ICS Chairman, Mr Esben Poulsson, has praised the positive role played by the Chinese Government in supporting the global regulatory framework for merchant shipping provided by IMO, in contrast with the tendency by some other IMO Member States towards adopting unilateral shipping regulations.
In his keynote speech to the Marintec conference in Shanghai, Mr Poulsson welcomed China’s close adherence to the implementation of national maritime regulations, applicable to visiting foreign-flag ships, in a manner consistent with the international maritime safety and pollution prevention Conventions adopted by IMO.
However, he noted, EU Member States, for example, appear to be pressing ahead with the implementation of a regional CO2 data collection system for ships (including visiting non-EU flag ships) which is different to this agreed by IMO for global application.
Meanwhile, US shows no intention to ratify IMO BWM Convention, and has adopted type-approval standards for the new treatment systems different to those agreed by IMO. This creates enormous practical and legal challenges for ship operators which trade to the US.
Further, Mr. Poulsson highlighted China’s efforts to engage constructively in the development at IMO of new environmental regulations applicable to international shipping, and China’s support for pragmatic solutions for their successful implementation worldwide. With regard to the current development of an IMO CO2 reduction strategy for shipping, Mr Poulsson said that China, in collaboration with other important economies, has come forward with its own vision of what an IMO CO2 strategy might look like, and has actually gone to the effort of developing a possible draft text.
“We think that this text, proposed by China and others – if combined with the CO2 reduction objectives put forward by the shipping industry and other governments – could actually provide the makings of a truly ambitious agreement, which will provide a signal to the world that IMO is very serious about reducing shipping’s CO2 emissions, and that it has a detailed plan for the development of further measures.”
With respect to the IMO Ballast Convention, the ICS Chairman welcomed the pragmatic approach taken by most IMO Member States, including the Government of China, which had accepted the arguments, made by ICS and others, that there is little logic – from an environmental protection standpoint – in requiring thousands of ships to comply until they can be fitted with systems that have been approved under the more stringent IMO standards which have only recently been agreed.
While commending China’s strong engagement with IMO, which he viewed as ‘a source for good’, Mr. Poulsson suggested that China’s ability to contribute to positive outcomes during IMO discussions could be further strengthened if the China Shipowners’ Association became a full member of ICS, alongside its other 36 member national shipowner associations in Asia, the Americas and Europe.