Port states need to have the support of the shipping industry if the new IMO sulphur cap regulations are to be a success according to Panos Kirnidis, CEO of Palau International Ship Registry (PISR).
As an agency of the United Nations the IMO does not have the authority to enforce the forthcoming global sulphur cap and neither do Port States. Panos Kirnidis sees this as an ideal opportunity for the industry to get behind the IMO and ensure the cap is a success.
“Port State Control (PSC) has often been seen as having a negative impact on shipping and I have been critical of it in the past, but both the IMO and PSC need teeth if the sulphur cap is to work. There are a lot of issues that will affect ship owners and operators in the next 12 months and environmental concerns are paramount. The effect on the industry will be in operational and financial terms but it will also force many shippers to reconsider their operations over fears of reputational damage.
“Multi-national and global brands will not want their products associated with vessels non-compliant with the sulphur cap and this will only being more pressure onto ship owners. There is more than reputational impact to be considered; the financial implications of failing to comply with the IMO cap will also impact ship owners in terms of insurance if judged to be ‘unseaworthy’ and severe financial penalties will result from that. No matter what we believe is needed in terms of revision of current Port State Controls, we must give total backing to Port states to enforce the IMO’s credible stance on this.”
The IMO has been criticised recently over weak governance and their ability to resist national interests. This was the suggestion of the NGO Transparency International only a few months after the IMO was hit with similar accusations from other sources. Panos Kirnidis sees this as a real danger to the shipping industry.
“This is not an issue between competing interests. We are all involved in the shipping industry and my fleet comprises vessels from across the globe. Their interests are my concern but we all realise that to make the global maritime sector work and be respected we all have a part to play. Ship owners and operators need to work with shippers; shippers need to understand the challenges the sulphur caps brings and registries such as ours need to work more closely with Port states to help them enforce the regulations. My main complaint about PSC in the past has been the attitude and seemingly inconsistent approach taken to world shipping. My registry will support PSC in policing the global IMO sulphur cap but we must do this as one industry. Non-compliance threatens everyone in an age when reputation and financial issues are so closely related.”