For shipping to remain a facilitator of trade, a provider of jobs and a dynamic sector of the economy, the European Union must continue its role as a commercial heavyweight, the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) said in a mid-term review of the EU’s Maritime Transport Policy, presented at the European Shipping Week 2015.
In a statement co-authored with ECASBA, ETA, EuDA, CLIA Europe, Interferry and WSC, ECSA says that Free Trade Agreements are mutually beneficial to the EU and the shipping industry as they ensure the prosperity of the Union, by relying on the services of the industry.
Consequently, it is vital to keep the open seas secure and eliminate all threats of piracy and armed robbery that put human life as well as the global logistics chain at risk.
The EU institutions should also ensure a more efficient deployment of adequate Port Reception Facilities in all EU ports and facilitation of the seafarers’ movement from third countries within the Schengen Area, as well as other measures that allow the cruise industry and other sectors of the shipping industry to continue supporting the sustainability of coastal communities through trade and marine tourism.
Finally, special reference is made to migrants at sea, and in particular the recent events relating to the growing refugee and migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.
ECSA says that crews on commercial ships are not trained in humanitarian operations and ships are scantily equipped to deal with dozens or hundreds of distressed people, including women and children.
The shipping industry should not be relied upon to execute tasks and undertake initiatives that should be the sole prerogative of governments and international bodies, says ECSA.