Key Issues for Shipowners Discussed at KR International Conference in Seoul
INTERTANKO's Managing Director Dr Peter Swift joined other leaders of international shipping associations at the Second Seoul International Maritime & Shipbuilding Conference (SIMS2) last week in Korea. The Conference is organised by the Korean Register of Shipping (KR) and this year was attended by more than 150 representatives of the Korean shipping, shipbuilding and related industries.
In his presentation Swift provided an overview of some of the principal issues facing international shipowners today, including a brief reference to the current shipping markets.
He said that, as part of an international industry, shipowners seek consistency in international regulations and standards and global governance, while providing safe, secure, cost-effective and environmentally sound maritime transportation. The environmental challenges are themselves wide ranging: from managing toxic air and GHG emissions to biofouling, waste management and recycling, as well as the emerging issues such as the avoidance of cetacean strikes and the minimisation of radiated noise.
The already challenging quantity and quality issues associated with the future manning of ships are frequently compounded by the failure to accord fair treatment principles to ships’ crews and the growing tendency to unjustifiably criminalise seafarers after marine accidents.
Against a backdrop of reduced demand for most ship types at the time of a rapid growth in fleet supply, and consequentially lower freight rates, the above challenges are even more pressing. The developing surplus in world shipbuilding capacity, besides being a headache for shipbuilders and creating its own problems, also contributes to the present and longer term uncertainties for shipowners and their bankers. Swift concluded with a short comment on the effects of demolitions, legislated phase-outs, lay-ups and floating storage on fleet availability, with a particular focus on the tanker sector.
In a panel session later in the Conference, Swift noted the maritime industries' collective failure to develop appropriate mechanisms for incident reporting, accident investigations and information sharing. While feedback and lesson-learning procedures are still generally relatively weak, the shipping community is nevertheless becoming more aware of the value of cooperation and partnership as necessary processes to deliver on their continuous improvement programmes.
Other speakers at the conference included OCIMF’s Director on the Development of Standards for Tanker Shipping, INTERCARGO’s Secretary General on International Rules, Practices and Safe Operation of Bulk Carriers, and representatives from other members of the Round Table of international shipping associations, the international and Korean maritime insurance industries and Korean shipbuilders.
All of the presentations will be available on the Korean Register of Shipping website: www.krs.co.kr
The SIMS Conference was held immediately prior to the annual Tripartite meeting of international shipowners, shipbuilders and classification societies which reviewed a range of design, safety, operational and environmental issues.