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Sunday, January 21, 2018

REPORT FROM THE NORTH AMERICAN PANEL MEETING ON 19 MARCH

INTERTANKO’s North American Panel (NAP) met in Stamford on 19 March in connection with the Connecticut Maritime Conference.  35 members, associate members and guests from other shipowners’ associations based in the US and Canada met under the Chairmanship of Richard du Moulin to discuss the US work programme and other current tanker issues. Admiral Robert C. North attended from the US Coast Guard. The Chairman of the Safety, Technical and Environmental Committee (ISTEC), Nikos Mikelis was also present as several issues raised were related to the ISTEC work programme.

The NAP also elected John Lovell of Alliance Marine Services and Reid Scheidt of Algoma Tankers as Council members for the US and Canada respectively. These elections will be presented to the Council in Sydney on 25 April for endorsement.

Admiral North of the USCG attended his last NAP as he is retiring from the USCG this summer. Admiral North has, as the head of the Marine Safety and Environment Protection Division of the USCG, kept an open and constructive dialogue with INTERTANKO and the tanker industry. INTERTANKO has enjoyed this co-operation both in the context of the NAP discussions and not at least in the context of the USCG/INTERTANKO partnership agreement.  His support has lead to tangible improvements in the field of tanker safety and environmental protection through joint efforts by government and industry. INTERTANKO would like to thank Admiral North for his leadership.  Admiral North informed the NAP of the President’s Energy Transportation Initiative headed up by Vice-President Cheney and how this could impact on the Marine Transportation System initiative. He reported on the VTS-transponder project in the lower Mississippi. He pointed out that the USCG had launched a project assessing future risks for oil pollution and explained that a risk assessment project would be undertaken looking at all relevant factors including both cargo and bunkers, pipelines and facilities as well as the traditional marine risks. The USCG was currently engaged in looking at the use of FPSOs in the US Gulf and the various methods of transporting oil to shore .

Mr.Jeffery Goetz of Poten and Partners provided the NAP with a market presentation focusing on the Panamax segment. A copy of this presentation is available from INTERTANKO by contacting Svein Ringbakken LegalandDocumentary@intertanko.com

INTERTANKO’s US Legal Counsel, Mr. Jonathan Benner, presented the INTERTANKO current US work plan.  Mr Benner reported that the new Administration took office in the third week of January.  All cabinet level appointments were complete, except important appointments at sub-cabinet and staff levels in programme areas that affect the INTERTANKO membership.  There also have been modifications of Committee and staff assignments in the US Congress. These transition issues will influence matters of interest to INTERTANKO such as criminal liability for oil spills, harbour maintenance taxes, and appropriations of funds for US Coast Guard revitalisation, charting and hydrographic surveys.  In the meantime, INTERTANKO has been actively engaged in or has monitored the following matters:

**  State of California Proposals to Drill Planholders

**  State of Maine Proposed Regulations for Tank Vessels

**  State of Washington Termination of Tanker Regulations

**  Federal Actions on Floating Offshore Storage and Production Facilities

**  Promotion of Increased Government Investment in Maritime Infrastructure

**  Ballast Water Regulation Developments

**  Efforts to Remove Criminal Liability for Oil Spills

**  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regulation of Funnel Emissions for Large Marine Diesel Engines

**  Canadian Shipping Legislation

**  Court Ruling on Tank Pressure Monitoring Devices and Subsequent Coast Guard Action

**  California Bunker Tax Exemption.

A report on these items available in summary form is available from Jonathan Benner or Svein Ringbakken jonathan.benner@troutmansanders.com or LegalandDocumentary@intertanko.com

Mr. Charlie Corbett of Corbett & Holt provided a report on the California Unannounced Oil Spill Drill programme which is dealt with in the nexr article in this Weekly NEWS.

Mr. Derick W. Betts, Jr. of Seward & Kissel LLP who has been representing INTERTANKO on tax matters provided a report on the Current Status of Proposed IRS Regulations For Section 883 Exemption.  Information on developments in relation to the so-called 883 Exemptions can be obtained from Svein Ringbakken LegalandDocumentary@intertanko.com

Dr. Peter Swift presented the NAP with an overview of INTERTANKO’s current activities and business plan with a particular emphasis on developments in the European Union and in the IMO. He reiterated INTERTANKO’s commitment to the US work programme and INTERTANKO’s presence in the US. He informed the NAP that a final solution with regard to INTERTANKO’s presence in the US would be presented after the meetings in Sydney. He underlined that INTERTANKO would maintain the balance between representational work such as legislative and regulatory projects and its service function. He also pointed out that INTERTANKO was taking a closer look at its support services in relation to commercial matters to make sure that a high level of support should be continually available.

Please click here for an overview of the developments in the European Union. It summarises the political events following the accident and outlines the measures suggested, with their status as of March 2001. It provides an introduction to the various European Union institutions, and the reaction to the Erika accident illustrates the procedures and political climate in today’s Europe.

INTERTANKO has continuly focused on co-ordination of efforts with the local organisations representing marine transportation interests in the US and Canada. The October 2000 NAP meeting was arranged in co-operation with the American Waterways Operators (AWO) and earlier discussions had initiated a joint American Petroleum Institute/INTERTANKO project to highlight the importance of tanker transportation. This project resulted in a clear and good presentation of the tanker industry being presented in the form of a printed brochure  ‘Tankers – help keep America going strong’.  A copy of the brochure can be downloaded from from this web site in .pdf format. Please click here (2.8MB) or if you wish a printed version, please e-mail to publications@intertanko.com

INTERTANKO has continued its involvement in port and terminal safety issues. Mr. Bill Gray provided a report on developments since the INTERTANKO Port and Terminal Safety Study was published and highlighted future plans for activities in this field.

Terminal vetting was introduced as an issue some time ago. It was agreed that this issue was best dealt with in co-operation with OCIMF. Following repeated concerns expressed by members who had tankers calling at terminals with serious shortcomings in terms of safety, it was decided that INTERTANKO should take a look at a report template for hazardous terminals. Two actions had been taken:

1/ INTERTANKO has provided input to the USCG on areas which may require particular attention by the USCG when inspecting tanker terminals

2/ INTERTANKO has initiated the development of a web based reporting system for dangerous ports, terminals, waterways and approaches which will be launched later this year.