The HELMEPA-US Coast Guard (USCG) collaboration has grown closer and more systematic, following the visit of a delegation of HELMEPA member-company representatives to the USCG Headquarters in Washington DC on Monday, 25 November 2013.
The objective of this longstanding cooperation between the two organizations is to enable volunteer HELMEPA member-vessels, companies and seafarers to continue to be able to maintain their high level of performance, all the while adhering to the requirements of inspections conducted in the US. Furthermore, this synergy aims to provide solutions to the problems encountered during a vessel’s stay in and during operations across the country’s ports.
RDML J.A. Servidio, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, chaired the meeting with HELMEPA Director General, D. C. Mitsatsos in the role of Rapporteur. The discussions took place with the participation of:
CAP J.C. Burton, Director of Inspections and Compliance
F.J. Sturm, Deputy Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards
CDR R.E. Holmes, Director of Prevention Policy
CDR M. Zamperini, Chief, Division of Foreign & Offshore Compliance
CDR R. Allain, Office of Environmental Standards
ΑNDRIAKI SHIPPING, Ms. P. Chryssanthi
CHANDRIS HELLAS, Mr. N. Kampouris
CLEOPATRA SHIPPING, Mr J. Couloucoundis
COSTAMARE SHIPPING, Capt. J. Drakogiannopoulos
DANAOS SHIPPING, Messrs I. Ladas and F. Giourntas
DYNAMARINE, Mr. A. Glykas
EURONAV SHIP MANAGEMENT, Mr. P. Pippos
SPRINGFIELD SHIPPING, Ms. V. Barka
HELMEPA, Ms. C. Prekezes and Mr. S. Volakis
The meeting began with a presentation on HELMEPA’s philosophy and aims, the Association’s evolution over time, the participation of Greek officers in its refresher training programs as well as its partnerships with Maritime Authorities and International Organizations.
The items of the jointly constructed Agenda included the following elements, which are of particular interest to HELMEPA members:
- Pollution prevention from ships – Management of ship’s sewage in US waters – Availability of reception facilities at ports across the US – Alternate Management Systems for ballast water treatment – Vessel General Permit specific requirements
- Safety and Security Inspections-Port State Control and especially those that take priority over lightering operations or loading/unloading of oil –Interaction between Master and Port State Control officers – Uniform implementation of inspections procedures in the US – Standards for access to ships in port – Repatriation of seafarers
- Safety of navigation in the US – Underkeel Clearance in channels and rivers – Availability of electronic maritime navigational publications
- Incentives for HELMEPA member-vessels with Qualship 21 certification
- The conditions and risks involved of refueling in the Gulf of Mexico
- Enforcement of the requirements of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS)
In summarizing the above discussions, RDML J. A. Servidio said that the issues raised and the questions posed were legitimate and he urged member-companies to send reports of any discrepancies to the USCG through HELMEPA so that they may be addressed. In addition, he stated that he is awaiting proposals for further incentives for those good operators-members of HELMEPA who are also Qualship 21 certificate holders.
It was commonly accepted that the initiative taken of holding these meetings between the USCG and HELMEPA was a success and they are set to continue, given that this first meeting proved that the open exchange of views is useful and productive in working towards mutually acceptable solutions to facilitate maritime commerce.
In concluding the proceedings, Mr. Mitsatsos presented RDML Servidio with HELMEPA’s emblem in commemoration of the meeting.