As you all know, Japan suffered the worst earthquake in its history on 11th March followed by a devastating tsunami.
Recovery slowly began and is progressing, but still we are passing through difficult times.
Over the past week, however, we have received an incredible amount of encouragement and support from around the world, and this has filled us with great hope and courage.
I would like to thank all of you, from around the world, for your support and assistance.
Now let me begin. It is an honour to address this prestigious gathering and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the organisers for permitting me to speak today.
The annual Connecticut Maritime Association conference, exhibition and gala dinner is a ust-attend event and this year attendance levels again bear eloquent testimony to CMA reputation as a networking forum. I am indeed very glad to note that the Chairperson and CEO of Navios group of companies, Ms. Angeliki Frangou, will become the latest in a list of illustrious figures to be named in this year Commodore Award.
IACS plays an incredibly important role in the development and implementation of new rules and regulations, such as the IACS Common Structural Rules, or CSR, for bulk carriers and tankers.
Last year, we have been pleased to welcome the Indian Register of Shipping into IACS as a new member.
Today, the 11 members of IACS are poised to make continued contributions to the global maritime industry.
As IACS Council Chairman since July last year, I have sought to ensure that IACS has been at the forefront, working alongside all elements of the maritime industry in implementing and applying new rules and revisions to existing rules, with the twin goals of pursuing maritime safety and protecting the maritime environment with professionalism and diligence.
I have targeted three major goals for my term as IACS Council Chairman.
– to make a positive and lasting contribution to the International Maritime Organization on technical matters
– to better reflect the needs of the global maritime industry, and
– to restate IACSâ€™ commitment to the European Commission and complete the transition to a more transparent IACS structure.
My goals have been to address the technical challenges faced by the IMO and others, and to ensure the development and implementation of IACSâ€™ technical regulations while taking into account of the needs and opinions of the maritime industry.
No preference can be given to any single region or industry.
I believe that good regulations are balanced regulations.
But how do we go about creating these?
There are a wide variety of stakeholders in the maritime industry including flag states, port authorities, ship owners, ship managers, shipbuilders, classification societies, insurers and research organisations.
With so many diverse interests, it is essential to balance all opinions and views in making and revising regulations.
Environmental regulations are on everyoneâ€™s agenda at the moment.
Regulations for NOx and SOx emissions from ships as well as new conventions regulating ballast water management and ship recycling have already been adopted.
The next major set of regulations will be aimed at reducing Green House Gas emissions and the IMO is debating technical, operational and market-based measures for reducing maritime GHG emissions.
The adoption of the IMOâ€™s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) scheme, as well as requirements for vessels to maintain a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), are scheduled to be debated as amendments to MARPOL Annex VI at the MEPC 62 meeting in July which will bring together leaders from the maritime industry, government officials and technical organisations including IACS.
In order to address the various issues raised by the EEDI implementation, IACS established a new Expert Group to provide the IMO with advice on EEDI calculation and certification methods, as well as safety concerns about EEDI implementation.
One way of improving a vesselâ€™s EEDI value is to reduce its speed, but because too much of a speed reduction would threaten vessel safety, the Expert Group has endeavoured to develop a minimum speed requirement for inclusion in the EEDI regulations.
IACS is helping to develop a guideline for EEDI implementation to ensure that the regulations are interpreted in the same way throughout the industry.
To ensure that the EEDI regulations are truly balanced regulations, IACS has established a Joint Working Group with representatives from shipbuilders, ship owners and other related organisations.
Classification societies are uniquely placed to take the lead in confronting the challenges posed by emissions.
Classification societies serve as a bridge between all sectors of the industry and will continue to do so in a highly visible and transparent manner.
We at IACS have a duty to ensure the work we do and the contribution we make at the IMO reflect the needs, opinions and aspirations of the global maritime industry.
I would like to see greater and lasting links between IACS and the maritime industry.
Since becoming IACS Council Chairman, I have made it my mission to provide even better service to customers through hard work.
Classification societies must take a leading role in addressing the challenges of Green House Gas emissions and protecting the environment.
Each classification society, individually and through IACS, will continue to provide top class services which may include research and development.
The international maritime community places a high level of trust in us and it is a trust which we shall never betray.
Distinguished guests. Thank you very much.