I believe our industry is the most valuable and indispensable industry on the planet—but is it the most honest? As we face increasing regulations, are they being implemented and enforced in a systematic and consistent fashion so we have a level playing field? Are we, as an industry, doing everything possible to build our credibility, and therefore secure our social license to operate?
Of that, I am not sure.
I’m in Athens this week where we are producing the inaugural Hellenic American Maritime Forum, bringing together the shipping and trading might of Greece and America in a partnership between SHIPPINGInsight and SAFETY4SEA. In one of my meetings, the conversation about enforcing next year’s IMO 2020 changes arose, and claims were made that it will have very little effect as operators will continue to burn 3.5% Sulphur (without scrubbers) because they don’t believe they will be caught.
How can this be true??? After all, there is flag state monitoring the compliance of its registered vessels, and then there is port state control performing inspections on ships entering its waters. Not to mention RO’s (responsible organizations, classification societies). Shouldn’t that be a deterrent to cheating the regulations?
Apparently not, some believe, for multiple reasons.
But there are steps that could correct this:
- Need for a standard bunker contract
- Need greater use of mass flow meters
- Need to take bunker samples at the manifold, not from the barge
- Need to deploy more surveyors
We need to solve the enforcement conundrum in order for our industry efforts to be taken seriously. It makes good commercial sense for ALL stakeholders to be held accountable for enforcing legislation. Efforts to bypass regulatory implementation hurts the ENTIRE industry and its credibility to self-regulate.