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Friday, July 20, 2018

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE OPEN SESSIONS

INTERTANKO’s Open Session, held on 16 April 2002 and entitled ‘Tanker Visions’, yielded four key themes: trust, transparency, cooperation and global solutions. Presentations were given by Capt. Peter M. Cooney, V. Ships; Brad Berman, Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR); Igor Ponomarev, Russian Maritime Register of Shipping and Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS); Dr Donald Liu, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS); Fotis Karamitsos, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, European Commission; Rear Admiral Paul J. Pluta, Security and Environmental Protection, US Coast Guard (USCG); Robert Seward, The Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association; Captain Rein von Gooswilligen, Dutch Pilotage Corporation; Eco Matser, Green Peace, and Dimitris Lyras, Paralos Shipping Corporation S.A.

‘Tanker Visions’: Trust, transparency, cooperation and global solutions

INTERTANKO’s Open Session, held on 16 April 2002 and entitled ‘Tanker Visions’, yielded four key themes: trust, transparency cooperation and global solutions.

The day started with a bold statement issued by Capt Peter Cooney, V. Ships. “I don’t think we can trust flag states or class,” he said. “We have to take on the responsibility [for ship safety] for ourselves.” As the head of a company which manages 154 tankers, Peter Cooney advocated the use of ‘total control’ to ensure that managers, owners and operators fulfilled the duty of care they owed to their ships, the cargoes they carried and the seafarers who manned them. He maintained that the industry required vision and strategy and suggested an industry vision statement to achieve this.

Brad Berman, Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR), defended the role of flag states. “I know that flag is not the weakest link [in the responsibility chain], but if there is a weak link in the chain, it is all of our responsibility,” he said. “We must discuss how the different components work together, but ultimately owners and operators are responsible.” Brad Berman’s vision was to put in place those things that do not exist today, and he maintained that flag states should try and recapture their ability to authoritatively enforce regulations, a responsibility which has been increasingly taken on by port state control regimes.

Igor Ponomarev, International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), informed INTERTANKO’s delegates of recent and future IACS initiatives, including the drive towards unified scantling requirements. Responding to a question during the discussion, Mr Ponomarev acknowledged the value of the establishment of a permanent industry Technical Committee for IACS.

Bernard Anne, Marine Division, Bureau Veritas (BV), suggested several ways in which tankers could be made safer in his presentation ‘Robust visions for robust tankers’. Among other suggestions, he advocated the use of fatigue analysis, vibration analysis and the possible introduction of a class-administered shaft alignment system.

Dr Donald Liu, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), envisaged safer, stronger and more environmentally friendly tankers than those of today. He looked ahead to the next significant incident and predicted that the politicians’ legislative fervour would next extend to the mandating of ship redundancy: duplicated engine rooms, steering gears, propellers, rudders, navigation systems and collision bulkheads. ‘‘It is very easy to see the appeal to a regulator of this redundancy approach,’’ he said. “If an Amoco Cadiz happened today, there is no doubt in my mind that the regulators would legislate for redundancy.”

Fotis Karamitsos of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and Transport spoke from the legislator’s point of view. The Commission is working towards the establishment of an EU-wide European Maritime Safety Agency and hopes to have this accomplished by June 2002. Karamitsos called for greater transparency of flag state surveys and an IMO-led revision of the Civil Liability Conventions (CLC) governing compensation in the event of an oil spill. Looking forward he said that implementation and control of existing rules and global solutions were key items on the Commission’s agenda. During the subsequent discussion, Mr Karamitsos agreed on the need for the establishment of a competent regional and thereafter international mechanism for accident investigation.

Rear Admiral Paul Pluta, Security and Environmental Protection, US Coast Guard (USCG), provided an update on US activities in the realm of maritime and port security. Two different bills are currently working their way through the US Congress at the moment. USCG is contributing to the discussion and has pressed for compatibility with the developments within IMO. He also supported Fotis Karamitsos’s vision for global solutions and stated that with the impact of 11 September the maritime environment required a major cultural change. Adml. Pluta repeated the USCG’s desire to develop workable security measures in co-operation with industry partners.

Robert Seward, The Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association, explained the workings and principles of the CLC and Fund Conventions of 1969 and 1992, and expressed the view, shared by INTERTANKO, that the compensation regimes should not be used as a means of punishing people or as in incentive for preventing incidents. “The present system works extremely well as a compensation regime, which is what it was designed to do. If there is a requirement to punish, then the correct way to do that would be separately, possibly through the criminal courts,” he said.

Captain Rein von Gooswilligen, Dutch Pilotage Corporation, discussed the difficulties of liberalising pilotage, an experiment which has been tried in at least three countries - Argentina, Russia and Australia. “We must strike a balance between price and service rendered. We need efficiency within the sector and of course we want it to be innovative,” he said. A navigational instrument for the shipping industry is being developed and the European Maritime Pilots’ Association is amongst those involved. The system consists mainly of a laptop computer and could be connected to ships’ systems as well as receiving input from shore stations. With the optional ‘pilot plug’ Mr Gooswilligen suggested that the system could be called a total Portable Pilot Unit (PPU) concept.

Eco Matser, Head of Toxics Campaign, Greenpeace, spoke of the environmental hazards of ship scrapping on the beaches of countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China and urged owners to take actions to make these activities safer, both for workers and the environment. He urged the industry to find solutions to ensure vessels were gas free before the recycling process, and all unwanted hazardous materials removed before the last voyage.

Dimitris Lyras, Paralos Shipping Corporation, concluded the session by saying that transparency began at home and compared achieving transparency to achieving disarmament. Like disarmament transparency was a step-by-step process with the paramount target of eliminating any possibility of unfair advantage. Reciprocity at each step of the process was required. Transparency needed to be measured on the basis of the added benefit to all stakeholders. His vision was that transparency must be dealt with by the entire industry through the promotion of a proper culture and through proper quantitative evaluation so that transparency could eventually be achieved.