49th Annual Meeting European Tugowners Association

by Hans | June 18th, 2012

The European Tugowners Association (ETA), encompassing a membership of 82 towage companies in 21 European countries, gathered in Turku, Finland, for its 49th Annual Meeting and Conference hosted by Finnish member Alfons Håkans Oy.

The Annual General Meeting re-elected Mr Richard Knight from JP Knight Group to chair the Association for a further term of one year, which will permit him to prepare the 50th anniversary of the ETA which will be held in Opatija, Croatia, hosted by Jadranski Pomorski Servis in 2013.  Mr Torsten Holst Pedersen from Svitzer Scandinavia will again serve as the Deputy Chairman for the forthcoming working year.

High on the agenda of the Executive Committee Meeting as well as of the Annual General Meeting were the operating and environmental challenges faced by the industry, in particular the on-going Ports’ Policy review by the European Commission and the responses by the towage industry to climate change.

During the well-attended conference Markku Mylly, CEO of the Finnish Ports Association and most recently nominated as Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) made a presentation on “Finnish Port Developments and Sea Traffic scenarios in the Baltic Sea”.  He emphasized the significance of the on-going port policies in Russia, such as the project of Ust Luga and the influence on Finnish port operations of environmental challenges and of  the ice coverage in the waters in the  area.

Theresa Crossley, Head of EMSA Implementation Department, illustrated the efforts of the Agency to introduce appropriate regulations in the reduction of air emissions from ships within European territorial waters.

Pieter De Meyer, Policy Officer in DGMove’s unit dealing with Ports and Inland Navigation of the European Commission, announced the Commission’s forthcoming wide-ranging business survey regarding Port Services which should be instrumental in defining the Commission’s future stance on Ports’ Policy. He invited the ETA and its members to engage in the informative dialogue with the Commission on the status of the towage industry, its needs and position vis-à-vis market access and other issues. Following the launch of this initiative in June, a Conference will be held on 25th and 26th September upon the instigation of Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas, where the results of the consultation round among stakeholders in the maritime sector will be presented.

Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO), detailed the role and structure of port authorities together with the recommendations of ESPO. This “Manifesto” addresses port authorities, governments and the European Union, advocating independent port management to facilitate the removal of bottlenecks and warranting independence and good corporate governance.

Arnaud Rousseeu from broker Barry Rogliano Salles produced an overview of existing and projected ‘environmentally-friendly’ shipbuilding initiatives in the towage sector, from diesel electric to LNG in search of substantial reductions in emissions. He concluded that, taking into account the size of tugs and the cost of LNG propulsion, a hybrid propulsion scheme may be a first step to accommodate environmental constraints giving time for gas technology to mature.

The event was sponsored by Associate Members :
  • ABC (Anglo Belgian Corporation),
  • Damen Shipyard,
  • Redwise Maritime Services,
  • Sanmar Shipyard,
  • Schottel,
  • The Shipowners’ Protection,
  • TOS (Transport & Offshore Services).

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