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USCG Rear Adm. Thomas addresses HELMEPA event in Piraeus

Increasing capacity, reducing vessels’ environmental “footprint” and dealing with the growing complexity of legislation both on the IMO and domestic levels, are the three main challenges facing the global shipping sector over the next few decades, US Coast Guard Rear Adm.  Paul F. Thomas told participants at a HELMEPA event this week.

Thomas, who is the assistant commandant for prevention policy, presented developments and the future of shipping, as shaped after the 97th session of MSC of IMO.  

In terms of environmental requirements, he noted that technology now allows ship masters and authorities to monitor every waste stream exiting a vessel, as well as technology to reduce the waste.

Moreover, he provided a detailed presentation on implementing ballast water management systems, a recent requirement that has generated heightened criticism in the shipping sector due to higher expected costs. He warned that not every system works for every ship, while in addition to installation, operators have to provide for crew training and a relative contingency plan.

He also discussed air emissions and the sulphur cap of 2020 as well as e-Navigation and cyber security.

Finally, the USCG admiral referred to Qualship 21 and the significance of having the Greek flag within the program.