ABS Chairman and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki (pictured, left) expressed the thanks of a grateful industry to IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim at the official gala dinner to mark the transition to his successor Arsenio Dominguez (pictured, right).
Speaking to more than 250 assembled leaders of the shipping industry at COP28, Wiernicki detailed Secretary General Lim’s “glittering legacy of achievement” and honoured their shared commitment to safety.
“Consider the water under the bridge since January 1, 2016, when he took office.” said Wiernicki. “Think of the scale of change triggered by the sulphur cap, which was delivered on Kitack’s watch, altering the chemical and physical composition of ship exhaust all over the globe. It was recently hailed by NASA for its beneficial effect on the atmosphere.
“I worked with Kitack closely on the introduction of goal-based standards in shipbuilding, witnessing firsthand his fierce personal commitment to safety,” continued Wiernicki.
“And he is finishing on an exceptional high note with the 2023 revision of the global greenhouse gas strategy adopted at MEPC 80, a historic decision to evaluate shipping emissions from the well-to-wake, and one whose impact will reverberate through the industry right up to 2050 and beyond,” he added.
Wiernicki mapped out the path ahead on shipping’s sustainability journey and the calculus for the industry to get to net zero, highlighting the challenge and opportunity ahead for Mr. Dominguez when he takes over in January 2024.
“Clearly, you will be eager to deliver further progress on our net-zero journey. If we are to make the necessary investments, industry will need you to ensure we retain a cohesive global approach to regulation to deliver clarity and consistency. You can rely on our continued support for one international regulatory framework that is driven by the IMO.
“You also have a golden opportunity to continue the good work on advancing the cause of safety – a cause very close to my heart and yours, too, I know. Together, we need to guard against the unintended consequences of the new technologies and fuels adopted in the rush to decarbonise and the time to update SOLAS is surely upon us, so it is fit for an industry transformed by the demands of the energy transition.
“On behalf of the entire industry, Arsenio, I wish you fair winds and following seas. We are all relying on you. Success in our industry’s decarbonisation is a team sport and now we have a new captain!”
Earlier, at the ICS ‘Shaping the Future of Shipping’ conference during COP28, Wiernicki had spoken of safety as “a non-negotiable boundary condition” of shipping’s energy transition and adoption of alternative fuels and propulsion systems, saying it could act as a catalyst for decarbonisation innovation.