Bravo, Liberian Registry!
Shipping does not need new regulations
Jun 27 2014
The Liberian Registry has called on shipping regulators to ensure the effective implementation of existing rules to protect human life, safety and the environment, rather than creating new rules and regulations.
Scott Bergeron, CEO of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry, the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, said, “It is the job of ship registries and other regulators to ensure the effective, efficient and practical implementation of rules and regulations.
“Unfortunately, the entire industry does not operate in this way. There are other regulators who are not enforcing the rules effectively and this is really troublesome because the result of ineffective implementation is yet more regulation. I think the industry already has enough regulations and creating new ones just as a political or public reaction to accidents is very short-sighted,” he said.
He said, “The ISM Code should be the last regulation from IMO, because every new requirement, whether political, environmental or safety-related, could be incorporated into ISM. We don’t need new conventions. We don’t need new regulations. What we need is for everything to be encapsulated in a single operating concept such as the ISM Code. And we need improved management and effective implementation and enforcement of provisions such as ISM.
“If all the measures needed to protect safety and the environment are in that one code, and if that code is effectively implemented and enforced, there will be no need for new regulations as a knee-jerk reaction to individual or collective incidents. Too much time, too much energy and too much expense has been wasted on new regulations. Let’s focus on the ones we have, and make sure they are working properly, rather than creating new ones,” he concluded.
This is a call which can be only applauded, it’s a rare case of a common sense going live and speaking loud. Regulations and conventions are a curse of the modern shipping. When I visit my friends captains I always get appalled by new requirements and regulations, issued by this or that authority or regulation body, and immediately circulated around for an immediate implementation. One Master demonstrated me DVDs he receives each coming year, full of old and new regulations. Everybody in sound mind understands the sheer impossibility of complying to each regulation, let alone following them. My guess is, at least 50 percent of everyday activity of vessels and crews is strictly speaking, illegal, because they have to ignore or violate most part of restrictions, regulations, requests and advises. Or else they won’t have time enough left to go on with their main job – shipping, i.e. sailing and transporting the goods. Well, even if they forget about their main job and engage themselves exclusively in complying with all the regulations, they won’t have time enough for that, not 24 hours, no. They’ll need some 36 or 48 hours daily, and still be behind in this mad race.
Why regulators print out more and more regulations, then? I see two reasons behind this insanity – first one is fear of responsibility. Each new accident, however rare in its’ circumstances, generates a new regulation. Operators and managers fear the consequences if anything of this kind happens on board of their vessels, so they invent and circulate a new regulation. If something bad happens, they’re innocent – they warned. Another reason, much stronger, is the pure nature of restrictions and regulations – each new restriction or prohibition is a source of power and money for those, who invent it, implement and control. It’s as simple as that.