The Quality Shipping Seminar 2000, held for the first time in Asia, has concluded with a call to the European Union to bring its proposed measures on shipping safety to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and not to unilaterally implement them.
Rounding up the issues raised at the two-day seminar, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore director-general Chen Tze Penn said: 'Such regional and unilateral regulatory measures might transfer the problem of sub-standard tankers to ports of the world outside the region.
'As the shipping industry is uniquely international it should be regulated by global standards.' The conference chairman also said most of the 200-odd participants from all over the world supported the motion that the IMO should be the forum where safety, pollution prevention and control standards affecting international shipping should be considered and adopted.
The need to speak with one voice and work under the umbrella of the United Nations agency comes in the wake of the Erika disaster, which prompted the unilateral action by the EU to seek the accelerated phasing out of single-hulled tankers.
This outcome from the conference pleased IMO secretary-general William O'Neill.
Mr Chen pointed out that public tolerance for shipping disasters had gone. There was a continuing need for the industry to put in more effort.