1.IntroductionWe are all acquainted with the fact that the shipping industry is a sector where major structural transformations have been evolved during last decades. The business environment for the shipping companies has considerably changed because of the increased awareness and pressure of various stakeholders (interest groups) for quality services that result from safe operations. Regulations and measures were designed so as to avoid pollution and certainly to ensure safety on board. For example, Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS '74), Marine Pollution Convention (MARPOL 73/78), and Collision Regulations (COLREG) are key regulations aiming at raising social responsible behaviour of companies in the shipping sector. Furthermore, at the European level a lot of pressure has been put on safety and pollution issues, such as ships' emissions. The 90's were the decade of regulation for shipping. The Oil Pollution Act (OPA '90), the International Safety Management Code (ISM), and the Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW '78) are just a few examples of the new mandatory regulations that have been imposed during the last years.
However, problems still remain.
The positive impact of such initiatives is indisputable, but the law and regulations cover only some of the rule-making processes in business. Perhaps we should consider the fact that it might be too expensive to attempt to cover all aspects of business behaviour by laws and to police them. Nevertheless, shipping companies can endeavour to become more aware of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) benefits, and thus their common business behaviour can be more responsive to the various stakeholders' expectations, other than shareholders. (Fafaliou, 2002).
The focal point of this paper is the social responsibility of companies operating within the shipping industry. Suffice it to state that the shipping industry is a sector where essential structural transformations have evolved during the last...