SHANGHAI, CHINA— At a recent Senior Maritime Forum held in conjunction with Marintec China 2011, Clay Maitland called for marine environment protection as “an essential strategy for corporate risk management”. As NAMEPA’s (North American Marine Environment Protection Association) Founding Chairman, Maitland told the over 400 senior Chinese leaders that “Clean seas are good business”.
“In these times of economic pressure, rising insurance costs, and growing regulatory pressure, no shipowner, or charterer, should neglect its risk management procedures,” urged Maitland. “One lesson of the Erika, Prestige, Cosco Busan and other recent oil spills is that the cost, to owners operators and charterers, of damage to the marine environment is by no means proportionate to the amount of oil spilled. So-called ‘strict liability’ rules, regarding damages, mean that even if a ship’s owner or operator is not directly at fault, the facts—political and legal—are that a ship operator’s liability for environment harm will most likely be considerable, virtually unlimited, and, in the U.S., ‘strict’– that is, liability regardless of actual fault.”
Citing the need to minimize human error both on board ships and ashore, Maitland offered suggestions to the shipowning community as part of an “Orientation to environmental excellence” and the promotion of safety at all times:
- HIRING QUALITY PERSONNEL
- TRAINING IN ACCORDANCE WITH A FORMAL TEACHING SYSTEM
- THE IDENTIFICATION OF PROBLEMS
- REWARDING ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AND SAFETY PERFORMANCE
- EMPHASIZING THE NEED FOR WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE BAD HABITS, AND CORRECT MISTAKES
Maitland further urged the audience to avoid “Beancounter-ism”.
“You must also be able to assess the adequacy of your safety and environmental budgets. This means spending money now, in order to save more later. Your financial controls must take this into account, and since “it is all about people”, your finance staff, themselves, must affirmatively subscribe to specific quality, safety and environmental goals. The budget process must be everyone’s business, and any inadequacies or shortfalls must be resolved before the expense of an oil spill or other loss occurs.”
The Senior Maritime Forum was sponsored by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China, along with the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. The Forum included environmental, shipbuilding, ship finance and offshore sessions. It was held in tandem with Marintec China 2011, which attracted over 60,000 visitors to an exhibition which is one of the largest maritime events in the world.
About the North American Marine Environment Protection Association
Officially launched in 2007, NAMEPA is a maritime industry-led initiative which engages businesses, government and the public to “Save our Seas” by promoting sound environmental practices and welcomes members who share this mission. For more information, visit namepa.net.