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World Shipbuilding Associations Address Commercial Fleet Safety

On October 2, in Kyongju, Korea, several international shipbuilding associations met to reaffirm joint support for international measures aimed at improving the safety and reliability of the world's fleet of commercial vessels. Organized as the Committee for the Elimination of Substandard Ships (CESS), representatives from the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA) and Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), as well as from the Association of European Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers (AWES) and the Korea Shipbuilders Association (KSA), expressed concern for the aging world fleet.

Main concerns, as noted by Rafael Gutierrez, CESS chairman, included the fact that the average ship age has increased from 14 to 17 years. A recent study demonstrated that older ships suffer significantly more casualties, and in some cases, older ships are being allowed to operate indefinitely without being brought up to modern safety and environmental standards.

CESS was pleased at the increasing number of inspections and detentions, and urged port state control authorities to be more thorough to ensure that detained vessels are prevented from sailing until required repairs are completed. CESS also requested that increased attention be given to machinery and structural problems, which are the major cause of casualty, loss, and pollution.

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