Hong Kong’s strongest delegation attend ASA’s AGM

Front row: Jack Hsu, chairman of HKSOA and Sandy Chan, managing director of HKSOA with just a few of the Young maritime professionals who attended the ASA AGM

The Asian Shipowners’ Association held its 28th Annual General Meeting on 28th May in Bangkok, Thailand, hosted by the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners’ Association Thailand. Mr Bhumindr Harinsuit, the 28th ASA President, strongly urged members to continue to stay united so that Asia remains stronger together.

To prepare for the future, ASA is to establish a new S Committee – Shipping Young Executive Committee to take the ASA forward and to prepare for succession. Many young maritime professionals from Hong Kong were in attendance as part of Hong Kong’s strongest delegation of nearly 50 organised by the Hong Kong Shipowners Association and funded by Hong Kong’s Maritime and Aviation Fund.

The mental health of the world’s seafarers was highlighted by the ASA’s Seafarer Committee as a significant concern to be addressed by the industry. The ASA SC has come all out in support of shipowners providing internet connectivity for all seafarers. The ASA said the provision of internet connectivity may help manage the issue of mental health and was vital in attracting young seafarers.

Limitation of liabilityTrade affected by Unilateral actions

The ASA Ship Insurance and Liability Committee slammed both Spain and France for their unliteral decisions which are perceived as contravening the CLC and Fund Conventions, to which both states are members. The uncertainties caused by such decisions may result in substantial costs to trade with these countries,” the Asa declared.

The ASA SILC advocates the industry proposal for a unified interpretation of the test for breaking the shipowner’s right to limit liability under the IMO Liability Conventions already supported by 35 States. The ASA SILC also calls for international conventions to be upheld as the success of the compensation regime depends on uniformity and consistency of application.

Addressing the Sulphur Cap 2020 issue, the Safe Navigation and Environment Committee noted that when the IMO adopted amendments to MARPOL that could introduce a global sulphur cap – this was proof that the industry could govern itself with practical and progressive goal-based regulations.

“We are now a few short months from 1 January 2020, and whilst the ASA SNEC is confident that, in the long run, the shipping industry will eventually settle into a new equilibrium, a great deal of work needs be done in the time remaining.

“Fortunately, MEPC 74 met earlier this month and was able to demonstrate that it was up to the task of addressing most of the issues facing the industry, such as concerns over testing standards for compliant fuel.

“There will undoubtedly be issues that crop up over the next few months and shipowners are concerned about the complex operational challenges and increased risks they may face post 1 January 2020. Nevertheless, the ASA SNEC is confident that the industry, working closely with their respective maritime administrations, the IMO and other stakeholders, will be able to navigate the future together,” the SNEC concluded.

The more serious threat of trade wars was addressed by the Shipping Policy Committee, which reiterated its serious concern over the implications of intensified trade frictions and protectionism developments.  Trade-restrictive measures such as import restrictions and cargo reservation policies on the international transportation of energy products, raw materials and any others, would have negative impacts not only on the shipping industry, but also on the sustainable development and efficiency of a global economy, the SPC insisted.  In this respect, the ASA SPC emphasised the points referred in the global shipping sector position papers, jointly produced earlier this month by ASA, ECSA and ICS, to support free trade principles and rule-based multilateral international trading system.

Finally, The Ship Recycling Committee called once again for need for prompt enactment of the Hong Kong Convention, to increase the number of compliant yards available. The Convention is the only effective measure to regulate environmentally-sound recycling of ships globally.  The ASA SRC said it  welcomed the series of ratifications this year by Turkey, The Netherlands, The Republic of Serbia, Japan, Estonia and, most recently, Malta, which moves the world closer to the full enactment of the Hong Kong Convention.

“Asia is the main arena for ship recycling, building and operations.  Therefore, the ASA urges both China and India to promptly ratify the Convention as a key to satisfy the required conditions towards its enactment, for the protection of the global environment. The ASA will endeavour to motivate ship recycling associations in South Asia through regular dialogue, and encourage improvement of ship recycling and operational standards to achieve the earliest possible ratification by these countries, the SRC concluded.

As part of the Asa proceedings David Parmeter, vice-president of ASA and chairman of Maritime Industry Australia Limited, was elected as the 29th ASA President. Captain Anoop Kumar Sharma, chairman of the Indian National Shipowners’ Association was elected as the vice-president of ASA. The next ASA AGM will be held in Darwin, Australia.

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