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Monday, October 22, 2018


Syria/Banias – INTERTANKO actions against abusive treatment of crew

The following message has been sent to various Syrian maritime authorities:

"We are INTERTANKO, The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners.

INTERTANKO today comprises 251 member companies in 46 maritime countries, now operating 2,050 vessels totalling some 162 million DWT of tanker and combined tonnage, or approximately 70% of the eligible tonnage, and some 300 associate members.  Close to 100 of our members operate around 440 chemical and chemical/product carriers with a total tonnage of almost 10 million DWT.

We have recently been informed by INTERTANKO members that their tanker crews have been reporting very negative experiences from recent calls at Banias, and we wish to bring these incidents to your attention for your information and follow-up.

It seems that substantial “gifts”, such as 30-50 cartons of cigarettes or other articles, are being demanded by pilots and other officials before necessary port services will be provided.  INTERTANKO finds it completely unacceptable that masters and other crew members are being subject to threats and abuse when they object to handing out cigarettes, clothing, paint etc. in large quantities to pilots and others.  It is highly surprising that pilots, as well as customs officials and mooring gangs, have adopted this extremely unprofessional practice of demanding  substantial “gifts”  before being willing to provide the services required by the ship.

Furthermore, the fact that port officials often appear onboard without uniforms or identification effectively prevents the crew from spotting robbers and other unwanted persons attempting to gain access onboard.  This is indeed a safety issue which needs to be addressed immediately.

We have also been informed that Banias port officials have been known to issue reports on a master for being “impolite” because they were dissatisfied with the master’s “gifts”.  One master has been made “Persona non Grata” for the same reason, and fraudulent reports have been issued regarding vessels’ technical standard together with undue accusations of technical problems or that the ship has polluted the harbour or even the part called Israeli port.  We understand that such reports have led to a suggestion that the vessel should be rejected in the future.

INTERTANKO has also earlier addressed the issue of “gifts” being demanded in certain ports in other countries.  The reactions from the relevant authorities have mainly been positive and improvements have been made.  We are very sorry to find that the circumstances in Banias appear to be quite serious and widespread. However, we assume that the Syrian Authorities wish to address these concerns by implementing healthy practices and professional service at all levels throughout Syrian ports.

INTERTANKO is obliged to inform its international membership of the present port conditions in Banias.  We shall, however, be pleased to receive your earliest possible reply containing information on how port services in Banias and elsewhere will be raised to an international and professional standard."