeting in March, including the revision of MARPOL Annex VI on air emissions; INTERTANKO activity on port reception facilities; and INTERTANKO’s activity following the inception of the Human Element Committee. The Regional Manager Tim Wilkins' presentation, covering all the items discussed by the Panel, can be viewed by clicking here.


In discussions on these key issues the Panel lent its support to INTERTANKO’s current proposal for the IMO’s amendments to Annex VI, noting that the issue of air emissions was one in which the shipping industry has an opportunity to improve its image in general. This discussion was further enhanced by a presentation provided by Simon Ng from the Hong Kong Civic Exchange. Mr. Ng gave an overview of Hong Kong, China's air emission problems and its strategy to overcome the recent and dramatic increase in air pollution. Its air emission levels are in most cases 200% above the World Health Organisation’s guidance levels for minimum air quality. The city is therefore looking at ways in which it can introduce regional measures to reduce the emissions from all sources, including international shipping. A key proposal at the moment is the establishment of a Sulphur Emissions Control Area (SECA) for the region. Mr. Ng’s presentation is available here.


Turning to regional issues, the Panel raised some doubt as to the viability of implementing a recent proposal concerning the establishment of a voluntary funding scheme by the shipping industry to maintain navigational aids in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.


It was agreed that the next Panel meeting should take place in Tokyo on 19 September.


Contact: Tim Wilkins