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Wednesday, October 20, 2021 

At bulk trade organisation Intercargo's recent semi-annual meeting, Chairman Dimitris Fafalios said that now is the time to re-evaluate the image of the bulk carrier sector and recognise the commitment of Intercargo members to a safe, efficient, high quality and environmentally sound dry bulk shipping industry.

Bulk carriers employ hundreds of thousands of seafarers and carry more cargo deadweight to more diverse ports than any other shipping sector. They deliver essential goods even to the most isolated and distant ports and adapt their tramp trading patterns as demand dictates.

Fafalios said: “This is a complex global issue but there is no doubt that we are relying on properly vaccinated, mentally and physically fit seafarers to contribute to the solution. Universal commitments for collective action are imperative to resolve the seafarers’ humanitarian crisis and to keep global trade moving. Coordinating a worldwide vaccination programme for seafarers is an urgent priority. While the efforts of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and global maritime bodies must permeate every area of the shipping industry, urgent action outside the maritime sphere is needed by government leaders at the highest level, ultimately leading to the recognition of seafarers as key workers. We must hope that the global press coverage that we are seeing will facilitate that.”

Top of the agenda at the meeting was the need to urgently resolve the humanitarian crisis faced by seafarers under Covid-19. Other issues debated included initiatives for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the ESG agenda; the implementation progress of DryBMS as the quality standard for the dry bulk sector; the safe carriage of cargoes; bulk carrier design standards; the investigation of bulk carrier casualties; ballast water management; implications of the sulphur limit on fuels; and piracy threats.

Following a doubling of the Association’s membership during 2016-2019, the last 18 months has seen membership stabilised at historic high levels.

Secretary General Kostas G Gkonis said, “Intercargo’s badge of quality is widely recognised by the industry. We thank our members - comprising more than 220 forward thinking companies from across 30 different countries - for their continued support of our Association’s collective efforts for the benefit of our sector and in the service of societies at large.”

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