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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

INTERTANKO stresses open and honest discussions at Madrid briefings

The aftermath of the Prestige incident dominated the well-attended briefings with the Spanish and Portuguese members, associate members, press and TV in Madrid this week. MD Peter Swift, Sally Woulfe, Regional Manager for Spain and Portugal, and Anders Baardvik, Executive Officer, represented the secretariat.

Major concerns expressed were that any new measures must be subject to thorough analyses and impact studies before being introduced and that all regulations must be international. Among several key issues outlined by MD Peter Swift in his presentation was the need to learn from accidents. Referring to the Castor as an example, he reiterated the importance of establishing places of refuge as a matter of urgency and that they must play an integral part in all emergency response planning. The INTERTANKO MD condemned the detention of the Prestige Master by the Spanish authorities in a high security prison. However, throughout the briefings, Mr Swift stressed that it was important not to attribute blame for the Prestige accident. Open and honest discussions should take place to ensure the industry and regulators learned lessons from this unfortunate accident.

A copy of Peter Swift’s presentation can be found on INTERTANKO’s web site.

A copy of INTERTANKO’s press briefing with comments to the European measures proposed after the Prestige accident can be viewed on the INTERTANKO web site.

INTERTANKO, the associations of the Spanish Shipowners (ANAVE) and of the European Union (ECSA) also met Subsecretario de Fomento (Vice-Minister for Transport Services) Adolfo Menéndez to exchange views about the Prestige accident and the regulatory initiatives on the oil tanker market taken by Spain and the European Union.

The discussions were open and constructive. The three associations expressed their deep regret for the accident and subsequent pollution and their solidarity with the harmed persons and the efforts that all the authorities were doing to address the situation. They also offered their collaboration and expertise to facilitate decisions of the national and EU authorities to improve safety. Due to the international character of shipping, any new measures would be better implemented at international level through IMO and, therefore, any EU measure should be proposed in parallel to IMO for possible adoption. Moreover, the industry needed a stable regulatory framework; for instance, frequent amendments of the time schedule for the phasing out of single-hulled tankers could be counterproductive for investment. In any case, the sector would like to be consulted on any intended measure, and the economic impact on society and the industry should be evaluated.

More specifically, on the Prestige accident, INTERTANKO, ANAVE and ECSA informed Subsecretario Menéndez that the industry believes that a full report on the accident will create a good discussion basis for drawing lessons for the future.

Contact: Peter Swift