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Friday, March 23, 2018

INTERTANKO MD speaks at ITOPF/INTERTANKO international seminar on oil spill preparedness, response and compensation

Tanker safety and the protection of the marine environment are dependent on understanding and cooperation between all parties involved in tanker shipping, said INTERTANKO MD Peter Swift at an ITOPF international seminar on spill preparedness, response and compensation.

Swift’s paper ‘All in the Same Boat’ went on to say that words are easy, whereas it is actions that require the real will to cooperate. This starts with the ship owners, he says, who accept that they have the primary responsibility for their ships, but who also recognise that they are dependent on the performance of others in the chain of responsibility.

This responsibility has involved the tanker owners in increasingly proactive action, extending their dialogue with other parties in the chain – engaging with class and shipbuilders in re-examining design standards for newbuildings; working with pilots to increase information exchange;  checking safety at oil terminals through a terminal vetting programme; and conducting discussions with investor interests, P&I and hull underwriters towards more effective involvement in the campaign to remove the remaining substandard elements that prejudice safety and environmental protection.

Swift also pointed to the relationship with regulators and legislators. He reminded delegates that this is a two-way partnership where responsibility is shared. While owners are expected to shoulder the blame for tanker accidents, he highlights the ‘woeful failure of many states, frequently in violation of their legal responsibilities’ to provide adequate and affordable reception facilities, and to ratify Conventions and Protocols adopted at IMO.

He challenged the tanker industry not only to minimise the risk of accidents but also to mitigate the effects when they do happen, through preparing physical accident response as well as response to public, political and media interest. Referring to the “Communication Chain” linking the shipping industry with the public, politicians and the non-shipping media, he suggested that this involves educating and informing those who have influence so as to minimise the inevitable negative response. 

Click here to view Dr Swift’s PowerPoint presentation and text.

Contact: Peter Swift