UGS pledges support for global CO2 solution

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Greek shipowners have reinstated their intention to follow the directives of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on issues pertaining to environmental regulations and have emphasised their decision to work hard so that any new policy will be fully embraced by the global maritime community.

The IMO should be the sole body authorised to dictate environmental policies for the shipping industry which will be adhered by Greek shipowners, according to the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS), who represent 17% of the global marine sector.

Speaking at a press conference during the final day of Posidonia 2008, UGS President Nicos Efthymiou said Greek shipowners would wholeheartedly support any IMO initiative designed to curb the industry’s CO2 footprint.

“The CO2 footprint of shipping is by far smaller than any other sector in the transportation industry, yet we are determined to contribute anything we can in order to identify solutions capable to further help the environment for the future generations,” he said. “We want solutions which will reduce our emissions, but solutions which will be universally accepted and implemented. We don’t want solutions that will force only certain countries or regions to adopt them because that would create unfair competition. We believe that only the IMO can introduce solutions that will be immediately applicable and won’t interfere with international trade norms.”

Efthymiou also said that the UGS is about to launch an educational campaign aimed at attracting young Greeks to seek employment opportunities in shipping. “There are not enough Greek officers to man the rapidly expanding Greek-owned fleet and this campaign is designed to highlight the benefits of our industry and way of life as a means of making it more appealing to the new generation. In the last 18 months, 127 vessels have joined our fleet but the number would have been higher if we had had a capable number of Greek officers to man them. Without Greek officers, we will lose our know-how, expertise and eventually our traditional love for the sea. Our friends from the Far East would stand to benefit from this development because their shipping industry is blossoming through continuous investments in education and training,” he said.