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Monday, December 18, 2017

Concern at increase in number of tanker incidents reported in 2006

 

 

 

2007

2006

2005

 

2004

2003

2002

dwt range

Total

%

Total

%

Total

%

Total

%

Total

%

Total

%

Below 10,000

9

43%

138

52%

69

43%

32

23%

36

27%

59

40%

10-29,999

1

5%

33

13%

34

21%

34

24%

38

29%

26

17%

30-99,999

7

33%

63

24%

40

25%

51

36%

40

31%

38

26%

100,000+

4

19%

30

11%

18

11%

23

16%

17

13%

26

17%

Total

21

100%

264

100%

161

100%

140

100%

131

100%

149

100%

 

INTERTANKO records all reported incidents involving tankers reported by Informa and the press. The most significant occurrence in 2006 was the 64% increase in the number of incidents. Incidents among tankers below 10,000 dwt increased by 100% to 138, but also incidents involving tankers above 100,000 dwt increased by 67% to 30.

 

The number of incidents also increased in 2005 by 15%. In 2005 the number of incidents for tankers above 30,000 dwt declined significantly, but the number of incidents among tankers below 10,000 dwt increased by 116%.

 

This means small tanker incidents have increased from 32 in 2004 to 138 in 2006. Large tanker incidents have increased from 73 to 93. The increasing trend continued into 2007 when more than, on average, one incident per day has been reported for the first 18 days.

 

How come? Well, trade increased in 2006. Moreover, the stronger focus on safety may mean that more incidents have been reported and noted. Most of the incidents are small and do not involve fatalities, injuries, oil pollution or major damage to property.

 

We have started to look into the detail of this trend, to get some idea of what is causing it. It may be that increased activity in all shipping sectors is overstretching the supply of quality officers and crew. Unfortunately the information on each incident and the uncertainty about the reporting prevents us from drawing any firm conclusions yet. One initial conclusion, though, is that in order to fully benefit from past experience, all parties in shipping should be reporting incidents in a standard format to a central body which analyses all incidents and goes on to investigate major accidents.

 

Sadly, the number of reported fatalities increased from 26 in 2005 to 40 in 2006. The most significant incidents involving fatalities were the following:

 

-         The most serious accident was mid-October when the explosion on the 1979-built product tanker Quetzalcoatl in Mexico's Pajaritos petrochemical complex killed at least eight people. A spark from maintenance works ignited fuel vapours in the vessel's empty tanks and the blast ripped through the tanker.

-         One Turkish seafarer died and six were missing end May after the Turkish-operated general cargo ship Han sank following a collision with the Greek tanker Alios Artemis 16 miles off the island of Hydra in the Saronic Gulf.

-         At least five persons were feared to have been killed in June when the 1975-built suezmax tanker Tuma carrying petroleum products burst into flames in Lagos. The explosion, which occurred at the Obat Petroleum Depot, also left some others seriously injured.

-         A tanker was impounded and its master questioned following the sinking of French trawler Kleine Familie off the Alderney coast, and five of its crew were reported missing.

-         The 1993-built VLCC Suva sustained an explosion on board in April in the Strait of Malacca. Three crew died and one suffered serious burns.

-         Three of the crew onboard the small Japanese chemical tanker Shuho Maru were overcome by benzene fumes during tank cleaning operations and died after an accident. The Shuho Maru had earlier discharged 500 tonnes of benzene at a terminal in Chiba.

-         During tank cleaning, the empty 1987-built crude oil tanker Banglar Shourabh sustained an explosion at Chittagong outer anchorage in June. Following the explosion, the vessel was fully ablaze. An investigation committee found that violation of international regulations and handling of equipment by unskilled operators were to blame for the accident. It was suspected that while cleaning the ship's tanks, sparks from the electric blower might have caused the fire and explosion, which killed three crew members on board. The committee also found gross irregularities in the recruitment of the crew.

 

Fortunately there were no catastrophic pollution incidents in 2006. The most significant pollution incidents were the following:

 

-         The biggest oil spill involved the VLCC Bright Artemis, which spilled oil in the Indian Ocean in August after colliding with another vessel. The 1992-built 250,000-dwt tanker went to the assistance a general cargo ship Amar, which had suffered a serious fire. A strong gust of wind blew the Amar against the Bright Artemis, inflicting a one-metre wide, five-metre long gash in the VLCC's starboard side, about 1.7 metres above the waterline, puncturing two cargo tanks. The owner estimates that 4,500 tonnes of the ship's Omani and Saudi crude cargo was spilled before the crew shifted oil within the vessel to prevent further spillage.

-         The 1987-built 96,967 dwt crude oil tanker Grigoroussa I lost 3,000 tons of heavy fuel in the Suez Canal in February after contact with a quay caused a leak, according to an official at the Canal authority. The biggest pollution incident in 2004 involving the KOTC VLCC Al Samidoon also occurred in the Suez Canal.

-         The 1998-built 5,950 dwt LPG Sigmagas lost approximately 60 tons of fuel outbound Donges, in ballast, after experiencing a rudder problem, and collided with another LPG tanker. The Sigmagas was holed in its bow.

-         The Philippine Coast Guard reported that Philippine-flag tanker 1951-built Solar 1,998 gt sank off Guimaras island in August. The tanker was en route from Bataan Refinery in the north to the southern Philippines with a cargo of about 2,000 tonnes of fuel oil. The government appealed for international help to clean up the spill, described by environmental group Greenpeace as the worst ever to hit the Philippines. Two crew members were reported missing after this incident.

 

Some 15% of the tankers involved in incidents in 2006 were chemical tankers, 16% chemical/oil tankers, 12% gas tankers, 24% product tankers and 17% crude oil tankers. The remaining 16% were non-specific tankers, bunker tankers, barges and combination carriers.

 

Almost 60 flag states were involved. Sweden was the flag state that was most represented, since it includes many small product tankers. Otherwise Isle of Man, Marshall Islands, Bahamas and Malta were the flags that were most represented among the flag states, having five incidents or more.

 

Reported tanker incidents 2000 – 2006 by cause and by size segment 

As percentages of the total, the different size segments have a remarkably similar figure for the different types of incident, except that VLCCs are ahead of the average for fire and explosions and below the average for groundings.   

 

Type causes

Dwt range

Total

Type causes

Below 10,000

10,000-29,999

10,000-29,999

10,000-29,999

VLCC

Total

Collision/Contact

227

65

123

45

18

478

Fire/Explosion

59

35

50

14

11

169

Grounding

126

61

84

21

5

297

Hull and machinery

133

84

105

39

17

378

Misc

45

21

26

9

5

106

War

6

3

 

 

 

9

Grand Total

596

269

388

128

56

1437

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Type causes

Below 10,000

10,000 - 29,999

30,000 -99,999

100,000 -199,999

VLCC

Total

Collision/Contact

38%

24%

32%

35%

32%

33%

Fire/Explosion

10%

13%

13%

11%

20%

12%

Grounding

21%

23%

22%

16%

9%

21%

Hull and machinery

22%

31%

27%

30%

30%

26%

Misc

8%

8%

7%

7%

9%

7%

War

1%

1%

0%

0%

0%

1%

Grand Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

 

 There are more collisions for small tankers, which to a greater extent operate in enclosed water and denser traffic. In fact some 40% of the incidents in 2006 occurred in ports, entrances to ports, rivers or canals.

 

Contact: Erik Ranheim