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Maritime Industry Confronts Boatload of Environmental Challenges

American Shipper

Keeping up in a world hurtling toward the dawn of the IMO 2020 mandate is the biggest challenge facing the maritime industry, according to Kathy Metcalf, president and CEO of the Chamber of Shipping of America.

In a discussion at the Women’s International Shipping & Trade Association (WISTA) International Annual General Meeting & Conference, Metcalf and other panelists addressed the many environmental challenges facing women — and men — in the maritime industry.


‘Walk the talk’

Enforcement of pollution-reduction mandates is a major challenge, according to Jeanne Grasso, a partner in the law firm of Blank Rome LLP.

“From the United States’ perspective, the Coast Guard has stated on numerous occasions that a level playing field is going to be a priority in enforcement actions. So does that mean civil? Administrative? Criminal?” Grasso asked. “It’s going to be whatever it takes to ensure that companies are not able to cheat on these requirements. So I think we’re going to see a lot of enforcement.”

A second challenge for Grasso is what she called the never-ending criminal cases in the United States related to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

“These cases have been going on for 25 years, and the irony is they’re not about pollution. They’re about the cover-up of pollution,” Grasso said. “My prediction is this is going to continue to happen the more regulation comes into place. Again, these relate to intentional misconduct, not mistakes. We’re not going to see criminal actions for mistakes but misconduct and cover-ups.”

Grasso said avoiding prosecution can be achieved through compliance and transparency.

"Maritime Industry Confronts Boatload of Environmental Challenges," by Kim Link-Wills was published in American Shipper on November 13, 2019.