According to Mr. Platten, the 2020 sulphur cap is naturally the most immediate challenge that the industry is facing nowadays.

He explained that this is what ‘keeps ship owners awake’, as it will lead to ‘an absolute massive change for the industry.’

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Despite the challenges that the new regulation may bring however, Mr. Platten is optimistic that the industry will get through that. But another issue will emerge as well:

We will get through that, because the industry always does and I think the next problem is how we are going to move to a zero carbon future

Achieving a zero carbon future will be the next task, but this generates more questions at the moment rather than answers.

Commenting on that, ICS’s Sec-Gen said that there are many questions that are left unanswered at the moment:

  • What is the new fuel going to be?
  • How are we going to get there?
  • When are we going to start building the ships?
  • What about the supply chain?
  • How are all of this going to fit together
  • Who is going to pay for it all?

The industry is starting to have that debate and that is really important as we move forward

IMO 2020 is not the only issue that the industry should have its mind into, however. As he stated, crew and safety are important as well.

Under this aspect, a worrying trend emerges. As Guy Platten put it:

We fear the politicization of ships

He noted that ships and crews are detained, while criminalization of seafarers is also reported. If such a case takes place, Mr. Platten mentioned that the crew may be thrown into jail whilst waiting.

We find that as a disturbing trend because the safety of our crew is absolutely paramount and ships should not be used as pawns in politics

In order to get through these issues and improve the shipping industry, Mr. Platten considers understanding to be crucial.

He specifically highlighted that there is a need for understanding as we are approaching 2020 for ‘everything to smooth out’.

Additionally, regulators should understand that the industry is trying its ‘very hard and it will continue to do so’.

Working together we can make sure we will have a bright future and we can introduce this [2020 sulphur cap] smoothly