Α proactive and diligent approach to institutional developments for sustainable vessel operation
KeywordsSustainable shipping ; Due diligence ; Proactiveness ; International maritime institutional framework & policy ; International maritime law ; Maritime controlling bodies
Purpose of the research: This PhD thesis focuses primarily on assessing the impact of implementing the newly established policy of sustainability on the shipping sector and on creating a circuit with existing practices, integrating aspects from various shipping domains, that will ensure the effectiveness and continued implementation of this newly established policy in perpetuity. Alongside the gradual expansion of sustainable practices, other exogenous factors equally influence and cause upheavals in normal shipping practices. Those factors are i) technological development, ii) digitalisation iii) the expansion of Covid-19. Therefore, in parallel with evaluating the impact of sustainability, the effect of the above-mentioned exogenous factors on the expansion and implementation of sustainable shipping policies will be assessed. Furthermore, any possible correlation between recent legislative changes in maritime law with sustainable maritime policies will be examined and the possible future effects and changes that the expansion of the new policies may bring will be explored. Finally, there will be an evaluation of the maritime control bodies, their evolution, and their impact on sustainable shipping in terms of the expansion of its policies, but mainly in terms of their possible contribution to the continuation of implementing this newly established policy in perpetuity. Methodology: The doctoral dissertation is based on the research and study of legislation and relevant court decisions (legal doctrine) to draw conclusions and to make hypotheses, while integrating aspects of shipping management and maritime economics, to achieve a holistic and interdisciplinary approach. At the same time, a hybrid legal research model (based on American models of legal research) was implemented with: i)the investigation of an original central idea (combination of sustainability, with proactiveness and the duty of diligence), ii) the extraction of conclusions and original research ideas from each individual point of assessment, iii) the examination of the main institutions and laws which are affected or depended by sustainable policies, to achieve best implementation and the continuation of sustainable practice in perpetuity. Findings: As a result of the research, it appears that many existing newly established legislation and proactive measures have significant shortcomings, as they (i) act primarily in response to a phenomenon, (ii) have poor supervision by the competent authorities and, as a result, hinder the effective implementation of sustainable practices. It is therefore proposed that sustainability should operate in continuous correlation with the principles of due diligence and proactiveness, with the assistance of effective supervisory bodies. It is also concluded that achieving sustainability requires the application of the methodology of effective management systems and the enforcement of legislation, having installed preventive applications and supervisory bodies, combined with new legislation, practices, and technologies. As far as the international and national legal framework is concerned, despite the adoption of a more market-oriented attitude, a stance of proactiveness or implementation of practices directly assisting the development of sustainable maritime policy has not yet been adopted. Finally, with regard to the supervisory and control bodies of shipping, it is foreseen that P&I Clubs and port state control (PSC) will develop into key stakeholders, through which the implementation and maintenance of sustainable shipping policies can be achieved in perpetuity. Research Originality: Initially, the study of the newly established policy of sustainability and its ancillary practices is considered be original, given the exceptionally current legislation and practices that are gradually being implemented in order to expand and effectively implement the newly created policy. Also, an innovation is the coupling of legal concepts, such as the duty of diligence with concepts that are usually found in maritime management, such as that of proactiveness, which is also a requirement of the modern institutional framework in order to examine their possible impact on the sustainability of the shipping industry, through the creation of a circuit that will ensure the effective and continuous implementation of sustainable policies in perpetuity and with the assistance of the present supervisory bodies. Finally, the examination of the current developments in international and English maritime law to determine a possible correlation with sustainable policies, in combination with the examination of the above-mentioned external factors, enables a more in-depth evaluation to the research. Lastly, the thesis relies on an integrated research methodology, to provide a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to the research topics.