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Friday, October 19, 2018

Intertanko calls on USA to back uniform safety measures, supports US Coast Guard

Dagfinn Lunde, Managing Director of INTERTANKO, has called on US federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, the State Department and the Department of Commerce, to support the tanker industry in insisting on uniform environmental and safety standards in interstate and foreign commerce.

"INTERTANKO works through IMO to promote the highest levels of safety on an international basis and encourages the US government to participate in these efforts," stated Dagfinn Lunde. "However, we are now facing the vexing problem in the US whereby certain local state governments seem to believe it wise or expedient to dabble in the highly technical area of maritime safety." He made these remarks at both the Connecticut Maritime Association’s Shipping 97 Conference in Stamford, Connecticut on 19 March and the Propeller Club in Washington, DC on 20 March 1997. The two speeches examined the impact of current and pending regulations, and changing operational requirements, on tanker shipping.

"While local governments may have interesting ideas that should be tabled at IMO through their national government, they simply do not have the experience, the manpower or the technical expertise to replace the best thinking that has been devoted to these problems at international level," asserted Mr. Lunde. He mentioned the recent Federal District Court decision to uphold the State of Washington’s marine safety regulations against INTERTANKO’s subsequent decision to appeal the verdict. "Interestingly, the District Court reasoned that the US Oil Pollution Act of 1990 ‘defederalised’ marine safety programs and permitted devolution of these responsibilities to states and local governments," continued Dagfinn Lunde. "We strongly suspect that nothing of the sort was intended in 1990. We also believe that the US government concurs with our view and we call upon the relevant federal agencies to support us in our efforts to halt the erosion of federal and international safety regimes."

The INTERTANKO Managing Director also took the opportunity at both meetings to accentuate the positive. "The US and the rest of the world have made a great deal of progress in improving tanker safety over the past decade and much of the credit must go to the US Coast Guard," confirmed Dagfinn Lunde. "INTERTANKO does not always agree with the Coast Guard as evidenced by our recent intervention on underkeel clearance, which we believe is a misguided initiative."

"However, on the whole we have the same goals as the US Coast Guard and work well together. In terms of personnel, training, dedication and knowledge of the vessels it oversees, the Coast Guard is an unparalleled national asset. The agency’s role has changed over the years and many new demands have been placed on the staff under Admiral Kramek’s command. They keep doing more with less and doing it as well or better than any of us have a right to expect. With this kind of dedication INTERTANKO is confident that the US will resolve its internal conflicts and continue to be a leader in the worldwide maritime safety field."

The INTERTANKO membership includes, as Full Members, 255 tanker companies with 1,750 tankers totalling 155.9 million tons deadweight. This is equivalent to 70 % of all independently owned tanker tonnage worldwide. In addition, there are 220 INTERTANK0 Associate Member companies.