The CESMA members attending CESMA AGA in Antwerp, Belgium noted with concern the problems of piracy, safety of ro-ro, ropax and cruise ships, decrease of employment of EU seafarers, continued illegal immigrants in the Mediterranean, mooring accidents involving approved equipment, different practices in simulator training in EU countries, excessive paperwork on board commercial ships, decrease of traditional navigational skills, decreased employment of EU seafarers and continued accidents some with fatal end with Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOC’s) sticks on the following resolutions of primary importance for shipmasters:
Resolution nr. 1: Implementation of sulphur cap and ballast water management.
The 24th Annual General Assembly in Antwerpen noted serious problems the shipmasters and crew face with the implementation of 2020 sulphur cap and prosecution of seafarers on violations of the existing rules from the companies and suppliers of fuel. The bunkers nowadays are ordered by the ship operators and the latter receive all the documents concerning the fuel beforehand. If any problems arise in implementation of sulphur contents restrictions in the fuel or compliance with ballast water management rules the masters are blamed and there are several cases with serious charges against shipmasters. The delegates insist on EU institutions to adjust the existing rules to the latest industry and information technology developments and not to blame the shipmasters for the violations coming from the shore parties involved in ship operation and shipmanagement.
Resolution nr. 2: Criminalisation of seafarers.
The 24th Annual General Assembly in Antwerpen again noted that the problem of criminalisation of seafarers and of shipmasters in particular, continues to be a matter of great concern.  CESMA urgently requests ship owners and/or operators to always provide legal assistance for masters, serving on their ships, in case of an incident as a consequence of which they are detained by local authorities, until, at least, a final verdict has been pronounced. Moreover masters are urgently advised to consider taking risk insurance.
Resolution nr. 3:  Fatigue and safe manning.
The Assembly again discussed the problem of fatigue in the maritime industry. The requirement of a minimum of three certified bridge watch keepers, including the master, on each seagoing vessel of 500 GT and more, is still supported by CESMA, although we see improvement due to better controls by some flag states (Spain) and Port State Control officers. It continues to urge Port State Control officers to intensify verification of work and rest periods during shipboard inspections.               CESMA supports the results of the Martha project.   
Resolution nr. 4: Shipmaster key role in navigating the ship in VTS control areas.
The Assembly discussed the safety of ships when navigating in VTS surveillance areas and the current trend to restrict the shipmasters’ decisions in favour of more authority by the VTS operators. CESMA urges European institutions and national legislative bodies to respect the shipmaster’s overriding authorities as per ISM Code in saving life at sea, the ship and marine environment.
Antwerp (Belgium) 10th, May 2019