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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hellenic Forum meet in Athens

INTERTANKO’s Hellenic Forum met this week in Athens. As a mark of respect to the architect of the Hellenic Forum, Captain Erric Kertsikoff, the meeting observed a minute’s silence before embarking on its agenda. The Forum proceeded by unanimously electing Mr Nicholas Fistes of Ceres Hellenic as Chairman before opening discussions on a host of issues including INTERTANKO’s post-Prestige activity, a review of the latest EU developments and an update of the various activities within INTERTANKO’s current work programme.

Discussions at the Forum began with an overview of INTERTANKO’s activities since the last meeting given by Peter Swift including a discussion of recent activities and developments in Bosphorus transits and delays. A summary of EU developments since the Prestige incident was given by INTERTANKO’s Brussels consultant, Ketil Djønne, who explained the actions that the Commission and other European bodies had undertaken since the event. He described, in particular, the extraordinary political situation given the vigorous involvement of the various MemberStates and politicians within these States.  Addressing the Prestige accident, Mr Stephen Askins of Ince & Co summarised the chronology of the events prior to and post the first ingress of water and the challenges that the media interest presented. In the ensuing discussion the Forum discussed the reasons for the incident and the need for places of refuge, media response and increased transparency within the industry. Mr Vordonis of Thenamaris Ship Management, in an impromptu and entertaining presentation, spoke of the need to understand the basis of stakeholder opinion in an event such as this and an alternative approach to informing and sharing key information and in turn influencing political and regulatory thinking in times such as these. The meeting noted that the Tanker Event in Washington, DC next month would include a further opportunity to discuss the Prestige incident and its aftermath with Stephen Askins and many others.

Insurance Committee Chairman, Mr Ken Marshall, introduced the latest developments in insurance matters, concentrating principally on war, terrorism and liability issues. Here again it was noted that these topics would be further discussed at the Council meeting and the AGM in Washington.

Other issues covered by the Forum included oil major and terminal vetting, OCIMF’s proposals to assess the management systems of ship operating companies, the impact of US structural and organisational changes on the average most probable discharge (AMPD) spill requirements, proposed new US regulations on salvage and firefighting,  and international securities issues. The Secretariat pointed out the potential cost implications for members of the latter three items and INTERTANKO’s efforts to moderate, limit and, where practical, to exclude these.

The Forum is due to meet again in the autumn although it has been recommended by the members that technical and legal/insurers seminars be staged in Greece between now and the next meeting, with the possibility that one of these seminars could coincide with the next meeting

Contact: Peter Swift or Svein Ringbakken