ICS Looks to the Future with New ISM Guidelines 

In response to today’s increasingly complex operating environment, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has launched a completely new edition of its Guidelines on the Application of the IMO International Safety Management (ISM) Code, originally published in 1993 with over 50,000 copies sold worldwide

The ISM Code is a key mandatory requirement for merchant ships, critical to continuous improvement of maritime safety and environmental performance.
An expert ICS panel drawn from shipowners and shipmanagers across a variety of sectors, and with considerable experience of working with ISM, has created up to date guidelines which look forward to the future, balancing the need to implement Safety Management Systems (SMS) that further improve safety with helping the crew to do its job efficiently.

Mark Rawson, ICS Expert Group Lead says: “What emerged within ICS was a strong enthusiasm to make radical changes to the previous guidelines.   The view from ship operators was that we should be looking at how we can simplify understanding of the ISM Code and the application of its requirements. Read more

ICS announces first speakers for its flagship conference during LISW19

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) will challenge the shipping industry and policymakers to face the reality of powering global trade without the use of fossil fuels in its 2019 International Shipping Conference Setting Course for 2050: Powering Global Trade.

Taking place at the British Library on Wednesday 11 September 2019, during London International Shipping Week, the conference will bring together leading scientists, economists, oil & gas industry players, financiers, infrastructure and shipping leaders along with ministers and policymakers. The programme will ask how the changing dynamics of global trade, new technology and the need to address climate change will impact business models and will set out how todays shipowners must prepare for the transition to zero CO2 emitting fuels – the ‘4th Propulsion Revolution’.  Read more

ICS – Six Months’ Countdown to the ‘Global Sulphur Cap’

With six months to go until the implementation of the ‘Global Sulphur Cap’ the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has issued updated guidance to help shipowners comply with new UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations. Taking full effect on 1 January 2020 the legal framework will require merchant ships worldwide to use fuel with a sulphur content of less than 0.50 percent or use alternative mitigation technologies.

Guy Platten, Secretary General of ICS said: “These new regulations are good for human health and good for the environment. With just six months to go before implementation these free ICS guidelines will help shipping companies with the vital task of preparing for compliance. We strongly recommend that shipowners prepare an Implementation Plan for each of their ships using the template agreed by IMO.”  Read more

ICS to Push for Rapid Action on Further CO2 Reduction by International Shipping

ICS Member Representatives at the 2019 AGM

2019 AGM Faroe Islands: Representatives of the world’s national shipowners’ associations met last week to review the priorities of the global shipowners’ association, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

The ICS Annual General Meeting was overshadowed by the attacks against two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and the very serious threat this presents to the lives of seafarers and maritime trade. (Please see recent statement.)

Action on CO2 Reduction
ICS agreed a suite of actions in support of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy to decarbonise international shipping in line with the United Nations 1.5 degree climate change goal. Read more

International Chamber of Shipping expresses concern over tanker attacks

The Board of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has expressed concern at the serious incidents involving the Marshall Islands flagged ship Front Altair and the Panama flagged Kokuka Courageous, in the Gulf of Oman. Addressing the issue at the ICS Annual General Meeting in the Faroe Islands, the Board has expressed the international shipping industry’s alarm at recent incidents in the region affecting ships and their crews.

“This suspected attack is a deeply worrying and intolerable situation. We await further clarification and information as to what has happened but we are relieved that there appears to have been no loss of life and that the crews are reportedly safe, ” said Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General. “This is the second incident in one month and the shipping industry, and most importantly the crews,  must not be exposed to such risks.” Read more

Gulf of Guinea Piracy Continues to Threaten Seafarers – Industry Wants Action Now

Members of the shipping community, Flag States and Agencies from the Gulf of Guinea gathered at the Headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on Friday 7 June, 2019, for a day-long symposium on Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea. The event, co-sponsored by BIMCO, IMCA, ICS, ITF and OCIMF, featured speakers from regional maritime agencies as well as shipping officials, academics and military staff.  The shipping industry, along with seafarer groups, organized the event to highlight the continuing danger to seafarers operating in the Gulf of Guinea.

In opening the symposium, Dr. Grahaeme Henderson, Chair of the UK Shipping Defence Advisory Committee and Vice President of Shell Shipping & Maritime, said “Simply put, the high level of piracy and armed robbery attacks in the Gulf of Guinea is not acceptable. Yet it is happening every day and this is not business as usual. We need to take urgent action now.”  Read more

Shipowners’ Global Trade Association Launches Annual Review


In advance of its AGM in the Faroe Islands next week, the global trade association for shipowners, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), has launched its Annual Review 2019, providing in-depth insight into the most pressing issues confronting shipping, which moves about 90% of global trade.

ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson, explains:  “The immediate focus of ICS is the successful implementation of the UN IMO global sulphur cap, which will take complete effect on 1 January.  ICS has produced comprehensive advice to help shipowners prepare and achieved notable success in persuading IMO to adopt appropriate guidelines for its Member States. Read more

ICS Launches Definitive Guidelines on MLC Convention

Responding to changing regulations the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has launched of the third edition of its essential Guidelines on the Application of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, the only fully up to date guide to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) for all involved with the employment of seafarers.

Focused on today’s MLC, the publication covers all amendments made to the Convention since it entered into force in 2013. It also contains practical advice, information and key learnings from industry bodies at the heart of the shipping community.
Natalie Shaw, Director of Employment Affairs at ICS says: “These new Guidelines provide a framework to help all involved in the industry understand how the MLC works. Companies can use them to assist in developing their own policies and procedures and incorporate them in their working practices. Read more

International Shipping on Track to Meet 2030 CO2 Reduction Target Following Critical UN IMO Meeting

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) – which represents the world’s national shipowner associations – remains confident that shipping will improve its carbon efficiency by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 2008, in line with the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  This follows important decisions made by the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) which met in London this week.

ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten commented: “We welcome the adoption of important new IMO regulations to strengthen and bring forward the application of the Energy Efficiency Design Index for several different types of new build vessel, including containerships.  We are keen to see further progress on developing more short term measures to help the existing fleet reduce its emissions, and are optimistic that IMO Member States can agree some additional regulations, during 2020, combining prescriptive and goal based approaches that will deliver further GHG reductions before 2023.” Read more

New survey from ICS and ECSA paints positive picture for seafarer internet access


A new survey from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) reveals that not only is internet access for seafarers for personal use on board ships more widespread and available than previously imagined, but also that the positive benefits associated with this access outweigh the feared safety concerns around the technology.

The responses to the survey carried out by ICS and ECSA, with support from the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA), indicate that the provision of internet access to seafarers for personal use may have improved the mental health and well-being of seafarers (according to 60% of respondents) and the morale of seafarers in the company (according to 69% of respondents). 82% of those organisations who responded provide internet access to seafarers for personal use. Despite industry concerns that internet access may negatively impact upon seafarers obtaining adequate rest and sleep during periods available for rest, 85% of these companies reported that this has been unaffected or improved. Similarly, whilst there have also been concerns expressed as to whether internet access may negatively or positively impact upon the work performance of seafarers, 96% of companies reported that this has not deteriorated. Read more

Major Shipowner Trade Associations Agree to Enhance Cooperation

Today in Singapore, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) signed a joint memorandum of understanding.

This new MOU codifies the extensive level of co-operation that already exists between these important international trade associations and provides a framework for their closer co-operation. The three associations collectively represent over 90 percent of the world merchant fleet. The agreement recognises their respective memberships of national shipowners’ associations and the unique and special relationship which their members enjoy with their national governments. Read more

Oversupply Still Major Challenge Warns ICS

Speaking in Istanbul, Simon Bennett, Deputy Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) warned today that avoiding overcapacity and unsustainably low freight rates is still a major challenge ten years after the massive downturn of 2008.

Mr Bennett said: “In that time shipping companies needed to show restraint when ordering new ships, to prevent stifling recovery. Yet the dark clouds of protectionism and slowing growth in key economies mean that the avoidance of overordering is now more important than ever.”

Addressing an audience of shipowners and operators at the Global Maritime Summit 2019, organised in conjunction with the Turkish Chamber of Shipping, Mr Bennett acknowledged that individual operators would legitimately make their own individual business decisions regarding new tonnage.

Read more

ICS Deeply Concerned by Mediterranean Migrant Rescue Incident

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents the global shipping industry, is very concerned by reports that a merchant ship, the Palau-flagged tanker ‘Elhiblu 1’, had been taken over by migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, reportedly because the ship was going to return the some 100 rescued persons to Libya.

ICS is still establishing the details of the ongoing incident, but welcomes initial reports that the Maltese authorities have taken action to ensure that the situation is safely resolved.

ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten said: “ICS is carefully watching this new development, which it will seek to raise with the UN International Maritime Organization which is in session in London this week.”

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FONARS are ‘Not a Free Pass’ to Use Non-Compliant Low Sulphur Fuel, Warns ICS

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has welcomed the decision in principle by the UN IMO that safety or operational concerns about the quality of low sulphur fuels may, in exceptional circumstances, be a valid reason for shipowners to be issued with a Fuel Oil Non Availability Report (FONAR) when the IMO global sulphur cap, requiring fuels to have a sulphur content of 0.5% or less, comes into full effect on 1 January 2020.

However, ICS is warning shipowners that this decision by an IMO Sub Committee last week should not in any way be regarded as a ‘free pass’ either to use or carry non-complaint fuel.

