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InterManager embraces year of the seafarer

London: InterManager - the international trade association for shipmanagers - has pledged to pull out all the stops in its support of crew members worldwide in 2010, the Year of the Seafarer, Roberto Giorgi (pictured) InterManager president said, "Last year we were heartened by the support we received from throughout the shipping world as we fought for the release of the unjustly-jailed officers from the Hebei Spirit. Now, in the Year of the Seafarer, our campaign will be even stronger and I am sure we can count on even greater support from the industry."

Welcoming the Year of the Seafarer, Giorgi called for the shipping industry to be more proactive in its defence of seafarers. He said: "2010 will be a very important year because of the Year of the Seafarer. And 2011 will see the implementation of the new Maritime Labour Convention. So I believe in 2010 and 2011 there will be much more effort and commitment from everybody, the IMO included, to try to find a solution not just on criminalisation but also on piracy."

The international community must work together to tackle the increasing problem of piracy, Giorgi advised. "What we need is to have one way to fight piracy rather than different approaches from different countries," he said, calling for international legislation to harmonise the approach ship owners and managers can take to protect their crews and ships from pirate attacks.  "We need to define international legislation so that all shipowners are able to access the same tactics rather than some being forbidden by their individual nations' laws," he said.

The InterManager president also foresees a difficult year ahead for the shipping industry. "2010 will be a tougher year for many shipping companies", he predicted. "2009 was a difficult year but, although the dry cargo and container markets were down, during the first six months the tanker market was still quite good. In 2009 a lot of shipowners were emerging from the previous years of good markets so they had healthy balance sheets and cash reserves. Now, particularly in a business like containers, I see a lot of distressed assets. Owners and shipmanagers will need to ensure the costs are right, but I do foresee some problems for some owners," he warned.  [04/01/10]

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