Follow the Money

The water portion of this world of ours is huge. The oceans are miles and miles wide and miles and miles deep. During World War II thousands of oil-laden vessels were sunk – more than a hundred right off our East and Gulf Coasts, in fact – yet the waters bear no trace of the millions of gallons of “polluting” fuels that have been leaking into the seas ever since that conflict. So why should we be so concerned about the alleged environmental threats from a relative handful of cargo ships?

There’s a simple answer. It’s just another hoax/smokescreen setting up the transfer of money from gullible people to international hucksters. And we’re talking big time money.

“The SHIPPING Tribune” reported recently that the ICS (International Chamber of Shipping) has been demanding impact studies on all “eco” rules, and Peter Hinchliffe, the ICS Secretary, has insisted that there must be no more stringent environmental regulations for shipping without cost benefit analyses. He criticized methods of introducing measures such as mandatory low sulphur bunker fuel use and ballast water treatment equipment, which he said will cost shipping $ 500 billion.

According to London’s Lloyd’s List, new low sulphur fuel regulations have thrown the shipping industry into a dilemma over the most cost-effective way to reduce sulphur from exhaust fumes. Scrubbing technology fitted on board is an option, but at a cost of $ 1 million per vessel. Another option is filling the ship with low sulphur diesel, but questions arise over the availability of the fuel and its cost.

The requirement to fit new ballast water treatment equipment is another cost. Although the convention has not yet been passed and put into force, the equipment will cost $ 1 million to $ 5 million per ship.

No more regulations should be devised without thorough cost benefit analyses and impact assessments, he said. In this way the industry will be able to mitigate “any future tidal waves” of environmental regulation. The issue is critical, he added, because shipping companies continue to face low earnings in a market bloated by too many ships competing for business.

Forgettabout it, said the International Maritime Organization (IMO). It ain’t gonna happen.

“ICS has not given up, and we will bring the issue back to IMO next year,” said Mr. Hinchliffe. The enormity of these regulations and their impact on shipping, and indeed, the world economy as a whole, should not be underestimated or swept under the carpet, he added.

Just who are these folks who wield so much power? An out-and-out refusal to conduct studies into the justification for costly modifications to cargo vessels? One is led to suspect that behind-the-scenes officials in the IMO are the very ones who will provide low sulphur bunker fuels, ballast water equipment and scrubbing equipment to the faltering industry. Wanna make a bet?