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Friday, December 15, 2017

Washington State prevails against INTERTANKO challenge

The U.S. State of Washington has imposed regulations seeking to implement tank vessel manning, equipment and operations in a manner differing from international and US federal law.

INTERTANKO and its membership have a major stake in the development of rational and uniform regulations which promote the safety of tanker operations. The State of Washington, by acting unilaterally without regard to the extensive body of federal and international law governing tank vessels operations, has put in jeopardy the orderly regulation of tanker operations.

INTERTANKO is primarily concerned that the safety of its members, vessels, their crews, and the marine environment not be jeopardised by a patchwork of regulations developed in the individual coastal states of the United States. The members of INTERTANKO have been in the forefront of promoting and continuing the exemplary safety record which the international marine transport of oil has achieved. A key element of this safety record is rigorous and uniform standards. This exceptional safety record is jeopardised when individual local governments begin to micromanage operational, personnel and equipment requirements aboard vessels.

INTERTANKO filed a legal challenge to the new Washington State regulations in July 1995 on the grounds that US states and localities had no right to impose requirements such as these in derogation of federal and international standards.

In his ruling of 18th November 1996 on the INTERTANKO vs State of Washington case U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour has denied the Association's motion for summary judgement and has found Washington State's tanker regulations to be constitutional contrary to INTERTANKO's challenge.

"Although INTERTANKO is disappointed in the decision of the trial court, we believe that the issue is an important one upon which effective regulation and marine environmental protection depends" stated INTERTANKO Managing Director Dagfinn Lunde. "This decision although disappointing in its result, is a necessary step in the process of promoting INTERTANKO's goals through the federal court system."

"Final decisions about next steps will await detailed analysis of Judge Coughenour's decisions."

"Given the importance of uniform standards to the integrity of federal and international programs, INTERTANKO very much hopes that this decision will focus the attention of US federal authorities on the need to protect federal and international regulations against duplicative or contrary state and local regulations", concluded Mr. Lunde.

For further information please contact:
Mr. Dagfinn Lunde, Managing Director, INTERTANKO (Direct Line: +47 22 12 2650)
Mr Svein Ringbakken, Legal Counsel INTERTANKO (Direct Line: +47 22 12 2690)
Mr. C Jonathan Benner, Eckert, Seamans Cherin & Mellott, INTERTANKO's US Legal Counsel
Telephone: +1 202 659 6600

Ms Sybil E. Gosselin, Communications Manager, INTERTANKO (+44 171 369 1649)