Rules and regulations – love them or hate them

Rules and regulations seem to be very much the flavour of this month. The three recent ones I’d like to draw your attention to particularly and mention in a bit more detail are the looming EU General Data Protection Regulation, International Maritime Organization’s strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships and the new Yacht Code under development by the Red Ensign Group. And whilst not all three launch this month, it is the fact that such diverse bits of regulation should be in the news together, reminding me of the wide range of skills a marine surveyor needs to master (or at least have a grip on) as business knowledge combines with technical knowledge and maritime regulation to potentially create the perfect storm. Many a marine surveying business has failed, not due to a lack of technical skills, but an inability to embrace core business management skills and the associated red tape.

Let me start with the new EU General data protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into force on 25 May. Quite simply, it is a major overhaul on the way a business gathers, stores and uses personal data. In view of the recent Facebook revelations that have shaken the world, most would say this is a good thing. Importantly, however, it is not just EU based organisations that will need to comply. So please be aware and understand your responsibilities.

The new Red Ensign Group (REG) Yacht Code, due for launch in 2019, seemed to pass me and others by too it seems. But teamwork between members of the REG and the industry as a whole has led to the creation of this new code. It was first rolled out to the marine industry in November 2017 at the Global Superyacht forum in Amsterdam. REG has taken into account all the expertise gained across almost two decades of regulating the large yacht sector since the first version was published by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency in 1997. I have commissioned REG to write in more detail about the new Yacht Code in the June Report magazine.

Nations meeting at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London recently adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, setting out a vision to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and phase them out, as soon as possible in this century. The strategy aims to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, while, at the same time, pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely during this century. Wow this is a real statement of intent, but can words be backed up by the necessary actions required to make this reality and at what cost to the marine industry? Only time will tell.

I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting IIMS members recently at a variety of events, including the first Inland Waterways Working group training session and the annual Western Med LYSCWG two day event in Palma.

And finally it is sad to announce the death of Hugo du plessis Hon MIIMS at the age of 94. He was one of the first to work extensively with fibreglass boats and leaves quite a legacy. His obituary is published in the news bulletin.

Survey well.

Mike Schwarz
Chief Executive Officer

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