Union of Greek Shipowners (EEE) president Theodore Veniamis on Wednesday decried what he called an “intense negativism” against ocean-going shipping by some quarters, which also display a “hypocritical” stance on the issue of environmental protection in the sector, as he charged, in opening the 4th annual Naftemporiki shipping conference.
In directly referring to a looming global deadline for use of low-sulfur bunkering fuel, Veniamis charged what he called an “unfair position, as well as hypocrisy at the international level, by legislators against the shipping industry, as expressed through the very timely issue of shipping’s compliance with the new regulation for use of 0.5-percent sulfur fuel. This is a truly dramatic technological change in shipping’s operation, with economic and trade repercussions, especially ones affecting safety and environmental protection.”
Veniamis, who is also president and managing director of Golden Union Shipping, said the global maritime shipping community faces a deadline in 15 months of implementing a new regulation, one whose consequences have not been examined properly, and with no security safeguards in place.
At the same time, he praised a recent IMO decision, “even if delayed”, of recognizing the gaps in the regulation and calling for its re-examination, while sharply criticizing the EU Commission for ignoring the safety issue entailed with switching over to the new low-sulfur fuel.
“Thousands of ships face problems with existing fuels, but no one is condemning the oil companies for the poor quality of fuel they’re supplying to the shipping industry .. there’s a double standard here: excessive strictness for ships, tolerance for oil companies,” he said.
Newly appointed Greek shipping minister Fotis Kouvelis followed Veniamis on the podium, saying his government consider that older vessels in the Greek-flagged registry should be replaced, with an emphasis on safety and environmental protection.