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Monday, October 15, 2018

Harbor Safety Committees for the 21st Century National Conference

This conference was launched in a proactive move to address the issues concerning port and terminal safety among those that are involved in taking decisions affecting the day to day operation of US ports.

The Maritime Association of New York and New Jersey and the United States Coast Guard are hosting the Harbor Safety Committees for the 21st Century National Conference in the World Trade Center in New York City attended by some 130 important players in US ports and the maritime industry. Liner companies, tug/barge operators, pilots, VTS operators, recreational vessel interests, ferries, terminal managers, as well as a number of United States Coast Guard Captain of the Ports from around the US and top United States Coast Guard officials such as Admiral Robert North, were in attendance at the first day of the conference.

The national conference sponsored by INTERTANKO and other maritime organisations focuses on the role of the US harbor safety committees and Federally mandated maritime advisory committees.

Admiral North of the United States Coast Guard outlined the critical importance of marine commerce to every American:

It is said that statistics are just numbers in search of an argument. The following are some impressive numbers that form a good argument for why we need a robust Maritime Transportation System:

· Over two billion metric tons of cargo worth over one trillion dollars transits US waterways annually

- 10 million barrels of oil are imported daily, almost all by water.

- Excluding Mexico and Canada, 95% of our foreign trade and 25% of our domestic trade depends on maritime transportation.

-Over 90 million passengers embark ferries, cruise ships, gaming vessels and tour ships from US ports

-Over 26,000 documented commercial fishing vessels harvest food from the sea
- Tens of millions of Americans use the nation's waterways in over 20 million recreational boats

- Marine transportation and infrastructure contribute over 78 billion dollars to the US gross domestic product and generate 16 million jobs

- 95% of all weapons, supplies and US forces were transported via ships during Desert Storm.

We are clearly dependent on the marine transportation system - to provide safe, secure environmentally sound and efficient transportation.

He continued: Over the past year, we (United States Coast Guard) began a serious effort to coordinate with other agencies involved in the management of US port and waterways as well as talk with stakeholders about the current and future state of our waterways.

He ended: The task of ensuring that our marine transportation system meets the needs of the future is not easy. Success depends upon the collective efforts of the private stakeholders, local state and Federal government agencies.

Chairing the first half day of the Conference was Dagfinn Lunde of INTERTANKO.

Mr. Lunde said: "My proposition is that we do not have to achieve a balance between safety and environmental protection. To the extent the waterways are made safe for vessels of all types, we have achieved a high degree of environmental protection. The two concepts are directly linked. I would go a bit further and also say that every enhancement of safety and environmental protection in the port enhances its competitiveness as an attractive place to do business."

He continued: "I would like to say that much of the discussion of this area originates with INTERTANKO's 1996 Port and Terminal Safety Study. That Study has become a platform for increased awareness in the United States of the condition of its ports."

"We in the tanker industry, given the massive liabilities, both criminal and civil, that our members face under U.S. law, cannot tolerate for a minute the United States being in a position of inferiority when it comes to safety systems in its ports. The US represents an important trading area and should have the best ports in the world. Not only does the United States impose extraordinary liabilities on the vessel for oil spills, it also is the world's major maritime trading nation and, from a tanker perspective, the world's major importer of oil."

The National Conference will be wrapped up today 17 February.

The INTERTANKO membership includes, as Full Members, 270 tanker companies with more than 2,000 tankers totalling 172 million dwt. This is equivalent to 75% of all independently owned tanker tonnage worldwide. In addition, there are 281 INTERTANKO Associate Member companies.

For further information:

Dagfinn Lunde,

Tele: +47 22 12 26 50

 Mobile: +47 92 49 61 17


Svein Ringbakken

Tele:  +1 202 659 6631


Sybil E. Gosslein

Tele:  +44 385 957589