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Monday, October 15, 2018


Speaking at BIMCO’s General Meeting in Beijing last week, INTERTANKO’s Managing Director, Peter Swift, suggested that the quest for quality within the tanker industry includes more than the elimination of the sub-standard. Touching upon topics such as public image and perception, Dr Swift stressed the industry’s drive for continuous improvement in performance and service.

Peter Swift, INTERTANKO’s MD, spoke at the Tanker Trades Session at BIMCO’s General Meeting in Beijing last week on the Tanker Industry’s “Quest for Quality”, which he suggested was not simply the elimination of the sub-standard but also included the drive for continuous improvement in performance and service.

In his talk he commented that while tanker owners are frequently unrecognised and inadequately rewarded they are nevertheless needed, with approximately 45% of the world’s oil supply being transported across the oceans by tankers on a typical day. Regrettably, however, the image associated with tankers is frequently a negative one and is often reinforced visually with the tragic effects of any oil spill – even if a tanker is not involved! While this perception of the industry’s performance is commonly far from positive the reality is the reverse and the record is there to prove it.  Over the past decade the number of serious tanker incidents has declined dramatically as has the number of accidental oil spills despite a near doubling in the oil trades.  The tanker industry’s port state detention record also compares most favourably with other shipping sectors notwithstanding the specific inspection targeting of this sector.

He contended that the tanker world is however not complacent and, as with all responsible industries, is striving to improve further its performance and hopefully its image.  As part of the industry’s programmes for self-regulation, shortcomings and failures in each of its components are being acknowledged, and remedies sought, as the risks in the whole of the oil tanker transportation chain are assessed. Nevertheless, unfortunately, accidents still occur and the industry is regularly subject to often knee-jerk reactions and in turn to ill-conceived regulation and legislation, which is frequently flawed in concept and only partially effective in its intent.

The presentation included an overview of measures that could be taken by the various players in the so-called “chain of responsibility” to address weaknesses in the system and improve the overall quality of the industry. In his concluding remarks he called for a better understanding of the risks involved in all aspects of tanker shipping; greater respect and recognition for marine professionalism; improved feedback and learning mechanisms; for no new rules or regulation before the completion of comprehensive investigation of incidents; for increased transparency and trust between the various parties involved; and for the greater accountability of all.

Click here for a copy of Peter Swift’s Power Point presentation (1.9MB)