Asian engineers gather at Shipbuilding Forum [2007/12/19]
Asian Shipbuilding Experts’ Forum at the Museum of Maritime Science
On November 15 and 16, Tokyo’s Museum of Maritime Science, hosted the first Asian Shipbuilding Experts’ Forum, an event where regional shipbuilding engineers discussed international technical maritime regulations. The forum, which was supported by The Nippon Foundation, brought together 40 participants from South Korea, China, India, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia, as well as 90 from Japan. The purpose, in their words, was to “reflect the voice of Asian nations—which account for 90% of all newly-build ships worldwide—in international regulations.”
The international shipbuilding and shipping industries recently reviewed and revised maritime regulations, setting goal-based standards (GBS) for new ship construction and standards for ballast tank coatings. The new regulations and standards are having significant repercussions on shipbuilding design and construction, and have led to amendments to International Maritime Organization (IMO) treaties, generating considerable controversy. Asian nations have expressed deep frustration that such revisions do not reflect their views on technical issues, even though they compose the overwhelming majority of the worldwide shipbuilding industry.
Thus, the Japan Ship Technology Research Association (JSTRA), working in cooperation with representatives of the South Korean and Chinese shipbuilding industries, established the Asian Shipbuilding Experts’ Forum. This forum is intended to provide Asian shipbuilding engineers with a chance to create a common policy platform and speak with a unified voice. This first forum, which enabled participants to enhance mutual understanding through discussion, strengthened Asia’s community of engineers, thus increasing their standing in the international community. (Photo:A lively question-and-answer session)
Three themes were examined: GBS, ship recycling, and ballast tank coatings. Following presentations by delegates from Japan and South Korea, participants were invited to express their own views. A number of pressing issues were identified, such as differences in the understanding of international standards between the shipping and shipbuilding industries, and concerns about the dramatic rise in costs resulting from unilateral introduction of standards. (Photo:Participants exchanging views during a break)
Following two days’ discussion, the forum adopted the Asian Shipbuilding Experts’ Forum Framework to express their views to the international community, and to promote maritime safety and environmental protection through shared knowledge. A proposal to hold the forum annually was accepted; next year’s forum will be held in South Korea. Also approved was a proposal to explore establishing an NGO with consulting status at the IMO.