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Friday, September 21, 2018

INTERTANKO Athens Tanker Event plays host to largest-ever tanker shipping gathering

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), with strong support from its extensive Greek membership, has organised the most wide-ranging meeting on tanker shipping issues ever to be held in Greece. The four-day Athens Tanker Event, which ended today with a lively Public Debate on the image of tanker shipping, has been attended by over 500 delegates.

Amongst a significant number of notable successes during the week were the formation of three regional INTERTANKO panels, including the Hellenic INTERTANKO Tanker Forum, a tanker market conference on ‘Strategies for the 21st Century’, a number of stimulating technical sessions and a series of well-attending Media Management Training courses.

The Athens Tanker Event is the second in a series of International Tanker meetings organised by the Association and follows the very successful Houston Tanker Event in October 1996. Houston launched the concept of gathering participants from all sectors of the tanker industry to discuss issues of common interest relating to tanker safety, environmental protection and free competition. The Houston Tanker Event attracted over 240 delegates, including a strong US Coast Guard contingent which boasted its three highest-ranking officers. At that meeting the Coast Guard supported the goals laid down in INTERTANKO’s newly published US Port and Terminal Safety Study.

The Athens Tanker Event has built on the strengths of Houston and attracted over 500 delegates from 35 countries. Amongst the participants at the Event were Mr Stravros Soumakis, the Greek Minister of Mercantile Marine, Dr. Roberto Salvarani, Head of the Maritime Safety Unit at the European Commission’s Transport Directorate, Dr. Daniel Yergin, noted energy economist and author of the award-winning ‘The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power’, and Mr. John C. Lyras, President of the Union of Greek Shipowners.

INTERTANKO Regional Panels

At the Athens Tanker Event the INTERTANKO Council approved the establishment of three regional tanker panels in order to improve the effectiveness of the Association’s activities amongst its growing world-wide membership. The three new groups are the Asia Regional Panel, the Hellenic INTERTANKO Forum, the North American Panel. "An inaugural meeting of the Asia Regional Panel was held in Singapore on 13 May, 1997 and was attended by 35 Tanker-owning companies from six countries," said Ms. Minerva Alfonso, INTERTANKO Manager for the Asia region. "Of these companies, 27 were INTERTANKO members and eight companies which expressed interest in becoming members."

"Greek shipowners expressed an interest in creating The Hellenic INTERTANKO Forum following a visit to Athens by INTERTANKO chairman Richard du Moulin in October 1996," stated Mr. Dragos Rauta, INTERTANKO Manager for the Mediterranean region. "The Greek fleet is the largest in INTERTANKO and the new Forum will provide an opportunity for the Association’s 62 Greek members to promote their activities within the INTERTANKO organisation in a more effective way."

"Participation in the North American Panel will be open to INTERTANKO members in the US, Canada, Mexico and other nearby Latin American and Caribbean countries," stated Richard du Moulin. "In addition to improving the effectiveness of our organisation, the regional panels have generated new members and an increased interest in the activities of INTERTANKO."

US Activities
The key initiatives launched by INTERTANKO in the United States were noted and strongly supported by the Association’s Council and Executive Committee, as was the good work of INTERTANKO’s legal counsel, Jonathan Benner of Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, in promoting these initiatives. The intervention of the US government in INTERTANKO’s legal challenge of the State of Washington’s tanker safety regulations, currently on appeal before the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals, was welcomed, as was the recent filing by the International Chamber of Shipping which also supports the INTERTANKO position. INTERTANKO believes that unilateral regulations promulgated by individual US states compromises the effectiveness and purpose of US federal and international maritime safety legislation.

‘Julie N’ spill cleanup
George Blake of Maritime Overseas Corporation of New York described the successful response to the ‘Julie N’ oil spill to delegates at the Athens Tanker Event. In most tanker spill accidents only a small percentage of oil is recovered but when the 29,500 dwt product tanker ‘Julie N’ spilled 4,200 barrels of bunker fuel and No. 2 heating oil following a collision with a bridge in Portland, Maine in October 1996, uniquely, 78 percent was recovered. Rapid implementation of a well-organised contingency plan by Maritime Overseas Corporation proved most effective and earned the company a Meritorious Achievement Award from the US Coast Guard. A total of $45 million was spent cleaning up the spill and during the height of the response a total of 900 people were involved in the cleanup work. The initial collision was due to pilot error.

