Greek Shipowners put their weight behind the forthcoming UN IMO MEPC 74 for effective and sustainable solutions

Piraeus, 10.05.2019

Ahead of the critical UN IMO Marine Environment and Protection Committee 74 (MEPC 74) meeting of next week, the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) urges IMO Member States and all stakeholders to face up to their responsibilities as decisive contributors to global policy making and commit to reaching attainable, workable and sustainable solutions to the problems related to the 2020 global sulphur cap in marine fuels and the issue of the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions reduction from ships.

“MEPC 74 is the ultimate opportunity to ensure a safe, smooth and consistent implementation of the 2020 0.5% global sulphur regulation and to effectively address the many and severe challenges stemming from it”, the President of the UGS, Mr. Theodore Veniamis stated. “This last opportunity must not become a lost opportunity”, he stressed.

With regard to the 2020 global sulphur mandate, there are a number of known and well-identified gaps in the regulation resulting in practical problems in its implementation and enforcement, as well as in some cases distortion of competition, and nobody can turn a blind eye to them anymore. The issues of availability of safe, complaint fuel worldwide; the adoption of the Guidelines for consistent implementation with the inclusion of the ‘operational constraints’ clause; the application of sound and practical measures to deal in a pragmatic way with cases of ship’s non-compliance due to reasons beyond its control; the environmental, operational, legal, enforcement and other uncertainties related to the use of the Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, are all major issues which entail the risk of seriously disrupting international trade, if they remain unsettled.

On the issue of the GHG emissions reduction Mr. Veniamis commented: “There is a compelling need to ensure that the measures the UN IMO will adopt are attainable and suitable for the entirety of the shipping industry. Each sector should be allowed to select the most appropriate for its modus operandi and that should be respected by all. Bulk / tramp shipping represents more than 84% of world seaborne trade and any adopted measures should not jeopardize its sustainability. For this sector in particular it is crucial that whatever measures are committed to, become commitments for ships’ charterers also”.

“I am confident that the UN IMO will rise to the occasion and deliver on its unequivocal role as global regulator of the shipping industry. This global authority comes with great responsibility and this should be in the minds of all participating delegations to the imminent UN IMO MEPC proceedings”, Mr. Veniamis concluded.