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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Issues of Vital Importance to the Industry" discussed at opening session of CMA 2008

The importance of global legislation; the need for more and better self regulation; the value of a strong and regular dialogue with politicians and regulators; the challenges of managing the principal environmental issues before the industry and the " good"  business opportunities that these present; the continuing need to address training standards; the requirement to heighten awareness of the role and performance of the industry; these were some of the issues raised by the panellists at the opening session of CMA 2008 this week in Stamford, Connecticut, as organised by the Connecticut Maritime Association.


The panellists included ABS Chairman and CEO Bob Somerville, BIMCO President Philip Embiricos, NAMEPA Chairman Clay Maitland and INTERTANKO Managing Director Dr. Peter Swift, with Michael Grey of Lloyd's List acting as Moderator.


In his remarks to the session, Swift acknowledged the importance of the other issues raised, but went on to highlight that always at the top of our agenda should be our concerns for our most valuable asset – our seafarers. He lamented the treatment they frequently receive in ports and at terminals - particularly when security constraints are active or given as the excuse - and the increasing trend of criminalisation and unfair treatment, especially after a maritime accident.


He spoke of the increasing and frequently unacceptable burden we place on officers and crews with multiple and overlapping inspections, a " tsunami"  of paperwork and the failure to provide fit-for-purpose equipment and usable instruction manuals. He went on to explain that the failure to provide adequate waste reception facilities, and inconsistencies in the interpretation of legislative and regulatory requirements were just two examples of the ways in which seafarers' lives are being made more and more difficult.


He asked if enough thought was given to the ramifications for seafarers when introducing new regulations such as ballast water management systems, emission abatement technologies, multi-fuel ships or low emission trading zones; pointing out that somebody has to make these work, but equally they are expected to " carry the can"  when they do not work - often through no fault of their own.


Swift said the list of concerns was a long one, ranging from the non-availability of Material Safety Data Sheets for bunkers and cargoes; to the unreasonable pressures put on ships' staff by elements of some charter parties and some terminal operators; to piracy threats, to name but a few.


Finally he questioned if the industry partners – owners, builders and others – paid enough attention to the " norms"  of shipboard accommodation and the actualities of life at sea. In his concluding remarks he asked " Who cares?"  but then suggested that if we, the industry, do not care, then we should not be surprised if seafarers do not, because there will be none.


Click here for a copy of Swift's presentation.


Contact: Peter Swift