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Discussion paper on possible actions to combat substandard shipping by involving players other than the shipowner in the shipping market
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    While there is no single solution to prevent the operation of substandard vessels, there is certainly a sufficient number of international rules and regulations available to combat the phenomenon. The real problem lies with ensuring adherence to these rules and regulations. Consensus seems to exist that further efforts must be made to achieve long-lasting improvements in vessel operating standards by combating non-observance of rules and standards. However, opinions differ as to how this could be best achieved. This paper first discusses a number of related issues to be borne in mind when considering the need to involve industry players other than shipowners in the fight against substandard practices. Briefly, the paper examines: i) whether more regulation is likely to lead irresponsible operators to improve their standards; ii) the recognition that a gap exists between the perceptions held by OECD governments and some industry players of the commercial risks of substandard operations, and how to motivate sections of the industry into acknowledging that transparency of information can never be a substitute for a bias in favor of quality tonnage; and iii) acknowledgment that substandard shipping cannot be dealt with simply through an all-encompassing review of legal liability. The remainder of the paper addresses the potential roles of parties other than the shipowner in combating substandard shipping. It particularly focuses on financial institutions, insurance interests, Classification Societies and users of shipping services. It makes a number of suggestions on initiatives for further examination as to how these players might make a greater contribution to reinforce the importance of quality shipping, and thus drive substandard ships further towards the margins of the industry. 44 p.
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