March 4 - The compelling need to prevent shipping regulation becoming fragmented, the importance of recognising IMO as the agency to govern shipping's response to greenhouse gas emissions, the contribution of the human component and the need for positive
"This represents the BIMCO 'bird's eye view' of the most critical and difficult issues currently facing the industry" commented President of BIMCO Robert Lorenz-Meyer.
Reflections 2010 encapsulates the consensus view of the world's biggest shipping organisation on what it regards as the four most compelling issues and which the industry needs to tackle regardless of today's challenging commercial pressures.
Central to all of these issues is that of the need to keep regulation global, and control the forces of unilateralism, regionalism and the tendency to make local laws, which threaten to make the operation of internationally trading ships chaotic. BIMCO suggests that the International Maritime Organisation and other international bodies represent the only viable vehicle for regulation of a global industry, and that the regulation of shipping should be undertaken principally through these bodies, if a "patchwork" of local regulation is not to emerge.
The disappointing outcome of the recent UNFCC/COP15 conference creates an uncertain climate for shipping as it goes forward, as there is still no common view on the treatment of marine transport, with even more pressure on IMO to deliver solutions acceptable to both industry and society. BIMCO has pledged to put its weight behind IMO in this important work.
The human element, now recognised as a crucial component in both marine safety and efficiency, has become central to BIMCO's agenda, and during the current Year of the Seafarer will be further emphasised. The BIMCO/ISF Manpower Study will provide vital information on the supply and demand of seafarers later this year. The organisation continues to work hard to support fair treatment for seafarers, and to discourage their criminalisation in the case of marine accidents. The entry into force of the International Labour Organisation's Maritime Labour Convention is also an important milestone which BIMCO will work towards, while the updating of the STCW Code will help to ensure that training and competency are aligned with the needs of an increasingly technological industry.
The plague of piracy, notably in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin has become the most serious security challenge facing commercial shipping, despite the efforts of naval forces and Best Management Practices aboard merchant vessels. BIMCO, which has launched its Automated Voyage Risk Assessment Service to help owners gauge all security risks, lobbies hard for more effective defences, a government based solution to the security situation ashore in Somalia and an effective legal regime to prosecute pirates.
Full details of BIMCO's views on these four important areas are included in the BIMCO Reflections 2010, just four of the many matters throughout the world of shipping in which BIMCO makes a difference.