In the second part of a three-part interview with International Chamber of Shipping secretary general, Peter Hinchliffe, he offers his views on IMO shortcomings, cyber security and ICS representation in Asia.
The problem with IMO is…
A key issue for ICS is the marine environment part of the IMO (MEPC) and the safety part (MSC) are not speaking to each other. IMO tends to deal with issues in stovepipes. Environment sits in one stovepipe and safety in another. We are trying to make sure that the MSC has some kind of oversight of the safety aspects of the environmental regulations. But it is not easy to do this. It is very much a work in progress for us.
There are some shortcomings in the way that the IMO has produced regulation over the last ten years. There is too much stove piping between regulations. The result is the IMO drafts regulations without assessing what impact it will have on everything we already have in place.
Another shortcoming is that the IMO never takes ownership of a cost/benefit analysis or impact assessment of incoming regulation. At ICS we believe that is essential. Those are steps that I really want the IMO to take because I think over the last ten years the system has been exposed for the lack of IMO ownership of those aspects.
Navigational safety and cyber security
There are industry guidelines for cyber security in place. BIMCO took the lead on that but ICS has been heavily engaged in helping them to draft the guidelines.
Should there be regulation? We think not. The reason being once you go down a regulatory path you are stuck with the regulatory timelines. I hesitate to say that IMO is slow because I don’t think it is. When you are producing a consensus among more than 100 governments then of necessity it takes time to do that.
The fear is if you have a regulation where cyber will not stand still it is no good trying to regulate through an international governmental organisation. It is much better for the industry to produce its own guidance.
I tend to agree with the US, which believes cyber is part of the ISM. If you have a good safety management system it will include cyber and you have added bonus of being able to update that on a company basis as often as you want. To me that is the perfect solution.
In a sense there is a regulatory umbrella under the ISM Code but to have mandatory measures on cyber would be incredibly difficult and would always be out of date. The guidelines are good and have been well received by the industry, and we are happy with that.
ICS in Asia
We are exploring the opportunity of having a representative in Asia, and we expect to make a decision by September of this year. Again this is a work in progress. There are issues are as to how the best way to man it would be and what would be the right location.
We are sometimes accused of being Eurocentric. I refute that completely. We get huge amounts of input from our Asian members, particularly Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. But there is a visibility issue. If ICS has representation here in Asia it would extend its position as being the go to organization for international shipping as far as governments are concerned. If we had somebody here there would be a more direct link.
ICS has had a link with China for many years but it has been focused on employment affairs issues rather than the broader scope of technical issues. That link was mostly undertaken through COSCO. That link is no longer there. One reason for that is we are trying to create a space for the Chinese Shipowners Association.
Tomorrow, in the final part of this interview with Peter Hincliffe, he will reflect on a 17-year career at one of shipping’s most important organizations.