Shipping leaders from around the world signed a declaration aimed at protecting ocean environments and advancing international ship safety at the Third Joint Ministerial Conference on Port State Control in Vancouver, Canada, this week.
The declaration was signed by 29 countries from the Paris MoU and the Tokyo MoU as a commitment by European and Pacific Rim countries to continue to eliminate substandard shipping practices. The declaration included consideration of enforcement of sulfur regulations and the Polar Code as well as a commitment to the acceptance of electronic certificates.
In addition to the 29 countries, the IMO Secretary General attended the conference which was themed “Safeguarding Responsible and Sustainable Shipping.” Lim stressed the vital importance of collaborative efforts to leave “no hiding place” for substandard shipping.
Speaking at the conference, Victor Olersky, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, reaffirmed his belief that the IMO should be the only international regulator of shipping. However, he also called on IMO to apply a more thoughtful and cautious approach to the development of new regulations to ensure compliance with them by the time stipulated. According to him, IMO sometimes approves regulations that cannot be met by the fixed date such as the requirement for loaded container weight verification and Manila amendments to the STCW Convention.
Olersky believes that Polar Code is a good instrument, and there is no reason to revise it in the near future as some environmental organizations wishing to ban heavy fuel oil hope. Such restrictions could just endanger indigenous population of the Arctic regions, he said, noting also that he believes than any proposal on regulating soot emissions from ships is not well-reasoned as shipping’s share of such emissions is very small.
The introduction of port state control inspections has resulted in a marked reduction in defects and non-conformities, and the number of detentions has stabilized at around 3.5 percent annually.