According to Mr. Veniamis, shipping has been called upon to implement a regulation without guarantees of safety and security. He explained that, for this reason, he had frequent meetings with the IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, and former Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, during which he described the union's concerns.
As a result, we have succeeded, with pressure and public criticism, to have at least some useful tools for a smoother adjustment to the new Regulation. In addition, the IMO recognized the clear safety issues raised by the new fuels, as well as those resulting from blended fuels, and included their further consideration in the program of its relevant Committees
At this point, Mr. Veniamis gave emphasis to new scientific, which raise questions about the environmental performance of new fuels. He specifically referred to a recent study recently submitted by Germany and Finland to the IMO, that demonstrates increased black carbon emissions from the use of new fuels.
During his speech, the UGS President also talked about the use of scrubbers, as an alternative means of compliance with the regulation. As he said, UGS opposes to the use of scrubbers, but pinpointed that:
UGS has never turned against their commercial choice [of scrubbers], but in any case we have had the institutional duty to defend the interests of the vast majority of our colleagues who have not placed scrubbers on their ships and address the uncontrollable factors of the new Regulation, namely, the inadequate availability of safe and quality new fuels worldwide
Continuing, Mr. Veniamis revealed that the industry's ultimate goal should be the complete detachment of shipping from fossil fuels. For this reason, until this long-term goal is achieved, shipping is 'required to respond immediately to the urgent need for short-term measures that demonstrate the credibility and accountability of our industry.'
To achieve these short-term goals, UGS has backed the reduction of the maximum propulsion power of ships. As he explained, this proposal allowed Greece to move on to the second round of discussions and to be included in the close group of Member States invited to the next IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting in March 2020 to form a broad-based agreement and acceptance proposal.
Despite the fact that Mr. Veniamis did not provide any further information on the matter, he stressed that the Board of UGS decided in favour of a speed cap in ships, depending on their environmental performance.