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Greek shipowners call for all stakeholders to 'face up to their responsibilties' at MEPC 74

Ahead of the critical IMO Marine Environment and Protection Committee 74 (MEPC 74) meeting in London next week, the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) urges IMO members and all stakeholders to "face up to their responsibilities” and reach “workable and sustainable solutions”.

The MEPC 74 meeting will cover both issues facing the sulphur cap before it comes into force on 1 January 2020 and issues of how to reach planned Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for 2030 and 2050.

“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,” said Theodore Veniamis, UGS president “This last opportunity must not become a lost opportunity,” he declared.

In a statement 10 May, the UGS said: "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."

Read more: Shipping comes under pressure from diverse groups over climate change and emissions

Referring to GHGs, Veniamis said: “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."  

Veniamis concluded: “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.”