Mr. Peter Hinchliffe, Secretary-General, ICS has responded to GREEN4SEA questions providing an overall forecast for the marine environmental developments in 2017. Mr Hinchliffe said that one of the most difficult issues facing ICS is to develop a widespread response to the growing call at IMO for commitment with the Paris Agreement and wished for all stakeholders in the supply chain to become eager to share the burden and the responsibility for a better marine environment.
GREEN4SEA: Do you think there was a significant success and/or progress made with respect to marine environment protection during 2016? Focusing on your area of expertise, what were the most important industry developments within 2016?
Peter Hinchliffe : One of the core strands of ICS’ work is regulatory development. In this area the three most significant IMO decisions of 2016 were; the final required ratification of the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention bringing it into force in 2017; the decision to confirm implementation of the global 0.5% sulphur cap in 2020; and the agreement to develop an IMO Road Map for Green House Gas emission reduction which should include the adoption of initial CO2 reduction objectives for the international shipping industry in 2018.
G4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that it will be the biggest marine environmental challenge(s) for the industry for the 2017?
P.H.: Decisions taken at IMO in 2016 require shipowners and operators to take significant procurement decisions starting in 2017 – the identification, purchase and installation of ballast water treatment equipment; and the decision on whether to switch to low sulphur fuel or to investigate the potential for exhaust gas scrubbing equipment or fuels such as LNG. None of these are trivial decisions, they are very major investments and can imply difficult retrofitting procedures. The unilateral ballast water requirement in the US and lack of US type approval decisions place shipowners trading to the US in an impossible position, while decisions on how to comply with the sulphur cap will be complicated by uncertainty about the relative cost of the different options.
G4S: What would be the 2017 resolutions for your company/ organization? What are your goals and aspirations to enhance environmental excellence? Do you have any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans for 2017 that you would like to share?
P.H.: One of the most difficult issues facing ICS is to develop a response to the growing call at IMO (and from society at large) to commit the shipping industry to a CO2 reduction programme that reflects the aspiration of the Paris Agreement. The quandary is that deep sea shipping is currently completely reliant on fossil fuel with no carbon neutral alternative even on the horizon. This makes agreeing a commitment which enjoys consensus across the industry that is ambitious but realistic, whilst being deliverable and affordable, a very significant challenge.
G4S: What is your overall forecast for the marine environmental developments in 2017 and what would you like to share and/or wish and/or ask other industry stakeholders?
P.H.: The problem of low freight rates that has challenged shipowners in recent years seem unlikely to ease in 2017 and this will be exacerbated by the imposition of these expensive environmental requirements. Shipowners fully support measures to protect the environment but this is a responsibility of all stakeholders in the supply chain. My two wishes for 2017 are; firstly to hope that all stakeholders in the supply chain will be willing to come together to share the burden and the responsibility; and secondly to see the very impressive environmental performance of shipping given the public recognition that it deserves
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of GREEN4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.