Shipping needs a “King Arthur-style” round table of many relevant bodies to fully represent its views at international level and “do it justice”, InterManager’s President Mark O’Neil said during the association’s Annual General Meeting this week.
Highlighting the shipping industry’s distant position in relation to important global events such as the recent COP26 environmental discussions, Mark O’Neil, InterManager President and CEO of Columbia Shipmanagement, said shipping’s arena seat is ‘in the gods’ and we need to be ringside. “We need to control the narrative and be involved. InterManager is crucial to that voice.”
One year into his term of office, Mr O’Neil reported an increase in membership but stressed InterManager plans to grow even more. This year InterManager – which is celebrating its 30th anniversary – has “shouted more loudly as an association and gained much more recognition,” he informed the well-attended meeting which took place in-person in Cyprus with other InterManager members around the globe joining online.
He stated that third party ship and crew managers, who today employ 90% of the world’s seafarers, are well-placed to “drive the debate”. “I’m fed up with others taking the lead. We need to have opinions on important issues to serve our members and our respective crews,” he said.
During his President’s Address, Mr O’Neil, who will serve until autumn 2022 in his first term of office, outlined InterManager’s ongoing activities, highlighting the association’s crucial membership of the industry Covid-19 vaccination taskforce, it’s pivotal role in ensuring that seafarers around the world are recognised as keyworkers, and it’s life-saving campaign to improve the onboard provision of medical oxygen on ships.
Mr O’Neil also updated the meeting on the progress of InterManager’s new Shipmanagement Standard which aims to ensure and enhance quality standards across the sector.
He said it was important for ship managers to demonstrate to the world “that we are a highly professional group of companies”. Members are considering a first draft of the new Standard which will be implemented throughout the InterManager membership. It looks set to give members a competitive edge by demonstrating verifiable standards across a range of areas of operation, while setting out a recognised path to success.
The meeting concluded with a dynamic debate on environmental concerns and shipping’s role in meeting climate change targets. Speakers included Alastair Evitt of V.Ships, who is a former InterManager President; Sunil Kapoor of Fleet Management; David Furnival of BSM; Capt Eugen Adami of Mastermind; Capt John Albrecht of SCF Management Services; Sotiris Raptis of ECSA; as well as Captain Kuba Szymanski, InterManager Secretary General, and Mark O’Neil.
Mr O’Neil enthused: “Managers are at the heart of this debate because we interact with all aspects of the shipping industry.”