“FONARs remain a tool of last resort and are not something that a ship will be able to use routinely” said ICS Deputy Secretary General Simon Bennett.  “The circumstances in which a FONAR can be used are very limited and conditions attached to their use will be strict.  Shipowners still need to remain focused on doing everything possible to ensure full compliance in 2020.”

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ICS Remains Concerned that New Canadian Legislation will Interfere with International Maritime Trade

The Canadian Senate is giving consideration to legislation that would have the effect of establishing a moratorium on the shipment of crude oil in the waters of Northern British Columbia (Bill C-48: An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast).

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), representing the world’s national shipowners’ associations and 80% of the world merchant fleet, has voiced deep concern about this proposed legislation which it says will interfere with international maritime trade.

“Such a dramatic step could lead to serious concerns being raised by Canada’s international trading partners” said ICS Deputy Secretary General, Simon Bennett.  “The proposed moratorium does not seem to have been developed through an evidence-based process and we fear it could establish a dangerous precedent that might be copied elsewhere, including by individual U.S. States, with the potential to impact greatly on the efficiency of world trade, as well as that of Canada.”

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Sulphur and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Priority for ICS

“The 2020 global sulphur cap will be the regulatory game changer of the decade with profound implications for the economics of shipping” believes Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Esben Poulsson. “But there are even more profound changes to come.  We are rapidly moving into a multi-fuel future to be followed we hope, in the 2030s, by the arrival of commercially viable zero CO2 fuels suitable for global application.”

Mr Poulsson was speaking following the ICS Board meeting in London last week, attended by senior representatives of the world’s national shipowners’ associations.

As the 1 January 2020 deadline for the sulphur cap approaches, ICS members reviewed progress in persuading the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) to take measures to address expected implementation problems.  This includes outstanding safety and fuel compatibility issues associated with the use of new 0.5% sulphur blends and continuing uncertainty over the availability of compliant fuels in every port worldwide, a particular challenge for tramp trades.  The ICS Board concluded that it will be vital for the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee to complete this work at its meeting in May 2019, as shipowners begin ordering compliant fuels.

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ICS Chairman Calls for Comprehensive Revision of STCW Seafarer Training Regime

Speaking in Manila, the Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Esben Poulsson, has called for a comprehensive revision of the IMO STCW Convention which governs global standards for the training and certification of around two million merchant seafarers.

STCW was reviewed in 2010 with the adoption of the ‘Manila amendments’ but the previous major overhaul of the STCW regime was last undertaken by IMO Member States over 25 years ago.

Mr Poulsson said “It’s now commonplace for employers to routinely provide additional training and assessments prior to the deployment of many officers holding STCW certification which raises questions as to whether the Convention as currently drafted is still fit for purpose in the 21st Century.” Read more

ICS Publishes New Edition of Industry Guidance on Garbage Management Plans

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has recently published a new edition of its ‘Guidance for the Preparation and Implementation of Garbage Management Plans as Required by MARPOL Annex V’. This second edition is intended to help shipping companies comply with the latest requirements of the IMO regulation regarding treatment and disposal of garbage from ships.

ICS Deputy Secretary General, Simon Bennett said:

“Following the entry into force of some important amendments to MARPOL Annex V in 2017 and 2018 respectively, it is essential to provide updated advice to shipping companies on the latest requirements for ships to prepare and implement Garbage Management Plans.”

Read more

ICS Announces New Edition of Best Practice Safety Guide for Gas Carrier Operators

The global trade association for ship operators, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), has announced that it will soon be publishing a new edition of the ICS Tanker Safety Guide (Liquefied Gas).

The ‘ICS Gas Guide’ is the definitive industry best practice guidance for gas carrier operators, and is a carriage requirement under the national regulations of many flag states.

“It is strongly recommended that a copy of the completely revised third edition is carried on board every ship engaged in the transportation of liquefied gas by sea” said ICS Deputy Secretary General, Simon Bennett. Read more

ICS Launches Free Guidance on Preparing for 2020 Sulphur Cap

To assist shipping companies prepare for implementation of the UN IMO global sulphur cap for ships’ fuel oil, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has produced – free of charge – some comprehensive guidance on implementation planning, to help ensure compliance across the shipping industry with this regulatory game changer.

The free ICS guidance has been prepared for the vast majority of ships that will comply after 1 January 2020 using fuel oils with a sulphur content of 0.50% m/m or less.

ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten, explained:
“Shipping companies may need to start ordering compliant fuels from as early as the middle of 2019, and they are strongly recommended to commence developing implementation plans as soon as possible.”

Apart from the significant additional cost of compliant fuel, ICS says that implementation of the global cap will be far more complex than for the previous introduction of Emission Control Areas. This is because of the sheer magnitude of the switchover and the much larger quantities and different types of fuel involved, as well as continuing uncertainties about the availability, safety and compatibility of compliant fuels in every port worldwide. Read more