The cargo throughput of the Hong Kong port has continued to increase in the past decade and the gross tonnage of ships registered in Hong Kong had now topped 35 million, said Director of Marine, Mr. Roger Tupper.

Speaking at the 17th meeting of the Port State Control Committee of the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Hong Kong on September 3, Mr. Tupper affirmed that Hong Kong would continue to take an active role in port state control and activities of the Tokyo MOU.

‘Since the set up of the Tokyo MOU, fruitful results on port state control have been achieved through the effective co-operation of our member authorities. Over the past 12 years the number of inspections of Tokyo MOU has more than doubled from 8,834 to 21,686 vessels and the detention rate has dropped from 5.93% to 5.40%,’ he said.

Mr. Tupper said that during the past decade the global maritime industry had been operating under a very favorable business environment and large numbers of new ships had been built to meet this market in recent years. The situation was forecast to continue in the next few years based on yard orders.

In Hong Kong, the cargo throughput continues to increase and the gross tonnage of ships registered in Hong Kong has now topped 35 million.

‘While having benefited from the growth of the industry, our work and duties towards the industry are also on the increase. In this regard we have to optimize our effort in a more focused manner in order to discharge our responsibilities more effectively, both as a flag State and a port State,’ said Mr. Tupper.

‘For Hong Kong registered ships, we have enforced the Flag State Quality Control Scheme to enhance the quality of our fleet since 1999 now backed up by our Pre-Registration Quality Control Scheme. With regard to Port State Control our ship selection system has proved to be effective in targeting substandard ships for inspection.

‘On the ratification of new international conventions, our local legislation to give effect to MARPOL Annex VI is expected to be completed by end of this year. Also we are vigorously carrying out all the necessary preparation works for the ratification of the Maritime Labor Convention in order that we would be ready for its entering into force in a few years time.’

The Tokyo MOU started operation in April, 1994, to strengthen cooperation and exchange of information among maritime authorities within the Asia Pacific Region in order to eliminate sub-standard ships trading in the region. At present, it consists of 18 member authorities - Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Fiji, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam.