This body is a European Commission expert group, and provides ‘a platform for structural dialogue, exchange of technical knowledge, cooperation, and coordination amongst relevant maritime industries stakeholders at the Commission,’ its official description says. ESSF aims to ‘better address the environmental sustainability challenges confronting the EU maritime transport sector.’
One of the main tasks of ESSF is to provide expertise to the Commission when it is preparing to implement measures that have an impact of maritime activities.
ESSF members include each of the European Member States as well as shipping companies, ports’ authorities, labour unions, contractors and companies and associations from the oil and gas sector.
IOGP’s membership comes at a time when the International Maritime Organization is committed to drastic reductions in sulphur emissions from shipping. The target date of 2020 has dominated shipowners’ agendas, says IOGP EU Affairs Manager Bernard Vanheule, who was instrumental in obtaining the Association’s ESSF membership.
“For IOGP, to be officially recognized by the EU Commission as an ESSF member is tacit acknowledgement that natural gas in general and LNG in particular can play an important and positive role in improving air quality and lower emissions overall in the marine sector.”