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Shipping Industry welcomes bold ideas on future Ocean Governance from Global Ocean Commission

26 June 2014

Proposals to protect the world's oceans have been welcomed by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the principal trade association for merchant shipowners. ICS recommends that the Global Ocean Commission's (GOC) ideas should be taken seriously.

The GOC wishes to see a greater level of environmental protection, especially with respect to areas of economic activity, other than shipping, that currently may not be adequately regulated. Issues addressed in its inquiry report, launched in New York last night, include preserving global fishing stocks, preventing ongoing damage to ecosystems caused by land based industry and agriculture, and preventing the acidification of the sea.

ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe said: "The shipping industry is very fortunate in already having an established framework of global Conventions and rules that have been developed by the United Nations International Maritime Organization. For the most part these IMO rules are fully implemented and enforced worldwide and have directly contributed to the improvement of shipping's environmental performance. However, shipowners are global citizens who will share the GOC's concern about the vacuum that still exists with respect to wider governance and protection of the oceans."

Ideas set out by the Global Ocean Commission include the establishment of a stand-alone UN Sustainable Development Goal for the oceans, a properly resourced and mandated UN Special Representative for the Ocean, as well the creation of an independent Global Ocean Accountability Board. The GOC also suggests that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) should be updated, and that additional regulatory measures might need to be applied to the High Seas.

"The GOC's ideas merit serious consideration" said Peter Hinchliffe. "The successful model provided by the International Maritime Organization over the past few decades with respect to helping to improve the environmental performance of ships can no doubt be applied to other ocean activities such as fishing and land based industry. While governments - and industry - may well have legitimate questions about some of the more detailed proposals that have been made by the GOC, its ideas deserve proper analysis and need to be taken seriously."

The Global Ocean Commission (GOC) comprises senior political figures, business leaders and development specialists. The Commission's full inquiry findings can be found at www.globaloceancommission.org