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Sunday, October 21, 2018


Following the ERIKA incident, and the spotlight this has placed on French-based charterers, INTERTANKO has received a number of questions on their current practice.

It is hoped that the following clarification will be of use to members. However, it should not be overlooked that the Total Fina /Elf merger is expected to be cleared by the EU this week. When that happens Mr. L’Oiseau will be taking over the combined vetting departments, which it is understood will move into the Elf offices.

It has been reported that TotalFina is not using tankers above 80,000 DWT of 20 years and more. In view of the period of charter, realistically this is taking in tankers in their nineteenth year as well. It has been alleged that they are also reluctant to utilise Maltese flagged tankers over 20 years old. They are taking a close interest in Class and ownership changes. However they do not have any CAP requirements.

Elf appears to have a 25-year limit, with tankers built 1975 and before being left unchartered. Flag and Class requirements stay the same as before. CAP is not a requirement though they appreciate seeing a CAP 1 or 2. Thickness measurements are required after 15 years. New procedures are under development to further examine the ownership of the tanker. Since the ERIKA incident some approvals have been rescinded. Elf normally gives a 12-month approval, but this can be curtailed following an adverse report from a terminal.

Rumours have also been circulated of Shell France introducing criteria to reject tankers over 15 years of age, or classed with RINA, or flying the Maltese Flag. However, these have been proved groundless. Shell continues to follow their earlier criteria, which are extensive and encompass all aspects of the tanker, the ownership and management of the tanker.

What is inevitable is that anything that even hints at an ERIKA “look alike” is going to receive extra scrutiny. In the present political climate, it will be easier to say no, than to try and justify the approval afterwards in case of an incident. For further information, please contact