Volunteers wanted

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

06 October 2016


With another MEPC approaching, the ICS and other bodies are once again calling for the IMO to impose additional GHG reduction measures on top of the already in place progressive EEDI requirements. In a statement issued this week the ICS has proposed that the details of a CO2 reduction commitment should be developed on behalf of the sector as soon as possible. According to ICS, the goal is to build on the substantial CO2 reductions already achieved by shipping, and the mandatory IMO CO2 reduction regime which is already in force worldwide. Esben Poulsson, ICS Chairman, said that despite the fact that individual ships are becoming far more efficient, the industry also wants IMO to respond to the challenge of addressing the total CO2 emissions from the sector if demand for maritime trade continues to increase due to population growth and economic development – factors over which the industry has no control. Aside from statements by the ICS and an occasional shipowner, there is no evidence to suggest that operators are willing to do anything beyond reducing their own fuel use by measures that suit their particular trading strategy. If there is to be a system that cuts emissions by shipping beyond what is already required under EEDI, it will inevitably mean that some owners will need to curb their activities in much the same way as EU fishermen are obliged to stay in port once their quotas have been reached. It is all well and good to pay lip service to environmental concerns but where are the volunteers prepared to take a hit for the good of the planet? Perhaps the real concern is that developing countries will be given exemptions that will reduce the competitiveness of ship operators based in Europe. If that is the case, then the ICS and its member associations should perhaps be lobbying their own national governments and not the IMO.