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Friday, March 23, 2018


INTERTANKO representatives met this week with the Cotton Club to address topics of major importance to tanker owners, including the current problems caused by inconsistent and apparently uncoordinated US policies on crew visa requirements, the need to ratify Annex VI, the diverse proposals for ballast water management and the threat posed by the USCG NPRM on Salvage and Marine Firefighting Requirements.

With the present grave uncertainties surrounding the crew-list visa system, INTERTANKO urged action to specifically improve the issuance of individual visas on a timely and affordable basis, to guarantee the validity of a visa for multiple entries over a reasonable period (say 12 months) and the flexibility for the seafarer to transfer between vessels under the same management. Examples were provided of recent problems encountered, including the detention of crew members with valid visas, the denial of shore leave, and the cost and liability issues associated with the provision of armed guards.


In stressing the need for nations, including the US, to ratify Annex VI in order to avoid a plethora of national and regional legislation, INTERTANKO highlighted again that there was the potential for major machinery failures and increased safety risks if tankers were required to switch between onboard fuel supplies to comply with local limits on sulphur content in bunker fuels and/or to meet local engine emission regulations. Additionally INTERTANKO highlighted that owners’ investments in engines with significantly lower NOx emission levels, in ships delivered since 2000, could be seriously jeopardised if Annex VI was not ratified. Further, in recognition of the fact that over the past 5 years, since Annex VI first emerged from the IMO, there have been considerable changes in engine emission reduction standards and sulphur levels in fuels, provisions already exist for Annex VI to be modified after Entry in to Force. In summary INTERTANKO requested support to ensure that a global standard was put in place as quickly as possible, with the possibility of further revision in due course should that be deemed desirable.


Acknowledging that individual states and indeed now even local communities were preparing additional legislation to “control” invasive species from ballast water, the INTERTANKO representatives were informed of US developments including possible appropriations to fund further research. Here again INTERTANKO highlighted the importance of establishing standards through the IMO, and sought specific support within the proposed IMO Convention to exempt vessels on short or coastal voyages, as well as those that have invested and partaken in research in treatment technology prior to the Convention entering into force.


The opportunity of the meeting was also taken to highlight INTERTANKO’s opposition to the proposals contained in the USCG NPRM on Salvage and Marine Fireghting Requirements. These effectively place the whole burden of including, in revised Vessel Response Plans, contractual pre-arrangements with providers for salvage and firefighting – at an estimated cost in excess of USD500 million – on tanker owners.


Contact: Peter Swift, on e-mail: