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Your Excellency Secretary General,
Honourable Chair of the IMO Assembly,
It’s a great honour and privilege to address the Thirty Third Session of the IMO Assembly.
The presence of the leaders of the world’s maritime administrations guarantees inspired discussions and concrete decisions for the future of shipping.
We all share the fundamental responsibility for a safer, more sustainable and efficient shipping. And that the only way to do this is to trust and support this Organization.
For Greece, this Assembly is a great opportunity to reaffirm our dedication to the IMO as the sole authoritative regulator of international shipping. In the strongest terms.
Α global regulatory framework promoting fair competition is a premise for international shipping. Every decision we make within the IMO is a major step in this direction.
Our efforts should focus on striking the right balance. Between what the world needs and how the overall maritime chain can deliver it. Efficiently and cost-effectively.
We need to be pragmatic. And take into account costs and their effect on the most vulnerable. Over-regulation should be avoided and our decisions should be well assessed and workable.
Our industry has always faced challenges. And we always found ways to overcome them.
One of those is de-carbonization of shipping. Now is the time and IMO is the right place to engage in this discussion. The answer to the “how” is simple and straightforward: Through our full support to the rapid implementation of the revised 2023 IMO GHG Strategy.
By doing so, remember that regulation will only succeed if it is smart, fair and target the real polluter, while paying attention to the particularities of each shipping mode.
It’s also very important to create a predictable environment that will guide future investments in greener and more energy-efficient technologies. To ensure that these investments will reasonably pay-off.
We should work with a united spirit. Engage with and involve all actors: ship-owners, fuel producers, ports, charterers, engine manufacturers and shipyards. This is the only way to achieve carbon-neutral shipping by 2050.
But speaking of challenges, the first thing that should come to our minds is the human capital. Because seafarers IS shipping and vice versa.
We are all aware that there is already a significant gap between supply and demand of skilled seafarers which is expected to worsen. This seems to be at odds with the prospects of a well rewarding profession which guarantees a bright career in a flourishing sector.
Here, there is clearly a role for IMO and for its Member States together. We must do everything possible to address the root causes to:
- Enhance the image of shipping.
- Attract new generations at sea.
- Ensure seafarers’ safety worldwide.
- Improve their well-being, their skills, their recognition.
Safety of seafarers is paramount. Some recent incidents of attacks against ships must stop. Commercial shipping and innocent people on board are not a target! They must not be instrumentalized. Politically or militarily.
Our role, as policy makers, is four-fold:
- We need to inspire.
- We need to coordinate.
- We need to regulate and
- We need to enforce IMO rules.
I am really very proud to represent Greece which, although a relatively small country, is today one of the world’s largest maritime nations. With a tradition in shipping going back to the centuries.
Our aspiration to be represented in Category “A” of the IMO Council is, above all, a genuine reflection of our interest to work closely with all IMO Member States:
- To strengthen this Organization even more.
- To successfully meet the expectations of the international community. As it has done for more than 60 years.
This is the vision that we share with you today.
Let me close by stressing a key point:
Shipping must continue to be a main pillar in the pathway to sustainable global growth and prosperity. Shipping and its people, aboard and ashore, deserve this. It’s time to acknowledge this. In the most vivid way.
On behalf of the Greek Government, I express my wishes for every success to the Thirty Third Session of the IMO Assembly.
Thank you very much for your attention.