Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dubai Maritime City Authority Hosts Key Forum on Shipping & the Environment

As part of a series aimed at the maritime industry:
Dubai Maritime City Authority Hosts Key Forum on
Shipping & the Environment

March 16, 2009
Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMC Authority) launched its series of industry forums with the first covering shipping and the environment, which focused on the recent changes to regulation that the industry is witnessing on discharges by vessels trading in territorial waters around the world. 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. The forum, which was hosted by the Environmental, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) department at DMC Authority, comes as confirmation of the growing role of DMC Authority in monitoring and addressing the needs of the maritime industry in Dubai.

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

He further added by saying: “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 Heldewier.

The legal implications of the new regulations, the risks involved and how to minimize them were the topic of the second session presented by Alessandro Tricoli, Legal Consultant with the admiralty law firm of Fichte and Co., who explained: “The VGP is a global issue. The USA, EU, UAE and Japan are all looking at minimizing 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.”

The final session was on ISO14001/Corporate Social Responsibility and how it makes good business sense, which was presented by a speaker from Det Norske Veritas (DNV), Dr. Vijay Rao, DNV’s Lead Auditor and Trainer for the Middle East for corporate sustainability and strategy, who stated: “Whether unilaterally or collectively, shipping companies will use these processes to position themselves competitively within the market. Even more so with regard to investors as they demand greater consideration and evidence of engagement, which translates to effective management.”

The establishment of Dubai Maritime City Authority realises the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to create a fully integrated environment that supports the sustained development of Dubai's maritime sector and contributes to the development of the national economy.

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