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Ship owners need more than a warning

(Posted on 26/02/19)

Ship owners need more than a simple warning from regulators as new rules affecting global shipping operations come into play – they need stronger support, according to Panos Kirnidis, CEO of Palau International Ship Registry (PISR).

“My frequent talks with ship owners throw up the same points at every meeting: the value that they place on the interactions and work we do for their captains and crew members. This centres on our support for them when dealing with Port State Control Officers (PSCO) and with the advent of the IMO’s global sulphur cap commencing January 2020. Ship owners, operators and managers want more than warnings – they want support and the tools are already here to help them.”

With the IMO’s global sulphur cap coming into effect on January 1 2020, Panos Kirnidis sees the pressures on ship owners increasing as they strive to achieve compliance with the new regulation.

“The global sulphur cap is just another pressure on ship owners and also captains and crew and we need to recognise that many operators in the shipping world need people they can talk to and advice that keeps them sailing. From the start of 2020 the involvement of PSC in fuel related matters could see a significant rise in detentions if non-compliance with the IMO sulphur cap occurs. This is adding further risk to operations and a worrying prospect in the short-term for many ship owners. In an age of digital transformation we need to provide owners and operators with smart technology. In 2017 we launched our unique Deficiency Prevention System (DPS) which is a dedicated service providing support to prevent deficiencies and detentions causing serious implications with PSC. We operate a dedicated department within PISR which monitors the location and destination of the Palau flagged vessels and analyses with over 93% confidence their risk performance and priority for inspection by a PSCO. These inspections naturally place the captain, the crew and the owners under great pressures. We believe these pressures are often counter-productive and as a registry that is heavily invested in digital operations, we have taken steps to ease these burdens.”

Palau International Ship Registry was one of the first registries to acknowledge and move towards creating a smarter ship registry operation. Panos Kirnidis sees PISR as leading the way in working more closely with ship owners as they come to terms with new regulations.

“Our role is to support the vessels in our fleet and ensure they remain within the parameters of global maritime regulations. But we also appreciate that continuing threats are no way to keep the industry in check. We don’t believe this is a productive way to keep the shipping world moving. Our view is that we need strong regulations and penalties but these should be supplemented by equally strong support from regulators and ship registries. With DPS we can monitor and screen operations without disturbing ship owners or managers until the moment we appoint a Flag State Inspector (FSI) to attend the ship and assist the master and the crew for preparedness prior the PSC attendance. This is how to support those involved in any inspection and we also can remain onboard during the PSC inspection. As a responsible registry we have a duty to keep our fleet moving in the right way.”

Panos Kirnidis suggests that some ship owners see PSC and the IMO in slightly negative ways and regard them as regulatory policeman and often the cause of their financial and operational problems.

“At Palau we see these bodies as important and necessary to keep the shipping world moving and in line with global safety, environmental and political considerations. Our work as a ship registry is in support, guidance and development for the vessels in our fleet. Ship owners need a shoulder to lean on because in this inter-related world of commerce conditions change and often quickly. At Palau we believe that smart operations will lead to smarter industry and one where support is a better tool than a red card warning.”

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