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Shipping organisations decry overbearing regulation

BIMCO, ECSA, Intertanko and Intercargo take the fight over regulation to Athens during the Capital Link conference at Posidonia, complaining that the shipping industry has become legislative guinea pig, denigrated by European politicians and targeted owing to a lack of political weight

Shipping industry has been unfairly targeted for over-zealous eco-regulations, Posidonia Week hears

POSIDONIA Week is almost notorious for its festivities, but Monday’s conversation raised a flashpoint when the topic of environmental regulation came up.

Amid a flurry of incoming rules, including the 2020 sulphur cap and the ballast water management convention, the Greek leaders of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations, Intercargo, Intertanko and BIMCO, protested at the unfair targeting of the shipping industry.

Although the group were adamant they were not backing down from regulatory commitments, the organisation chiefs issued their complaints in front of International Maritime Organization secretary-general Kitack Lim, who earlier reiterated there will be no change in the 2020 implementation date.

Addressing the IMO’s delegates, Intercargo chairman John Platsidakis questioned whether they had received commitments from refineries that they will have sufficient low sulphur fuels by 2020, a recurring concern shared by shipowners and operators.

“My understanding is that if you press the refineries, there is a political cost. But if you do so on tramp shipping there is none. Because tramp shipping appears to be almost stateless and the political value or the political weight of tramp shipping is very low,” he said.

Mr Platsidakis added that consumers are either ignorant of, or cannot know of, the contribution of the very efficient contribution of the shipping market.

“It is the charterers who, at the end of the day, will have to provide the ships with the appropriate bunkers. But so far we have heard so little from them,” he said.

Likening the advent of scrubbers with a new experimental drug, Intertanko chairman Nikos Tsakos said he did not want shipowners to become guinea pigs for this new drug when the oil refineries can invest part of their profits to provide the actual “medicine”, in this case, low-sulphur fuel oils or distillates.

“I believe that shipowners have been guinea pigs for a very long period of time for all sorts of experimental legislation and this time I do not see anybody really running for that,” he said.

Ecsa chairman Panos Laskaridis turned his anger towards European politicians, claiming that European shipping is the European Union’s most valuable asset, which needs better support from the bloc’s political clan.

“Because of the competitiveness of European fleet and importance of environmental issues we want to ask European politicians to stop denigrating shipping, to stop pointing fingers at shipping and to stand behind shipping, support shipping because after all, it is Europe’s most important international asset,” he said.

BIMCO president Anastasios Papagianopoulos also refuted the idea that shipping organisations try to evade regulation.

“There is no attempt to avoid implementation of the regulations of the IMO,” he said.

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