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UGS president Veniamis attacks 'intense negativism' towards shipping

Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) president, Theodore Veniamis has attacked the "intense negativism" towards ocean-going shipping by some sectors, which he also says display a "hypocritical" stance on the issue of environmental protection regarding shipping.

Addressing the 4th annual Naftemporiki shipping conference, 3 October, Veniamis said regarding the looming 2020 global emissions cap and the need for the industry to use low-sulphur bunkering fuel, an "unfair position, as well as hypocrisy at the international level, has been adopted by legislators against the shipping industry".

He stressed shipping is being forced to quickly find ways to comply with the new regulation regarding the use of 0.5% sulphur fuel. "This is a truly dramatic technological change in shipping's operation, with economic and trade repercussions, especially ones affecting safety and environmental protection," said the UGS president.

Veniamis said the global maritime shipping community faces a deadline in 15 months of implementing a new regulation, the overall consequences of which have not been properly examined, and with no security safeguards in place.

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At the same time, he praised a recent IMO decision, "even if delayed", of recognising the gaps in the regulation and calling for its re-examination, while sharply criticising the EU Commission for ignoring the safety issue entailed with ships switching over to the new low-sulphur fuel.

"Thousands of ships face problems with existing fuels, but no one is condemning the oil companies for the poor quality of fuel they're supplying to the shipping industry. There's a double standard here: excessive strictness for ships, tolerance for oil companies," he said.

Read: ExxonMobil seeks to reassure shipowners on 2020 compliant low sulphur fuels

Greek Shipping and Island Policy Minister, Fotis Kouvelis told the conference his government considers older vessels on the Greek-flagged registry should be replaced, underlining the need for emphasis on safety and environmental protection.

Kouvelis told the conference his government considers older vessels on the Greek-flagged registry should be replaced, underlining the need for emphasis on safety and environmental protection.

A number of speakers referred to the ability of shipping being able to adjust and cope with changes. Indeed, with reference to the US / China trade war, it was pointed out that bulk shipping may benefit, at least in the short term, because of the increase in trade tonne miles caused and the lack of efficiency in trade generally as it comes to grips with changing trade patterns emerging as a result of the trade war.

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