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.

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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.”

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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

“Ships are not Operating in a Regulatory Vacuum” says ICS Chairman, at start of Major UN Negotiation on Future Ocean Governance

At the United Nations in New York, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is representing shipowners at the start of a major negotiation to agree a new legal instrument for the protection of the ocean under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – which will apply to ‘high seas’ areas ‘beyond national jurisdiction’.

Addressing government negotiators in New York today (5 September), ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson, highlighted the need to ensure that this UN initiative will not “unwittingly” impact on the effective future governance of global shipping, potentially interfering with principles such as freedom of navigation, or otherwise cutting across the work of shipping’s global regulator, the London-based UN International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“As a result of the global rules already provided by IMO, ships are not operating in a regulatory vacuum” stressed Esben Poulsson. “A shipowner’s activities are never beyond national jurisdiction, even on the high seas.”

ICS fully supports the objectives of the UN negotiations and the critical need to provide environmental protection for the ocean from activities such as fishing and seabed mining.  However, ICS says these are activities which, unlike commercial shipping, do not enjoy a comprehensive framework of global regulation such as that which has been developed, over a period of 50 years, by the UN IMO and its 174 Member States. Read more

ICS Encouraged by IMO Progress on 2020 Global Sulphur Cap Implementation Issues

In a statement today, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says it is encouraged by efforts made by IMO Member States to resolve some pressing practical challenges ahead of the global implementation of the 0.5% sulphur in fuel cap on 1 January 2020.

Speaking after an important IMO working group meeting last week, to which the industry submitted a number of constructive proposals to help ensure smooth and consistent implementation, ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe remarked:

“Although there is still much work to be done, last week’s IMO discussions were positive.  Most important is that governments have acknowledged the safety concerns raised by industry about the use of compliant fuels including possible incompatibility. We are pleased that Member States have accepted their obligations under MARPOL to ensure that fuel is suitable for use and will not pose a safety risk to the ship or the crew, and that IMO has now agreed that these critical issues should be urgently addressed by the next IMO Maritime Safety Committee in December 2017.” Read more

Reducing CO2 Emissions to Zero – ICS Publishes New Insight into the ‘Paris Agreement for Shipping’

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has launched a new publication to endorse the recent adoption by the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) of its ambitious strategy for phasing-out CO2 emissions from the international shipping sector – a historic agreement which the global industry, as represented by ICS, fully supports.

Reducing CO2 Emissions to Zero explains what the high levels of ambition agreed by IMO Member States could mean for international shipping. These targets include an efficiency improvement of least 40% – as an average across – the fleet compared to 2008, and a 50% cut of the sector’s total greenhouse emissions by 2050, regardless of future trade growth.

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Shipping Industry Launches New Security Resources for World Fleet

International shipping industry organisations, with military support, have launched a new website dedicated to providing comprehensive maritime security guidance to companies and mariners. Launched today, the new website www.maritimeglobalsecurity.org provides security-related guidance produced by the industry as well as links to other useful maritime and military security resources.

“In a world of increasingly complex security risks, it is essential that mariners and ships are protected. The new website will be a freely available facility where companies and mariners can access essential guidance and information to help them comprehensively prepare for voyages through areas of security risk,” the authors said.

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IMO Member States Must Progress on Key Sulphur Cap Issues at Critical Meeting in July

The shipping industry – as represented by its international trade associations (BIMCO, ICS, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and WSC) – calls on the Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to make progress on key challenges around the global sulphur cap to avoid compromising safety or unfairly penalising individual ships.

The trade associations have co-sponsored a number of submissions to IMO to help smooth the implementation of the global 0.5 percent sulphur in fuel cap, in advance of the critical meeting that will be held in London during the second week of July.

These submissions include papers on:

  • a standard format for a ship specific implementation plan with many actions ships may need to consider for achieving compliance but also a call for a practical and pragmatic approach from IMO Member States when verifying compliance with the 0.50% global sulphur cap;
  • safety implications associated with 2020 fuels and their respective challenges;
  • a draft standard for reporting on fuel oil non-availability;
  • proposals for amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to require sampling points for fuel oil; and
  • verification issues and control mechanism and actions.