Detention of ‘Nissos Amorgos’ in Venezuela
The Executive Committee and Council of INTERTANKO received a full report on the continuing detention of the tanker ‘Nissos Amorgos’ and her captain in Venezuela, following a grounding and subsequent pollution in the Maracaibo Channel on 28th February.

INTERTANKO is deeply concerned that little progress has been made in the matter despite a number of positive initiatives intended to meet local demands. INTERTANKO is to issue a bulletin to all its members to exercise extreme caution in relation to transit of the Maracaibo Channel which, reports suggest, is in a poor condition.

It is the expectation and hope of INTERTANKO that international conventions governing claims and liability to which Venezuela is a signatory will provide prompt disposition of this matter without continued detention of the vessel and crew.

ISM Code and classification societies
At the Athens Tanker Event it was reported that 51 percent of the ships belonging to INTERTANKO members have now been certified for compliance with the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. It is anticipated that this figure will be 85 percent by the end of 1997 and that by the 1st July 1998 entry-into-force date for the ISM Code all INTERTANKO members’ ships will be in compliance.

INTERTANKO notes that figures released by the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) show that, so far, its surveyors have certified only 8.25 per cent of the ships (tankers and other types of vessels) requiring ISM Code certification by next year. The INTERTANKO experience is that the process of achieving ISM Code Certification takes at least 12 months and urges those shipowners that have not already done so to begin the ISM Code audit procedure as soon as possible. Port state authorities such as the US Coast Guard and the European Commission have stressed that they will not allow ships without ISM Code certification to visit their ports. INTERTANKO itself will expel all shipowners not in possession of the ISM Code certification by 1st July 1998 from its membership. INTERTANKO applauds the recent efforts by IACS to tighten up and enforce high standards of maritime safety, the most recent example of which was its decision to suspend the Polish Register of Shipping until certain ship surveying procedures have been improved. It is of utmost importance that IACS strictly applies its own audit standards to its classification society members.


INTERTANKO is committed to working for safe transport, cleaner seas and free competition.

INTERTANKO is committed to strengthening the position of the Independent Tanker Owners in the tanker industry in particular and in society in general.

Where necessary to ensure marine safety and environmental protection, INTERTANKO will provide leadership in the development and implementation of technically sound, cost-effective regulations and industry standards. Given the global nature of the industry such regulations and industry standards must be applied uniformly and on an international basis.

INTERTANKO recognises that the responsibility for upholding the principles of safe transport, cleaner seas and free competition depends on many participants in the tanker industry who are closely linked together. INTERTANKO is committed to ensuring that the independent owners are a strong link in a Chain of Responsibility. INTERTANKO encourages the other links to maintain and develop similar high standards.

INTERTANKO will achieve its goals through active participation by its Members and by seeking support from and co-operation with Authorities, other shipping organisations, its Associate Members, the general public and other interests.

All members of INTERTANKO will:

Implement a certified ISM system within the required compliance date

Classify all tankers by a Classification Society audited and approved with IACS

Enter all tankers in a P&I Club

Maintain satisfactory oil pollution response plans and insurance cover.

INTERTANKO’s vision is for a competitive tanker market in which independent tanker owners provide, and charterers employ, safe vessels offering the maximum degree of marine and environmental protection to meet the world’s demand for safe and efficient oil transportation.

INTERTANKO’s Council at its Council Meeting 27 May in Athens adopted a Resolution in relation to the detention of the Nissos Amorgos in Venezuela.


INTERTANKO’s Council at its Council Meeting 27 May in Athens adopted a Resolution in relation to the detention of the Nissos Amorgos in Venezuela.

INTERTANKO, whilst recognizing the sovereign rights of all individual states, deplores attempts made by governments in various parts of the world to characterize the conduct of masters and crews as criminal for the primary purpose of pressuring their employers, especially when such action involves the detention of such seafarers without charge or any ascertainable basis over alleged wrongdoing.

INTERTANKO further deplores the detention of vessels by governments who are parties to CLC/Fund Convention despite the provision of security in accordance with the Conventions.

INTERTANKO represents the owners of over 1,800 tankers, totalling 160 million dwt of tanker tonnage, approximately 71% of the worlds independent tanker fleet. INTERTANKO’s 260 member companies are based in some 41 countries world-wide. In addition, the association has 250 Associate Members.