DMC launches industry fora



Dubai Maritime City Authority has underlined its role as guardian of the maritime industry in Dubai by launching a series of industry forums that will focus on changes to regulation around the world. The first forum, which covered shipping and the environment, was hosted by the Environmental, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) department at the DMC Authority and looked at the key issue of discharges by vessels trading in territorial waters.

Commercial ship owners trading in some countries waters now need a permit to discharge grey water, ballast water and all other discharges incidental to the operation of the vessel.

Ali Al Naqbi, Senior Manager at the EHSS of Dubai Maritime City, opened the session and said: “The recent changes the industry is witnessing on discharges with regard to international shipping don’t come as unexpected. Several countries have starting accelerating unilateral action regarding environmental issues.

“The steps taken by some countries will surely be followed by other nations with active port state control authorities and regional MOUs.”

The forum was divided into three sessions, each of which covered a different aspect of the issue. The first session was presented by Elaine Heldewier, the Environmental Director and Designated Person ashore for environmental issues for Carnival Cruise Line – the largest cruise line in the world, who presented attendees with a practical implementation program to address the required changes on their vessels.

“The VGP (Vessel General Permit) process isn’t rocket science, as responsible operators have already incorporated many of these aspects into their daily operations. The VGP process really is formalising those best management practices regarding production, consumption and disposition of resources and introducing a few others that have proven valuable in other industries,” explained Elaine Heldewier.

The legal implications of the new regulations, the risks involved and how to minimise them were the topic of the second session presented by Alessandro Tricoli, Legal Consultant with the admiralty law firm of Fichte and Co. He explained: “The VGP is a global issue. The US, EU, UAE and Japan are all looking at minimising the negative impacts that comes with industrial processes. Our goal is to protect the owner and crew and ensure that the processes implemented aboard are kept up-to-date and meet the requirements of the law.”