Cost savings stemming from non-compliance with international environmental regulations in the maritime sector
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Cost savings stemming from non-compliance with international environmental regulations in the maritime sector

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    According to one recent study, the illegal discharge of oil into the sea through routine operations is equal to over eight times the Exxon Valdez oil spill ? every year. Oil pollution is not the only environmental impact stemming from maritime transport. Garbage and sewage discharges, air pollution, ecosystem damage stemming from hull coatings and the devastating impacts generated by the introduction of intrusive non-native species through ballast water discharges are all addressed through a comprehensive international regulatory framework negotiated at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Most ships and shipowner/operators actively seek to comply with this body of environmental regulations. The real problem lies with a relatively small percentage of vessels and owners that persist in consistently operating their vessels in full contravention to the IMO's body of environmental regulations. Given a compliance rate of 85% to 90%, that still leaves potentially 5 000 to 7 500 substandard commercial vessels polluting the seas through their noncompliance with international environmental regulations. Worse , savings derived by not complying with the IMO's regulations leads to lower operating costs that can be used to derive an unfair advantage in the notoriously competitive ship charter market. When added to the cost savings derived by not complying with international safety and crewing requirements, a substandard operator can substantially undercut quality vessels. This report examines the the unfair commercial advantage afforded to substandard shipowners who fail to comply with international environmental regulations that apply to their ships. Tables, figures, 53 p.
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