Norwegian-Japanese get togetherNews // June 6, 2003
At the round table conference aimed at reinforcing already strong ties between the shipping communities of the two countries, particular attention was given to the topics of global versus regional regulations, transparency of vessel and flag state performance, environmental issues and means of access for vessel inspection - all issues are currently high on the agenda of multilateral maritime fora.
Japanese interests control the world's second largest merchant fleet and Norwegian interests the third largest. As leading maritime nations the two countries have strong common interests to ensure that the international shipping industry is regulated under globally agreed rules.
Both sides emphasised that an increased unilateralism and regionalism would undermine the role of IMO. Both associations agreed to make their every effort to urge IMO member states to give due and diligent consideration to the EU proposals on tanker safety in order to ensure that new international regulations will be both practical and rational.
A prior aim of the two associations is to promote quality shipping and make the quality a competitive advantage. Global standards through IMO and their proper implementations are crucial elements to achieve this goal. The Model Audit Scheme for flag states being discussed in IMO will be an important step in the right direction.
Cooperation and innovation, particularly with respect to environmentally friendly ship designs, were also discussed.
A guest of honour at the conference was Mr Ansgar Gabrielsen, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry.