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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Open Session – ‘Tanker Safety in US Waters’

Chaired by Jonathan Benner (Troutman Sanders), the session focused on the overall safety of tankers trading in US waters, and pollution prevention.

Admiral Paul Pluta (Assistant Commandant of the US Coast Guard for Marine and Environmental Protection

) stressed that although Maritime Security in the US had a high priority this did not detract from the safety and environmental protection goals of the US Coast Guard. Admiral Pluta highlighted the successes of OPA as well as the US legislative interest regarding the recent Prestige incident. He concluded his remarks focusing on the time and effort being put in by the security personnel and his staff working day and night to meet the July 2004 Interim Final Rule and November Final Rule deadlines imposed by the US Maritime Security Act of 2002.

Tom Allegretti (President of the American Waterways Operators

), recalled that oil spills during towage had seen a reduction due to double-hulled barges. However, he stated that the industry was one accident away from a terrible public image and the challenge for the future would be to maintain the continued absence of accidents.

Capt Watson (President, American Pilots Association & Vice President International Maritime Pilotage Association

) stated that APA/IMPA enjoyed a good relationship with INTERTANKO and the APA was working in partnership with the USCG for continued security. However, despite criticisms from the industry the statistics spoke for themselves regarding the high standards of safety within the US. Whilst acknowledging this success had been collectively achieved Capt Watson claimed there were still several challenges confronting pilots. These included:
  1. Poorly trained crews - it was claimed that the APA had seen no improvements in training since the implementation of STCW 95 or the ISM Code.
  2. Overworked and fatigued crews
  3. Ships’ officers distracted from navigation by paperwork
  4. Conflicting expectations of pilotage
  5. Descriptions of the pilot’s role different to national law
  6. Malfunctioning equipment
  7. Bridge team not trained in the use of the advanced navigation equipment and technology. (The latest equipment does not do what it says it does and frequently breaks down but American pilots are trained to recognise the limitations of the new equipment.)
  8. Modern bridge designs are not ergonomic.

Capt Watson concluded that the APA was disappointed at what was perceived as an anti-pilot agenda from INTERTANKO through IMO in London. INTERTANKO responded that this was not an anti-pilot campaign. The aims of APA and INTERTANKO were the same – that of enhanced safety during pilotage. INTERTANKO noted, however, that there were also challenges that faced the Master during, and immediately prior to, the act of pilotage, the main one being the flow of information from the pilot and advance notification of simple information such as tugs, berth, current and tidal data to assist the Master in planning his passage to the berth.

Bill Gray, President of Gray Maritime

, gave an overview of the recently published updated INTERTANKO Port and Terminal Safety (PTS) Study. The PTS Study was originally conducted in 1996 in cooperation with the US Coast Guard as part of the INTERTANKO responsibility chain. The 2002 version included the 1996 edition as an attachment to the document. Mr Grey outlined the original reasons for INTERTANKO undertaking the PTS study in 1996 and discussed the 2002 update. The update reviewed the successes and progress since the original undertaking. Mr Grey also indicated that the 2002 Port and Terminal safety Study (PTS) points out the continued need for improvement in ageing infrastructure, improvements in navigation channels, increased waste reception facilities, expansion of the PORTS project and increased charting surveys.

Captain Jacobsen (President Jacobsen Pilots Service

) gave an overview of the service supplied in Long Beach California.