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Shipping Industry Very Concerned About Italian Policy on Migrants Rescued at Sea

ICS is deeply concerned about the apparent new policy of the Italian Government to close its ports to migrants rescued by vessels operated by humanitarian NGOs.  The refusal by Italy to allow rescued persons to be disembarked could have serious implications for the safety and welfare of these distressed people, including children and pregnant women.   

To its great credit, the government of Italy has consistently permitted prompt and predictable disembarkation of people rescued by merchant ships as well as by vessels operated by humanitarian NGOs.  But following the election of the new Italian Government, the crisis now seems to be taking an ever more political direction.

If NGO vessels are prevented from disembarking rescued persons in Italy, this would also have significant implications for merchant ships and the movement of trade throughout the Mediterranean, as merchant ships would again have to become involved in a greater number of rescues.

The global shipping industry, as represented by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), is committed to meeting its obligations under the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to come to the rescue of any person in distress at sea.   Since the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean escalated three years ago, over 50,000 people have already been rescued by merchant ships, with many more rescued by military vessels and boats operated by humanitarian NGOs.

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ICS Applauds ‘Paris Agreement for Shipping’

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has welcomed the high level strategy for the further reduction of shipping’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adopted on 13 April by the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO).

ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe said: “This is a ground breaking agreement – a Paris Agreement for shipping – that sets a very high level of ambition for the future reduction of CO2 emissions. We are confident this will give the shipping industry the clear signal it needs to get on with the job of developing zero CO2 fuels, so that the entire sector will be in a position to decarbonise completely, consistent with the 1.5 degree climate change goal.”

He added: “The agreed IMO objective of cutting the sector’s total GHG emissions by at least 50% before 2050, as part of a continuing pathway for further reduction, is very ambitious indeed, especially when account is taken of current projections for trade growth as the world’s population and levels of prosperity continue to increase.” Read more

ICS Publishes Latest Flag State Performance Table with New Criteria Included

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has published the latest version of its Flag State Performance Table, which can be downloaded free of charge via the ICS website. http://www.ics-shipping.org/free-resources/flag-state-performance-table.

The Table provides a helpful indication of the performance of individual flag states worldwide, which analyses how the administrations included deliver against a number of criteria such as port state control records, ratification of international maritime Conventions and attendance at IMO meetings. This year, a new criteria on participation in the ‘IMO Member State Audit Scheme’ has been included.

ICS Deputy Secretary General, Simon Bennett, remarked: “Following the entry into force of amendments to the relevant IMO Conventions, the IMO Member State Audit Scheme has become mandatory. This is a significant development that should make further contributions to improving maritime safety and the prevention of pollution.”

He added, “ICS also recently released a new interactive version of the Table, which contains a search facility and allows users to compare and contrast the performance of up to four flag states at a time”.

The 2017/2018 Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table is currently being distributed among ICS national shipowners’ associations and their member companies, which cover over 80% of the world merchant fleet.

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ICS Appoints Guy Platten as New Secretary General

Following an extensive and rigorous selection procedure, the Board of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is delighted to announce the appointment of Guy Platten to the role of Secretary General.

Esben Poulsson, ICS Chairman said: “This proved a difficult decision for us, as we interviewed several strong candidates. However, the decision to appoint Guy was taken unanimously by the Board. He will bring with him a broad range of skills including time at sea, demonstrable commercial success, and association work illustrated by his current successful tenure at the U.K. Chamber of Shipping.

“In a fast changing world, ICS, like any successful association, needs to be more aware than ever of the needs and demands of its members and to truly add value, be it on the regulatory front or in respect of the numerous other challenges facing the industry. ICS is the industry’s leading voice, with the important remit of highlighting the great improvements the industry has made and will continue to make as a key contributor to world trade.”

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Yemen Conflict Forces New Security Recommendations

Maritime Security in The Southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb_001

In response to the threats arising from the conflict in Yemen, BIMCO, ICS and INTERTANKO have published interim guidance on maritime security in the southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb. Shipowners and operators should be aware of new threat patterns in the area.

The European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) and the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have advised that a range of threats other than piracy, such as sea mines and water-borne improvised explosive devices (WBIEDs), are potential risks in the area.

“We’ve been advised that these threats are real, and therefore decided to provide guidance for ships operating in the area. We have seen two incidents in January, and we want to make sure owners and operators are aware and advise their crews accordingly,” says Angus Frew, BIMCO Secretary General and CEO.  Read more