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Monday, July 23, 2018

MARCH 27 - A BUSY DAY OF MEETINGS IN TOKYO

** Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding MOU)

** Class NK

** Asian Regional Panel

 TOKYO MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU)

INTERTANKO held a full day of meetings in Tokyo on 27 March, culminating in the seventh meeting of the Asian Regional Panel. The day began with a meeting between INTERTANKO and the Secretariat of the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (PSC), the Tokyo participants being Mr Yoshio Sasamura, Secretary, and Mr Mitsutoyo Okada, Deputy-Secretary, while INTERTANKO was represented by Dagfinn Lunde, Minerva Alfonso, Kristian Fuglesang.

At its last meeting in Singapore on 21-24 February 2000, the Tokyo PSC Committee had considered and adopted a new set of amendments to their Memorandum of Understanding. The amendments included an increase in the percentage of ships visiting the region’s ports to be inspected from 50 to 75 per cent and a new annex of qualitative criteria for members. The effective date of the amendments is 1 October 2000.

The increase in the percentage of ships to be inspected is a worrying development, as the envisaged heavy inspection workload is set to be shared amongst the individual member authorities according to the resources they have available. The Tokyo MOU Secretariat say they will be unable to put pressure on member authorities claiming they do not have the resources to employ more inspectors. This means that those authorities which need to strengthen their PSC regime will probably only be required to make a marginal additional commitment while those already having a good system in place will probably be called upon to take on most of the additional inspections required. INTERTANKO made the point that the use of a system of targeting suspect tonnage will make for a much more efficient use of available resources and probably would obviate the need for increasing the percentage of ships inspected.

The Tokyo MOU Secretariat pointed out that they are, in fact, currently developing guidelines for a targeting system, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority being the lead agency on this project. Furthermore, the targeting matrices of both the US Coast Guard and the Paris MOU are being examined.

The issue of bribery by PSC officers in certain parts of Asia, such occurrences having been experienced by some INTERTANKO members, was discussed. The Tokyo MOU Secretariat requested INTERTANKO to submit details of all incidents of this type and they will be investigated.

The INTERTANKO application for observer status on the Tokyo MOU Port State Control Committee was rejected because of the Committee’s newly adopted membership criteria. Under the new conditions observer status is only granted to inter-governmental organisations. However, the Tokyo MOU Secretariat recognises the usefulness of maintaining a dialogue with relevant industry organisations. An open forum will be arranged for a future meeting and INTERTANKO will be advised accordingly.

CLASS NK

Later that morning Dagfinn Lunde, Kristian Fuglesang Minerva Alfonso and Mr K H Koo, chairman of INTERTANKO’s Asian Regional Panel, had a courtesy meeting with the next chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), Mr Hidaka of Class NK.

An early discussion topic was the list of nine class-related initiatives for improving maritime safety which INTERTANKO had tabled at the Industry Partners Forum organised by the IACS Council on 1 December 99. Mr Hidaka said that one of the INTERTANKO recommendations - that of having such an IACS/industry meeting on an annual basis - has already been agreed. In fact another IACS/industry meeting has been called for early May especially to consider issues arising out of the Erika sinking. INTERTANKO suggested that another point should be added to the list of INTERTANKO recommendations, i.e. measures aimed at reducing the current proliferation of ship inspections.

Both parties concluded this positive meeting by expressing the belief that their future cooperation will provide mutual benefits.

ASIAN REGIONAL PANEL MEETING

The seventh meeting of the Asian Regional Panel was held in Tokyo on the afternoon of 27 March, under the chairmanship of Mr K H Koo, Group Chairman of Tai Chong Cheang Steamship Co (HK) Ltd, ably assisted by the Panel's Vice-Chairman, Mr Hirohiko Tanaka, Managing Director of Mitsui OSK Lines. A total of 25 top-level shipping executives were present at the meeting, including the future IACS Chairman, Mr Hidaka, Deputy Chairman of Class NK, and honorary INTERTANKO member Mr Seigo Suzuki. INTERTANKO was represented by Dagfinn Lunde, Minerva Alfonso and Kristian Fuglesang.

The first topic to be discussed was the extent of Japanese members participation in the affairs of INTERTANKO. On the one hand, several non-Japanese members expressed the wish to see a greater level of involvement in the topical issues impacting the tanker industry, especially as they relate to the Asian region, from the Japanese members of INTERTANKO. On the other hand, several Japanese members expressed a willingness to do that. With the stage set for increased Japanese participation, Mr Koo and Mr Tanaka concluded this discussion item by urging the Japanese members present to support INTERTANKO and in particular the Asian Regional Panel and the Asian Representative Office in Singapore. Minerva Alfonso, the Asia Regional Manager, will facilitate the process by strengthening communication links and the level of contact with Japanese members.

Mr Alan Chan, Chairman of Petroships, a tanker owning company which recently applied for membership with INTERTANKO, discussed three key aspects of the piracy issue. He also made his own recommendations as to what national authorities and the maritime community can do to create an effective deterrent to pirates. Petroships own Petro Ranger, a tanker which was hijacked in April 1999 when en route from Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore with a cargo 11,000 tonnes of diesel and kerosene. Twelve pirates wearing balaclava hoods came alongside in speedboats and boarded the ship. While the crew were being held, the cargo was transferred to a lightering vessel. Subsequently the Indonesian pirates were repatriated by China back to Indonesia, thereby escaping any type of prosecution.

Other regional issues were also discussed at the Panel Meeting, as well as policy items that the INTERTANKO Council members will consider at their upcoming meeting in Monte Carlo. These items included the proposal to introduce stricter INTERTANKO membership criteria. The Panel welcomed the relationship being developed in the Asian region particularly with the national authorities and the oil majors.

For full details of the Asian Regional Panel meeting, please contact Minerva Alfonso, minerva.alfonso@intertanko.com