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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Time has come for global recognition for places of refuge

INTERTANKO and BIMCO very much regret the loss of the tanker Prestige and the environmental, social and economic consequences of this extremely unfortunate incident.This incident highlights the industry’s concern surrounding coastal states’ continued reluctance to admit ships into ports of refuge.

INTERTANKO and BIMCO have welcomed the statements of ABS and the Bahamas Maritime Authority that they are making available all of the historical records on Prestige. We believe that it is essential that all major marine casualties are comprehensively investigated and that the results are made public so that important lessons can be learned. We also join the Bahamas Maritime Authority in expressing our gratitude to the Spanish Rescue Services who rescued the entire crew.

This incident highlights the industry’s concern surrounding coastal states’ continued reluctance to admit ships into ports of refuge.When ships are not granted such refuge, the potential for a serious incidentis frequently increased and the safety of the crew jeopardised. The emergency transfer of cargo and other measures to aid the stricken vessel may be similarly hindered with a consequent increased threat to the environment. 

Accordingly, INTERTANKO and BIMCO once again stress the importance for all coastal states to have developed plans for places of refuge and urge Governments to nominate appropriate waters/ports/anchorages.  Both the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union are equally committed to this need and the Secretary General of the IMO has underlined that this is an issue that needs to be solved as a matter of urgency, and is under active consideration in IMO. 

As the leading shipping associations, INTERTANKO and BIMCO are committed to contributing to the post-incident analysis to the fullest extent wherever this is useful and possible. We will also encourage the prompt and efficient implementation of any appropriate measures that are developed from a rigorous investigation in to the causes of this incident. We understand that that the owner of the vessel, Mare Shipping Inc and operator of the vessel, Universe Maritime Ltd, has been co-operating with all relevant authorities and is committed to participate fully in the investigation.

INTERTANKO and BIMCO have particularly noted the observations of the European Commission that the industry does not necessarily need new legislation but that existing regulations must be implemented and enforced consistently and uniformly.

The Associations have further noted that the international compensation schemes for all those who are likely to suffer from pollution damage, namely CLC 92 and the Fund Convention 92 should be applicable in this case.

Places of Refuge – further information