130 tanker incidents recorded in 2001

INTERTANKO has recorded 130 tanker incidents in 2001, most of which were minor incidents causing no or minor damage. 22 of the incidents reported caused pollution, ranging from “one cup” up to 5 million litres (some 4,000 ts) of naphtha. Pollution figures are, however, uncertain and it is anticipated that ITOPF will release more detailed figures later in the year.

One of the most serious pollution accidents appears to have involved the double hull Baltic Carrier built in 2000 that collided outside Denmark and spilt some 2000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil.  There has also been three unfortunate incidents in the Persian gulf involving tankers suspected of breaking the embargo on Iraqi oil, two of which sunk causing pollution and spilling some 3,000 tonnes of oil.  The spills also include chemicals, products and bunker oil.

Our figures indicate that the positive trend in reduced pollution from tankers has continued. We have recorded altogether less that 20,000 tonnes of pollution in 2001, including chemicals.  Adding the 20,000 tonnes as estimated operational pollution from tank washing and ballast water, we see that 99.99998% of the petroleum products transported by sea has arrived safely at their destinations. (Total seaborne trade crude and products is some 2,000 million ts)

We have categorised the incidents in 2001:   

Type cause

Total Number

Involving pollution

Average age

Tonnes

Number

Collisions

47

7,903

10

13

Grounding

28

5,125

4

15

Fire/Explosion

21

502

2

22

Structural/Technical

16

 

0

17

Sunk

4

3,000

1

25

Shipyard - Fire/Explosion

3

 

0

0

Terminal related

6

22

5

12

Capsized

2

5

1

25

Unknown

1

 

0

NA

Hostilities

2

 

0

NA

Total

130

16,557

23

16

10 of the structural/technical incidents were related to engine trouble, 3 to steering gear failure and 3 to structural problems. 20 of the incidents can be classified as having occurred in the fairway to or from the terminal, 13 at terminals, 6 of the collisions involved collision with fishing vessels, 7 incidents happened at repair-yards, and 2 incidents were terrorist attacks.  From the table it can be seen that the average age of tankers involved was quite high at 16 years. 38 were built in the 1970s or earlier, 23 in the 1980s, and 43 were built in the 1990s or later.  We do not have the building year for the remainder of the ships. Some of the tankers that have been involved in incidents are very small and are included in the normal databases. Included in the figures are 22 chemical tankers, 3 gas tankers and 2 bunker tankers.

INTERTANKO record incidents from the LIMIS casualty reports and other reports in the press.