In New York recently, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) represented global ship-owners at a United Nations meeting, having been invited to speak as a panellist as part of the UN Inter Consultative Process on the Law of Sea.
The opportunity was taken by the ICS to highlight the extent to which shipping is very effectively regulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in order to deliver the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
ICS explained how shipping is the only industrial sector already to have a mandatory global regime in place, adopted by IMO, to regulate and reduce its CO2 emissions.
A recent IMO study determined that total CO2 emissions from international shipping reduced by over 10% between 2007 and 2012. ICS also gave an overview of the global regulations adopted at IMO to reduce sulphur emissions from shipping and to limit the movement of invasive species in ships’ ballast water, and how the shipping industry was investing hundreds of billions of dollars in order to ensure compliance.
ICS noted that the collective cost to the shipping industry of implementing new environmental regulations, which was already starting to be felt, was estimated to be in excess of US$500 billion over the next 10 years, something which had not been fully taken into account when the rules were adopted.
Speaking in New York, Simon Bennett, Director of Policy and External Relations at ICS, said: “Unless the shipping industry is commercially viable it will not be able to deliver the investments in environmental and social improvements that are sought by regulators on behalf of society at large.
“While the shipping industry recognises that the regulation of other ocean activities, especially on the high seas, may not be so well developed, we do think great care should be taken with regard to the current balance that exists between the rights and obligations of states in their flag, coastal and port state roles.”