HELLENIC MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ASSOCIATION
Athens, 16 May 2005 9337/Annual Report 2004
Prof. Vladimir Torskiy
Head of Information & Consulting Centre
Odessa State Marine Academy
Dear Prof. Torskiy,
On 30 March 2005, the 23м Annual General Assembly of the Members of HELMEPA, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association, approved the 2004 Annual Report, copy of which we are forwarding to you on behalf of the Chairman Nikolas P. Tsakos and the Members of the Board.
Through the Report, you may be informed on HELMEPA's activities during last year. The voluntary training programs, which during 2004 paid specific attention to the issue of Security, together with those of Safety at Sea and Pollution Prevention, were given particular priority. Moreover, the cooperation of HELMEPA with many organizations in the country and worldwide, has been constructive towards the promotion of the Association's objectives, with special attention to the Mediterranean through HELMEPA, CYMEPA and TURMEPA. In the field of the synergy between children of the region, for the first time in 2004 a joint Children's Drawing Contest between HELMEPA and TURMEPA Junior took place besides the exchange of visits of children from the two Associations, to Greece and Turkey respectively.
I take this opportunity to thank you for your support to the effort of the Greek maritime community, which, since 1982, has been committed to HELMEPA's Voluntary Declaration "To Save the Seas".
Dimitris С. Mitsatsos
HELMEPA Annual Report 2004
by Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos
Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization
HELMEPA and its affiliated "MEPAs" set a fine example to us all through their worldwide efforts to preserve and protect the marine environment and this has continued during 2004 with imaginative and successful campaigning, including the HELMEPA annual poster competition for youngsters and other local activities.
HELMEPA has also emphasised its commitment to the International Maritime Organization's objectives of safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans, through its series of specialised training courses on maritime security for its members and seafarers. Efficiency of shipping, safety at sea, security and prevention of marine pollution are inextricably linked and IMO remains the forum for the adopting of the requisite instruments.
One of the HELMEPA highlights of 2004 for me was the fine example of using the sea as a bridge to unite and keep peoples together: Greek children cleaning up a beach in Cesme in Turkey and Turkish children reciprocating by cleaning a beach on the Greek island of Chios. This throws a new light on, and adds a new dimension to, the campaign to save the seas and preserve the beaches in a pristine condition - and, therefore, deserves a special mention. May the example of the Greek and Turkish children find followers, not only in the two countries, but in the entire world so that, together, we can ensure that our children and the children of their children are able to continue to enjoy a clean and healthy marine environment.
During 2004, a number of interesting events took place within the wider shipping industry, HELMEPA and certainly Greece, with the wonderful Olympic Games that made us all very proud.
At the beginning of the year, we saluted the undertaking of the leadership of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the first time by a Greek, Mr E. E. Mitropoulos to whom we wish from our heart every success especially during the present difficult times.
We dedicated half of the past year to the information of our members on the new Maritime Security measures, contributing in this way to their preparations for compliance with the ISPS Code by 1st July 2004. And we noted with particular satisfaction the very good evaluations written by those who attended our Maritime Security Program.
Equally satisfactory was the letter we received from our Associate Corporate Member Costamare Shipping Co. SA, in which they underlined the important contribution of HELMEPA's Training Programs to their vessels obtaining the US Coast Guard QUALSHIP 21 Certificate.
At the time when this publication went to the printers, more than 85 vessels managed by 31 HELMEPA Member Companies, had been certificated with QUALSHIP 21.
During 2004, the cooperation of HELMEPA with TURMEPA and CYMEPA was more productive than in previous years, as was emphasized by a joint meeting in Piraeus of the three Boards in which members of the Greek government participated.
Also strong was the presence of HELMEPA within the international community, through constructive cooperation with sectors of the European Commission, national delegations and staff of IMO's Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP/MAP)/the US Coast Guard, the academic staff and students of the World Maritime University (WMU), INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO/ the Green Award Foundation, as well as maritime circles in Middle East, Australia and Asia.
Unfortunately, during 2004 detentions and incidents involving HELMEPA members were reported by MoUs, without though causing marine pollution. It is indeed sad that deficiencies that could easily have been avoided tarnish the image of the proactive voluntary efforts of HELMEPA members initiated 23 years ago.
The end of the year included happier news for the industry and seafaring profession as the master of T/S Prestige was finally permitted to spend Christmas with his family in Greece after three years of confinement in Spain.
During the last days of the year, 14 children, ages 6 to 12 from all over Greece, representing 3, 500 schoolchildren that voluntarily participated in the HELMEPA Junior Program, filled us all with joy and gave us hope with the messages they adopted at their meeting as the 11th Board of Representatives.
However the year came to an end with the tragic loss of thousands of people, including many children, as well as the destruction of vast areas in Asia from earthquakes and tidal waves. Let us hope that the sensitivity and solidarity demonstrated by the international community provide support to the survivors to embark on a new beginning.
Our sincere thanks go to all those in Greece and worldwide who honor HELMEPA with their cooperation and we wish that 2005 is a peaceful year during which efficient and safe ships travel in clean seas.
Dimitris C. Mitsatsos