The Netherlands to Use IMO Seat to Focus on Safety in Shipping

The Netherlands has been elected as a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council. ‘With this important seat, the Netherlands can keep safety high on the agenda so that we can make sound agreements about it worldwide,’ says Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management).

‘All ships calling at our ports must be safe, as must the 250,000 ships that sail along the Dutch coast each year,’ adds Van Nieuwenhuizen. ‘The fact that we have a lot to gain from this seat is on everyone’s mind after the container disaster off the Wadden coast (MSC Zoë – ed.) at the beginning of this year. We also need to address other issues, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions, internationally. In this way, we can also showcase the Dutch initiatives for greening shipping.’

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen has actively promoted the Dutch candidacy. The Netherlands will now hold the seat for the next two years.

Focus on Reducing Emissions

The IMO is responsible for international rules for shipping at sea. Over the past two years, the emphasis has been on agreements to make the shipping industry more sustainable, in line with the Paris climate agreement. In 2018, the member states agreed that CO2 emissions should be reduced by fifty per cent by the year 2050 (compared to 2008). The shipping industry now emits approximately 2.5 per cent of all greenhouse gases worldwide.

The coming year will largely be dominated by agreements on how to achieve this reduction in emissions from seagoing vessels. The Member States are now working within the IMO Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on proposals as to how this reduction in emissions can be technically implemented in practice. Parts of the Dutch Green Deal for clean inland shipping and ocean shipping serve as successful examples in this respect.

Picture: Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen at the Oosterscheldekering (by Rijksoverheid).

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.