Key Industry Issues Spotlighted At Shipping Meet
In a virtual meet, leaders of
the Round Table of International Shipping Associations – BIMCO, INTERCARGO,
International Chamber of Shipping and INTERTANKO met to debate key issues
facing the maritime industry today. The associations affirmed the industry’s
commitment to universal recognition for seafarers, the decarbonisation of
shipping and addressing the threat to shipping from piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
High on the agenda was the
continued lack of universal recognition for seafarers as key workers. The
COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a raft of issues, including lack of access to
medical services, the need for an efficient, consistent and prioritised worldwide
vaccination programme, and the ongoing need to resolve the crew change crisis
in preparation for a global reboot of the world’s economy.
Dimitris J Fafalios, INTERCARGO
Chairman, and chair of the meeting said, “It is time for UN Agencies, governments
and global organisations to coordinate a worldwide vaccination programme for
seafarers in line with the timescales recommended by the World Health
Government leaders must commit
to collective action and take to task their counterparts who fail to appreciate
that the welfare of seafarers is not only a humanitarian issue, but that the
world’s seafarers are responsible for keeping global trade moving.”
Addressing the climate emergency
and reducing emissions remains a key priority for the industry. The members
highlighted the importance that the shipping industry places on its
environmental stewardship, and on controlling and reducing its GHG emissions.
They also, stressed that a large-scale investment in research and development
is paramount for real progress towards a zero-carbon industry by 2050.
Members also confirmed their
commitment to the industry-wide Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB)
initiative to accelerate the introduction of zero-emission technologies for
maritime transport. Decarbonization can only be achieved with the immediate
acceleration of the development of zero-carbon fuels and technologies, and the
IMRB is a crucial vehicle for driving the progress needed to build a
zero-carbon shipping industry.
The piracy threat in the Gulf of
Guinea continues to escalate. It was recognised that Nigeria has invested in
law enforcement capabilities, but these are likely to take some time before
having a significant effect. Effective maritime law enforcement in both
territorial and international waters in the region is long overdue, and
enforcement by able and willing naval forces is needed urgently to counter the
deadly threat to seafarers. Members of the Round Table were unanimous in their
agreement to continually review options and to take all necessary actions to
reduce the Nigerian piracy threat.