In a notably busy year, Interferry’s activities have continued to promote the influence and importance of both the association and the industry at large 

Over the past 12 months, Interferry has made significant progress in key areas through the great work of its Domestic Safety, Security and Regulatory committees; hosted another successful annual conference in Cancún; announced Hobart, Australia, as the location for its 2020 conference; elected a new chairman and three new directors to the Board; and welcomed 34 new members to the Interferry family.

Domestic Safety Committee In the increasing effort to improve ferry safety in the developing world, regulatory affairs director Johan Roos and two Domestic Safety Committee members – Dr. Neil Baird and Captain Nurur Rahman – took part in a workshop in Papua New Guinea in the spring, and followed up in November by attending the 2nd ASEAN Regional Safety Forum in Guangzhou, China.

Interferry has since applied to a third party charitable foundation for funding to study the Philippines ferry industry’s greatly improved safety performance over the past decade. The initiative aims to produce a ‘‘lessons learned” document to help other developing nations, and there is cautious optimism of receiving good news on the application early next year.

Security Committee Interferry’s Security Committee, comprised of specialists from across the ferry industry, held its inaugural meeting in Brussels in February. The importance of their work was marked by an appearance by the head of maritime security at the European Union (EU).

The committee quickly made its presence felt when France announced a blanket proposal to screen all passengers on ferry vehicle decks. Direct intervention by Interferry and others persuaded the French administration to drop its initial proposal in favour of a more risk-based approach on a terminal-by-terminal basis.

Interferry member CalMac Ferries hosted the committee’s second meeting in Scotland in June, when it was agreed that participating companies would share their security practices on a voluntary basis in an effort to advance security across the industry.

Recently the committee has been tasked with looking into the stowaway issue that is affecting many of the association’s members, notably in the Mediterranean region. This issue will top the agenda when FRS hosts the next committee meeting in Tarifa, Spain, early in the New Year.

Regulatory Committee As expected, the Regulatory Committee was extremely active throughout the year. Interferry voiced its concerns with the EU regarding the practicality of some aspects of its Fire Safety 1 studies. The committee will remain actively engaged on this issue pending publication of Fire Safety 2, which will be submitted to the IMO’s Ship Systems and Equipment Sub-Committee next year.

Meanwhile Interferry achieved a double success regarding the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).  In April the association won its argument with the IMO to gain a last-minute 20% positive correction to the calculation formula for ro-pax and ro-ro vessels. Then, in October, further lobbying enabled the avoidance of subsequent negative adjustments that the IMO implemented for various other vessel types in another last-minute decision. To be clear, Interferry completely supports the environmental objectives of the EEDI, but – as with other shipping sectors – needs to ensure that the measures are fair and practicable for the specific design and operational criteria of ferries.

The committee also remained active on the issue of Damage Stability in 2018. This paid dividends for the ferry industry with the IMO listening to arguments on the unique features of a ferry vessel and their subsequent adjustment of its formula. Members also continue to actively participate with the European Commission in the ongoing debate about the higher level of damage stability safety required for ferry newbuilds under the Stockholm Agreement or SOLAS 2020.

They are also addressing the EU Passenger Rights Directive in relation to ferry sailing cancellations and customer compensation due to the late shipyard delivery of a newly constructed vessel – arguing that a different standard is being applied to the ferry industry as opposed to the aviation industry.

In response to the IMO’s aggressive carbon reduction target, Interferry has agreed to engage more directly on this issue – particularly now that the possibility of mandating speed reductions to reduce emissions is gaining traction. While all in shipping want to be part of the climate change solution, it is crucial to arrive at an approach and timeline that supports the viability and economic health of the ferry sector.

Conferences – Cancún, London and Hobart Interferry’s first annual conference in Latin America took place in Cancún in October and was a great success, attracting 310 delegates and 432 participants from 29 countries and 178 companies. The Speakers Program theme of ‘‘Safety, Security and the Environment” proved to be very timely. The Orozco family and Ultramar were great hosts and helped attract new members from Central and South America.

Final arrangements for the 2019 conference are in place and Sean Collins from Thames Clippers is excited to welcome everyone to London next October. With a conference theme of ‘‘Innovation”, and with many of the shipping world’s key players at the doorstep of the conference hotel (the InterContinental London – The O2), the event will be extremely well attended and provide a great venue for networking and learning.

Earlier this year it was announced that Interferry’s 2020 conference is returning to Australia for the third time in what will be 46 years by then. Bernard Dwyer of TT-Line/Spirit of Tasmania and his team are looking forward to welcoming everyone to beautiful Hobart, Tasmania.

New chairman and board members During the October annual general meeting in Cancún, Interferry elected John Steen-Mikkelsen as its new chairman. The CEO of Danish ferry operator Danske Færger succeeds Mike Grainger, who completed his final term as a director. In addition, Bernard Dwyer, Anders Ørgård from OSK-ShipTech and David Sopta from Jadrolinija were elected as first-term directors. Thanks were recorded to Håkan Enlund and Alan Klanac for their dedicated years of service to the Interferry board as they completed their terms.

New Interferry members Finally, Interferry is proud to report that 34 new members have been welcomed this year. As with all Interferry members, the association asks that these companies are seriously considered as partners when conducting business – a key element of the association’s ‘‘Stronger Together” philosophy.