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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

INTERTANKO press release for Nor-Shipping 2005

“Our agreed vision for the tanker industry is of a responsible, sustainable and respected industry, with the ability to influence our own destiny,” says INTERTANKO Chairman Stephen Van Dyck.

The challenge to the tanker industry, and to all those who make up the extended chain of responsibility (see attached), is to make this vision work in practice. To achieve this, all the elements in the chain need to have total commitment, and they have to perform.

At a time when tanker tonne-miles performed are up by nearly half in the last 10-15 years, accidental oil pollution from tankers is down by some two thirds. The significant progress made by the tanker industry in advancing safety and environmental objectives (see attached) needs to be consolidated, but also needs drive to keep it moving forwards. “Being responsible means taking the initiative in bringing about progress.”

The tanker industry’s tangible dedication to continuous improvement needs to be sustainable,so that its everyday operations reflect its commitments to society and to the environment – in other words to this planet and to the people who live there who are its customers and whose energy requirements it satisfies – and so that these undertakings go hand in hand with its commitment to run its business as a sound economic operation.  This dedication to continuous improvement also needs to be sustained, day in day out, whatever the state of the market, by the whole of the shipping industry. The public finds it hard to differentiate between tankers and other ships … containerships, bulk carriers and even car carriers are all frequently called tankers if they cause pollution.  “In this world of zero tolerance, there is a compelling need for all owners of all ships to embrace continuous improvement, to sustain it, and to be able and willing to demonstrate their achievement.”

The industry is gradually earning respect from those who realise that improvements have been underway for years. “But this process of improvement needs to continue as we convince politicians and public that we deserve this respect.” And with respect comes trust, the vital ingredient that is missing in our industry’s relationship with the world at large.

Trust and respect will come about through continuous dialogue between the shipping industry on the one hand, and the public, the politicians and the media on the other; through practical demonstration of the industry’s ongoing improvements; through industry intervention not to block changes to the law per se, but to achieve constructive and workable regulations that more effectively achieve the intended result.

We should not forget that we get our ‘black eye’ from accidents, points out Van Dyck. Yet ironically a tanker accident provides us with the best opportunity ever to demonstrate to the world our competence and trustworthiness, for we have the ear of the world’s media for one moment. So we need to do a top-class job dealing with casulaties; responding to the clean-up operation; providing timely, regular, accurate, high-class information during and after the crisis. No amount of brilliant press strategy will turn a badly-managed incident into a well-managed one.