Friday, October 16, 2020

Registration and Vessel Certification Body Quick to Disassociate Itself from Maritime Forum Comments

Potential Split on the Decarbonisation of the Ocean Shipping Industry
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Lloyd's Register (LR) says it is aware that there have been calls for greater regional regulation of the global shipping industry at this year's virtual Global Maritime Forum (GMF) event and has been quick to disassociate itself from the sentiments expressed.

The GMF statements were apparently made in relation to the speed with which regulatory measures are being imposed to address the maritime industry's decarbonisation challenges. Some media (not guilty m’lud) have also reported that greater support for regional regulations may be among the recommendations coming out of this year’s Global Maritime Forum.

Lloyd’s Register is a Strategic Partner of the Global Maritime Forum, but has made it clear that it does not support these or any calls for greater regional regulation in support of decarbonisation. Lloyd’s Register Group CEO Alastair Marsh commented:

“We believe that global regulation to reduce the maritime industry’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as the shipping regulator, is in the best interests of all shipping stakeholders.

”Lloyd’s Register is committed to working with all industry players to halve GHG emissions from 2008 levels by 2050. To do this, zero-carbon vessels must enter to world fleet by 2030, along with the necessary fuels and land-side infrastructure, and we are actively supporting our clients to achieve these ambitions.”

The actual view of those involved with the GMF appear a little more confused. At the end of September it published an article written by Nikol Hearn, one of the three winners of its Future Maritime Leaders essay competition which looks at ‘Accelerating the decarbonisation of the shipping sector’ and appears to support the IMO having overall control of the matter.

Hearn points out that globally it is the interference and differing vested interests within the countries affected that produce a confused pattern of international regulation. He states:

”By ensuring that shipping is increasingly regulated by one global body, rather than by various national regulators, uniform legal requirements can be a simple yet effective means by which to direct the outcome.”

This would appear to back the IMO which, although never the fastest medium of change, unsurprising given the number of individual countries which are represented, at least seems to win the arguments eventually and usually thereby forcing the hand of the unwilling.

If Lloyd’s Register’s is to be taken as a typical view it would seem that perhaps only those with vested interest in maintaining the status quo will potentially be trying to split the vote on decarbonisation. Common sense says a unified effort has little or no downside, everybody has to play by the same rules and ship operators’ costs will largely be equal and therefore offer no disadvantage to any one of them.

Photo: Image courtesy of the HFO-Free Arctic organisation.