Dry bulk shipowners want wider vetting of stakeholders

Dry bulk ship operators are calling for the wider vetting of the shipping industry with the focus on stakeholders, including charterers, port terminal operators and port state control.

Led by Intercargo, dry cargo vessel owners, believe the assessment of the industry as a whole will lead to pending regulations being implemented and a more efficient greener industry and a concerted effort will be made to involve the weight of IMO in the drive to better assess the industry.

“We support regulations when they are practical but there is a lack of other stakeholders facilitating their smooth implementation,” said John Platsidakis, chairman of Intercargo, following meetings of the association’s executive and technical committees in Athens this week.

With numerous stories from Intercargo members relating to corruption within Port State Control in certain ports, the association condemns the "lack of any self-assessment structures" and pledges to continue efforts to persuade regional MoUs "to establish auditing schemes and transparency mechanisms".

The objective is to target corruption and misbehaviour, a problem, Platsidakis says "has regrettably not been sufficiently addressed".

Intercrago secretary general Kostas G. Gkonis said the association wrote to regional MoU secretariats more than a year ago in an effort to persuade them to establish internal affairs desks so abuses could be safely reported and properly investigated. But, said Platsidakis there has been no response.

“I don't see why not. We need a mechanism to register problems without fear of retaliation,” he said.

He also said a long-term goal of Intercargo was to encourage the formation of a dry cargo charterers' assessment scheme that would be “in their own interest” as it would enable quality charterers to promote their performance in such aspects as payment, safety, quality control and crew welfare.

Dimitris Fafalios, chairman of the technical committee pointed out that unlike the oil tanker industry which is heavily vetted, bulk carrier owners could be prey to hundreds of smaller charterers in addition to the major players. “It is different to the oil industry, which is highly regulated,” said Fafalios.

Association vice chairman, Jay K Pillai noted bulkers were often obliged to occupy berths unsuited to the size of vessel and were sent to terminals that had not been dredged, resulting in ships having to settle in mud until the next tide.

Intercargo has approached terminal operators but here there has been little response, even regarding reception facilities and especially in providing proper treatment for residues and hold washings that are classed as harmful to the marine environment.

The association says port state governments need to provide incentives in order for ports and terminals to increase investment in the provision of adequate facilities.

Intercargo has proposed a “model port reception facilities” concept with the purpose of assisting Imo and its members to have consistent and complete idea about port reception facilities. To help identify the way forward Intercargo intends to ask IMO to push terminals to implement existing rules.

Source: SMN

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