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Wednesday, March 21, 2018


At its meeting on 10 April in Monte Carlo, the Council has formally endorsed INTERTANKO’s policy on a number of issues raised by the sinking of the tanker Erika on 12 December 1999 off the coast of France. The INTERTANKO position support its Chain of Responsibility concept – that all parties involved in the safe passage of ships must bear a fair share of the burden and work together to realise common goals.

As regards Classification Societies

By setting the principal standards for ship structures and essential engineering systems, classification is recognised as the technical basis for delivering safer ships and cleaner seas.  INTERTANKO believes that although classification societies play a crucial role in promoting maritime safety, this role needs to be strengthened.

At an IACS industry partners Forum meeting held in London on 1 December 1999 – two weeks before the Erika accident – INTERTANKO tabled nine suggested improvements to the then existing system for the classification of ships. Several of these suggestions are incorporated in a series of measures aimed at identifying substandard ships and removing them from service agreed at an Extraordinary Meeting of IACS on 16 February 2000.  INTERTANKO welcomes these measures as important initiatives in the drive to weed out substandard ships.

While INTERTANKO supports the initiative to set up a mechanism for establishing an Investigation Board to investigate accidents as and when they happen, INTERTANKO would like to see this measure strengthened.  INTERTANKO urges IACS to consider the creation of the Board as an independent body, and to investigate the cause of the Erika accident as its first task.

As regards RINA’s preliminary results of the internal technical investigation into the Erika casualty

The Executive Committee of INTERTANKO had the following comments to the RINA report. INTERTANKO welcomes the release of RINA's report in relation to the Erika accident.  INTERTANKO is however strongly maintaining that a comprehensive accident investigation is undertaken and that an accident report is produced by an independent body with input from all concerned parties.  INTERTANKO thus renews the call for IACS to immediately initiate this investigation process.  INTERTANKO also urges the flag state Malta to properly investigate the accident and report findings to the IMO in a proper and timely manner.

As regards flag states

INTERTANKO believes that flag states should take the following steps:

  • make use of the IMO-sponsored Flag State Self Assessment Form to audit their activities
  • limit the authorisation of Recognised Organisation status to IACS classification societies only
  • audit Recognised Organisations which act on their behalf for compliance with statutory requirements and the provisions of IMO Assembly resolutions

As regards port states

Port states have played a key role in promoting maritime safety over the past two decades, not least by taking up the slack caused by various flag states not fulfilling their obligations.  INTERTANKO believes that port state control (PSC) can be further improved by implementing a unified ship inspection targeting system for all regional PSC regimes worldwide.  The system should be based on a priority matrix of the type used by US Coast Guard.  INTERTANKO also urges PSC authorities to name the charterers of detained ships within the detention information, and to include details of all ship inspections in the database, irrespective of whether or not deficiencies have been found.

As regards port of refuge

INTERTANKO has urged the European Union to take appropriate measures to establish ports of refuge within the region of stricken ships.  States should have an obligation to provide prompt assistance to vessels in distress of their coasts, and appropriate contingency plans should be in place.  INTERTANKO will propose similar measures on an international basis through IMO.

As regards charterers

The introduction of the OCIMF Ship Inspection report (SIRE) system and its ongoing revision have brought about a reduction in the large number of charterers’ inspections to which tankers are subject.  However, the system has still not succeeded in eliminating substandard ships and rewarding quality tonnage. INTERTANKO believes that charterers can do more to realise these goals by making a greater commitment to the spirit of SIRE by choosing quality owners and quality ships.  Ship selection should be based on a long-lasting relationship between owner and charterer.

As regards liability

INTERTANKO supports the existing international oil pollution liability and compensation regime.  At the same time INTERTANKO recognises that the limits of the shipowner’s liability under the CLC Convention will have to be increased.  INTERTANKO supports appropriate adjustment provisions of the existing conventions, a position which is in alignment with other industry groups.

The European Union proposed the phasing out of existing single hull tankers at an earlier age than that laid down in IMO’s Marine Pollution (MARPOL) Convention.  INTERTANKO believes that such legislation would drive older vessels to other parts of the world, and only deflects the problem.  The proper forum for such discussions is the IMO in order to ensure that any action taken is taken internationally.  In the final analysis, the quality of the ship and its operation are the primary criteria for safety, not age.