ISSA Secretary explains why cooperation is vital and will remain at the heart of ISSA

London, UK, 13.04.2023, 08:43 Uhr

Sean Moloney

Collaboration and cooperation is important to ISSA and OCEAN

ISSA Secretary explains why cooperation is vital and will remain at the heart of ISSA

Sean Moloney, ISSA's Secretary, explains why ISSA's decision to admit shipowners and ship management companies as Honorary Members is a significant and strategic move. Read why it accentuates the significance of dialogue and cooperation between suppliers and purchasers as we all strive to achieve an efficient and effective procurement operation, future-proofed for the coming months, and assist each other in complying with IMO environmental regulations.

A cursory glance at the booths and exhibition stands populating IMPA in London every year clearly shows the influence of ISSA and OCEAN members with the world’s buyers and purchasers. The buyers milling around the various stands every year are there to meet the suppliers and are acutely aware of the importance of the ISSA logo and the quality of membership that’s shines through as a result.

This was the ethos behind the decision of the ISSA President Saeed Al Malik to develop an Honorary Membership Category within ISSA. As an international trade association, ISSA is highly respected and owners and managers see the value in working with ISSA and its members. They, like us, want a sustainable global quality ship supply industry, and they are willing and prepared to work together to achieve this. Such a result is win:win all the way through.

Welcoming shipowners and ship management companies into ISSA as Honorary Members is an important development and strategy as it underlines the importance of dialogue and cooperation between suppliers and buyers as we all strive to achieve an efficient and effective procurement operation, future-proofed for the months and years ahead, and help each other comply with IMO environmental regulations.

But the cooperation doesn’t stop there.

Early last year, ISSA used its position as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) at the International Maritime Organization to call on its fellow international shipowner organisations to help in the effort to clarify confusion surrounding who is actually responsible for the Material Declarations as part of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials. INTERCARGO, whose members own and operate the world’s dry bulk carriers, was quick to respond and included ISSA in a high level working group of other IMO NGOs, to draw up much needed industry guidelines. All discussed, developed and completed within a year. Another example of the power of cooperation.

In a strange round about sort of way, this brings me onto the important subject of health and wellbeing.

When a medical emergency occurs on board a vessel, the immediate help – often rendered by a fellow seafarer who is not a medical professional – is crucial. For this reason, vessels are required to carry the ‘latest version’ of a medical guide on board that should explain in detail, what medical action needs to be taken in the event of an accident. But what does a ship owner or shipmanager do when the latest international medical guide is more than 10 years out of date? And, equally as important, what medicines should a vessel have stored up-to-date, in its medical chest?

Realising the situation, the International Chamber of Shipping, which looks after the interests of 88% of the world’s shipowners, tapped a team of medical experts more than a year ago and began creating a new, easy-to-use, practical guide to address shortfalls in the current international medical guides in circulation, which were found to be out of date (the most commonly carried guide dates to 2010), not practical enough, or written for seafarers in particular regions of the world.

The result: In March, ICS published the landmark book, International Medical Guide for Seafarers and Fishers, First Edition, in collaboration with the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the International Maritime Health Association. The guide’s content includes the latest medical knowledge on all injuries, illnesses, and health issues experienced on ships and fishing vessels.

The guide includes chapters devoted to: injuries and traumas, such as head trauma; eye injuries; neck and spinal damage; wounds and bleeding; burns and bites; pain management; moving an injured person; and treating mental health issues.

But, in putting it together, the ICS looked to ISSA and the ISSA Ship Stores Catalogue, in particular, to act as a reference point for shipowners and managers wishing to restock their all-important medical chests. They acknowledged the important role that ISSA and its members play in supplying medical supplies and immediately opened up the dialogue.

Global shipping is made up of hundreds of individual parts, whether geographic or sectoral, but they succeed because they work together. Charterers need the owners and their ships, the owners need the managers, in-house or third party,  to manage their ships and drive value to their bottom line, and the managers and operators can’t sail their ships without the suppliers. This is all against a backdrop of a changing regulatory environment, influenced by decarbonisation, digitalisation, geopolitics, and changing trade demand patterns.

Cooperation is vital and is here to stay and ISSA will remain at its heart.