20th, September, 2005

14th Annual Meeting of the Committee for the Elimination of Substandard Ships (CESS)

On 8th September 2005 the Annual Meeting of the Committee for the Elimination of Substandard Ships (CESS) (Renaming is suggested to match the new activities mentioned below but retaining the short form CESS) took place in Beijing, with representatives from the world’s major shipbuilding associations, Europe, China, Korea, USA and Japan. There was a change in chairmanship due to retirement of Mr. Rafael Gutierrez who steered the committee over the past ten years and the attendants first of all expressed their appreciation for his contribution.

The purpose of the Meeting was to firstly assess the pursuit of the fight against substandard ships, and to exchange views on what are the noteworthy observations for future action of the committee. Decline in deficiencies and detentions from Port State Control (PSC) have been seen in the past 12 months in Europe (Paris MOU) and in Asia (Tokyo MOU),thanks to the efforts of PSC activities, but the members of the Meeting were not convinced that the decline represents an ongoing trend, and concluded that further observation is necessary and invited the PSC activities to continue its further elaboration on fighting with the substandard ships.

The Committee assessed the bulk carrier and tanker safety aspects, and focused the importance on the fact that occurrence of a great majority of the maritime casualties are related to lack of timely inspections and maintenance. The Meeting concluded that the shipowners and class should engage in a more intense exchange of information with the shipbuilders enabling the shipbuilders to provide helpful suggestions to contribute to the improvement of the situation.

Further items discussed during the meeting included on-going issues at IMO, such as Goal-based new construction standards, Green Passport and Ship Recycling, as well as general questions regarding the relation between Shipyards and Classification Societies, Common Structural Rules and Performance Standards for Coatings. The Committee reconfirmed its general support on the intent of such moves and that the shipbuilders should positively contribute to their framework.

The Meeting however cautioned on the possibility of idealistic approaches being made without adequate attention on the aspects of practicality which may jeopardize the workability of any good idea and that these are specifically the points the shipbuilders could contribute.

Particular reference was made, among other things, on the necessity of risk-based requirements for Goal-based standards in order not to prevent innovation in design, construction or materials permitting the shipyards to use advanced technology, on avoidance regulatory activities used as commercial objectives, on the practical issues associated with the preparation and maintenance of the Green Passport, on issues relative to the implementation of the Common Structural Rules, and on the concerns of current direction in adopting the Performance Standards for Coatings because of its wide deviation from the practices prevailing in the industry.

In view of these considerations, the Committee concluded that, a substantial extension of the scope of its activities should be undertaken, aiming to express joint opinions on issues of common interests of the world shipbuilding industry. Particularly in the context of IMO activities, the voice of the shipbuilding industry requires reinforcement, which CESS aims to offer. The Committee decided to swiftly elaborate details as to its future operation and to announce them following the JECKU Top Executive Meeting in October.

For further reference or information, please contact:

Mr. Dave Iwamoto
CESS Chairman
C/o The Shipbuilders’ Association of Japan
1-15-16 Toranomon, Minato-ku
Tokyo 105-0001 Japan