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March 2010

Searchlight Feature - 14th March 2010

2010: IMO Year of the Seafarer

Carmania Ltd. attended the Environmental Vigilance Summit held in Abu Dhabi March 1st to 3rd. We were primarily at the summit as Middle East (ME) representatives of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST); however environmental issues are very much at the forefront of Carmania business concerns. The Abu Dhabi conference was timely as the sixtieth session of the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC 60) will be held from March 22nd to 26th at IMO HQ in London.

As we in the industry know sea transportation is safe and efficient however related statistics such as those below need to continue to be repeated so hopefully the public become more aware of just how safe and cost effective sea transportation is:

  • One teaspoon of oil is spilt for every million gallons transported
  • 99.996% of oil is transported securely
  • Shipping is the least polluting per Tonne per mile of all transport accounting for about 4% of global CO2 emissions against 95% of the worlds cargo moved.

The IMO aims to have the Noxious & Hazardous Substances (NHS) Convention in force in 2010 (this would appear to be ambitious since we are already one quarter of the way through 2010). The IMO will produce an action plan within 2010 to tackle the inadequacy of port state waste reception facilities – THE INDUSTY HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS INADEQUACY FOR TEN YEARS OR MORE! They expect the 2004 ballast water treatment regulation to be in force within 2010 if the EU countries ratify it. This is the one IMO regulation which is retro-effective once ratification has taken place.

After a slowdown at the end of 2009 the US Department of Justice is now getting about a case a week related to pollution. Whistleblowers may get up to 50% of the fine. This is a worrying trend for several reasons not just because of the increase in cases but also the system is open to abuse by disgruntled individuals seeking to “make a quick buck”. This is a distasteful way of operating any regulation and contributes to the crimilisation of merchant seaman. Prosecutions are becoming more global and unbelievably (or at least unexpectedly) the CE, 1E & CO of the Prestige are expected to be prosecuted in 2010. Or they would be if they could be found as the 1E and CO have ‘’disappeared’’ – which does not surprise many in the industry. Is this not a further ploy by the Spanish government to deflect the complete incompetence of the authorities in turning this ship away from a port of refuge? Had such been granted the disaster would probably not have occurred or at worst would have been contained! The Spanish government brought about this disaster – NOT the vessels senior officers. Look at industry reaction to the Hebe Spirit incident – V. Ships, Intertanko etc. all united to pressure Korea. More of this is needed and States must stop the criminalisation of seamen. The industry is very short of all officers and the above sort of action is not conducive in encouraging bright young people to join the industry. In this the IMO Year of the Seafarer lets see some fair treatment of seafarers!!!

Other points highlighted during the conference:

  • The Regional Organisation for the Protection of Marine Environment (ROPME) came into effect for Annex I and V on 01/08/08. From September 2009 all ships entering Hormuz must exchange ballast water. The UAE is currently training inspectors to monitor the ballast water exchange regulations.
  • By 2013 a shortfall of 20,000 senior officers is predicted. The importance of Videotel type training course and simulator training in general was stressed. Training and the various methods available have become a major concern.
  • Harland &Wolff bought the forward section of the hull of MSC Napoli from the Owners in order to carry out a practical recycling feasibility study. At the present time the pricing model needs “work” as they couldn’t give a detailed breakdown of the costs involved and whether or not they made a profit!!!