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Thursday, October 18, 2018

INTERTANKO inaugurates Singapore office, holds fifth Asian regional panel meeting

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) today opened its new Asian Representative Office in Singapore. The Singapore office marks the culmination of a concerted effort to increase INTERTANKO's presence in the Asian region in recent years. The initiative was launched in 1997 when the Association established its Asian Regional Panel to enhance dialogue with its membership in this large, diverse geographical area.

The five meetings of the Panel held to date have served to bring tanker owners together, not only to discuss local matters and the impact of international issues on their region but also to establish closer relationships with regional maritime authorities and trade bodies.

The new Singapore office is managed by Minerva R Alfonso, INTERTANKO's Regional Manager for the Asia-Pacific and Secretary of the Asian Regional Panel. Minerva has worked for INTERTANKO for 11 years, based at the Association's Oslo headquarters.

In his keynote speech at the office inauguration ceremony in Singapore today, Barry Desker, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Trade Development Board, said, "Singapore aims to be the premier services hub in Asia and we have identified transport and logistics as key service sectors for long-term growth. We are confident that INTERTANKO - a key opinion leader in the industry - will be able to contribute richly towards the development of Singapore's oil refining, terminalling and tanker shipping activities and assist in further boosting our profile as an international maritime centre."

Other executives present at the opening ceremony included Dagfinn Lunde, INTERTANKO Managing Director, Mr K H Koo, Group Chairman of Tai Chong Cheang Steamship Co (HK) Ltd and Chairman of the Asian Regional Panel, and Joseph Kwok, Chief Operating Officer of Neptune Orient Lines Ltd, Singapore and the Panel's Vice-Chairmen. "Since the establishment of the Asian Regional Panel just over 18 months ago, INTERTANKO has seen a 35 per cent increase in its Asian membership," pointed out K H Koo in his welcome address. "We envision that the Asian Regional Panel will evolve into a powerful lobbying organisation representing Asian tanker-owning interests, and the Asian Representative Office will play a key role in facilitating this process, coordinating the two-way dialogue between INTERTANKO and the region as well as efforts to increase Asian membership and thereby increase the region's influence in the rest of the world through INTERTANKO."

Fifth Asian Panel Meeting in Seoul
The fifth meeting of INTERTANKO's Asian Regional Panel was held in Seoul on 24 February 1999, a few days before the Asian Representative Office was inaugurated. Attended by 38 senior shipping executives and well supported by the Korean maritime community, the Seoul meeting was the first time the Association's Asian Panel had met in South Korea. The meeting was chaired by K H Koo.

The keynote guest speaker, Professor Tae Woo Lee, of Korea Maritime University and Advisor for Shipping and the Port Sector at the Prime Minister's Office, described the dramatic measures that have been taken in Korea in an attempt to minimise the impact of the Asian economic crisis and ensure the country's quick restoration as an industrial powerhouse. The IMF bailout package has entailed deregulation and liberalisation, including an end to protectionist policies, of the shipping and shipbuilding industries. Inevitably, there will be a price to pay, in terms of increasing competition and high foreign debts, but already the Korean economy has begun to show signs of recovery.

The future for Korean shipbuilding, which was a major theme of Professor Lee's presentation, was also the central topic of a meeting that INTERTANKO and its Asian Regional Panel had held with the Korean Shipbuilders Association (KSA) immediately prior to the fifth Panel meeting. Senior executives from Daewoo, Hanjin, Halla, Samsung and Hyundai, as well as the KSA Director, were present at what was the first meeting between INTERTANKO and the Korean shipbuilding industry. After making their presentations all the participants of the meeting expressed a willingness to cooperate on matters of common concern in future.

In another presentation at the fifth Asian Regional Panel meeting, the recently established Korea Marine Pollution Response Corporation (KMPRC) explained their developing role as a specialised organisation capable of dealing with major oil spill accidents. The company's inventory of response equipment, which is growing rapidly, is being funded 90% by the oil industry and 10% by a fee levied on all tankers of 100 gross registered tons (grt) and above and all other ships of 10,000 grt and above calling at all ports in South Korea.

The INTERTANKO membership includes, as Full Members, 270 tanker companies with over 2,000 tankers totaling 172 million dwt. This is equivalent to 75% of all independently owned tanker tonnage worldwide. There are 281 INTERTANKO Associate Member companies. In addition to the Asian Regional Panel, INTERTANKO also has two other regional bodies, the INTERTANKO Hellenic Forum and the North American Panel, both of which were also established in 1997. INTERTANKO which is headquartered in Oslo has representative offices in London, Singapore and Washington DC.

For press inquiries, please contact:
Minerva R. Alfonso
Regional Manager
Tel: +65 333 4007
Fax: +65 333 5004