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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Key decisions from the INTERTANKO Council meeting

At its meeting in Amsterdam 27-28 October 2004, the INTERTANKO Council discussed a variety of issues, including a possible revision of the international regime on oil spill liability and compensation, election to the Executive Committee and revised membership criteria. Some of the key decisions included:

Revision of the International Regime on Oil Spill Liability and Compensation - as reported in last weeks Weekly NEWS the Council discussed the possible revision of the CLC and Fund Conventions. In brief, the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC) established a Working Group in 2000 to consider the issue of a possible revision to the regime. This has so far resulted in the establishment of a Supplementary Fund and the so-called STOPIA – Small Tanker Oil Pollution Indemnification Agreement. However, there are still efforts made by those who favour a fundamental review of the regime while INTERTANKO would like to keep key features of the current regime intact. The Council supported the work of the Insurance and Legal Committee and renewed its mandate to:

  1. Preserve the fundamental features of the CLC & FC regime, namely: channelling of liability to the registered owner, strict but limited liability of the owner and an equitable sharing in the costs of spills between owners and oil receivers.
  2. STOPIA is the preferred voluntary undertaking from the shipowners’ side. However INTERTANKO, together with other shipowning interests, would be prepared to work in good faith with other industry parties to find other solutions on the sharing issue to avoid governments forcing a re-opening and revision of the CLC, which would be detrimental to shipowners’ interests.
  3. Should an alternative voluntary undertaking be offered from the shipowners’ side then the STOPIA proposal would clearly be expected to be taken off the table as the co-existence of STOPIA and other sharing alternatives could seriously distort the balance in shipowners’ disfavour.

Massachusetts Oil Spill Response legislation – following an accidental spill by a tanker barge in Buzzards Bay in April 2003, the State of Massachusetts adopted a law which subjects tanker owners to local taxes, heavy fines and local regulations that are in conflict with federal regulations. INTERTANKO has joined forces with the US Coast Guard and the American Waterways Operators (AWO) in efforts to delay enforcement of the law while attempts are made to find solutions that minimise legal and practical risks subsequent to enactment of the statutes.

The Council endorsed the proposal that INTERTANKO calls upon the USCG to intervene with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through litigation if necessary, to assert federal regulation of maritime commerce. Should the USCG fail to take such action, the Council agreed that INTERTANKO should continue to be supportive to an industry lead initiation of litigation before the appropriate United States District Court to invalidate the Massachusetts’ provisions. One possibility will be that INTERTANKO will not be among those filing for the law suit against Massachusetts but could file an amicus curie.

The Executive Committee will be authorised to consider the appropriate action, when and if such an action is deemed necessary, and extra costs in case of an industry initiated litigation will be addressed if such a situation would occur.

Goal Based Standards (GBS) and IACS Common Rules for Tankers - The Council noted and agreed with the INTERTANKO policy for the development of goal based standards for newbuildings. The Council stressed that although INTERTANKO supports the initiatives within the IMO on goal based standards, these should be seen as an evolution of the design concept rather than a consequence of current tankers being substandard. The excellent safety record of tankers is a proof of the good quality but, since there is no international standard for the design and construction of ships, sometimes owners are obliged to impose a better standard on designers and builders. Goal based standards required by IMO, which will include a good common IACS regulation for ship design, would help tighten some of the loopholes of the current regime.

The Council recommended that INTERTANKO should therefore:

  • give full support to the developments and be actively involved as guided by ISTEC
  • suggest development as soon as possible but allow time to develop common rules rather than compromise the quality of the final regulations
  • promote acceptance of the Joint Tanker Project (JTP)  common rules by all IACS members. INTERTANKO should acknowledge that the JTP common rules form a good beginning and that the common rules should be subject to a continuous process for improvement.

The Council agreed in principle that the INTERTANKO Safety and Technical Committee (ISTEC) should consider developing a reference manual for a standard maintenance programme as a guide for the industry. This is now required as part of the OCIMF’s Tanker Management Self Assessment guide and, as suggested by many Administrations, it would be a criterion of the GBS.

Election to the Executive Committee – the Council supported the nomination of Mr. Michio Tamiya as a new member of the Executive Committee. Mr. Tamiya is the Managing Director of NYK Line’s Representative Office in London and will be replacing Mr. Kuniaki Shirakuma as a representative for our Japanese members on the Executive Committee. INTERTANKO would like to thank Mr. Shirakuma for his contributions and at the same time welcome Mr. Tamiya to his new post.

New Council members – the Council also welcomed the following new members elected since the last meeting in Dubai:

Mr. David C. C. Koo, Valles Steamship (Canada) Ltd. – Canada

Mr. Tadaaki Naito, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha Ltd. – Japan

Mr. Michio Tamiya, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha Ltd. – Japan

Mr. Kenji Asada, Iino Kaiun Kaisha Ltd – Japan

Mr. Sergey N. Burima, Primorsk Shipping Corporation – Russia

Mr. Jagasdisa Santhanam, Varun Shipping Company Ltd. – India

Mr. Jens Ismar, Bergesen d.y. ASA - Norway

Mr. Hans Jørgen Firing, Iver Ships AS – Norway

New members and associate members – the Council reviewed and approved the following companies as full members:

Harren & Partners Shipmanagement GmbH & Co. KG – Germany

Gungen Maritime and Trading AS – Turkey

“K” Line Pte. Ltd. – Singapore

Gulf Energy Maritime (GEM) PJSC – Dubai

The Council also approved the following new associate members:

Advanced Productions and Loading A/S - Norway

Associated Shipbroking S.A.M. - Monaco

Falcon Shipping and Travel UK Ltd. – United Kingdom

Henriot Finance Ltd. - Russia

Indian Oil Corporation Limited - India

International Business Solutions - Greece

Litasco - Switzerland

Maritax Law Office - Japan

Marlink Schiffahrtskontor GmbH - Germany

Oslo Shipbrokers A.S - Norway

Poseidon Services S.A. - Venezuela

Pt.ArpeniPratamaOcean Line - Indonesia

Sharaf Shipping Agency - Dubai

Southport Maritime Inc. - USA

Split Ship Management - Croatia

Tesoro Maritime Company - USA

New membership criteria – following a recommendation from the Qquest Working Group, the Council endorsed a change in the membership criteria to ensure that all tankers owned or managed by member companies are entered in the membership fleet and taken into account when calculating membership fees. The proposed amendment reads:

Entry with INTERTANKO

All tank vessels* owned by or managed** by an INTERTANKO member or membership applicant, including tank vessels owned/managed by affiliated and associated companies, shall be entered with INTERTANKO.

* A "tank vessel" means any vessel having a gross tonnage of 1000 tons or over which is adapted for the carriage of oil in bulk, petroleum products or other liquids, including all combined bulk/tank vessels such as ore/oil carriers, bulk/oil carriers."

** All eligible tank vessels which are under the technical management of a member shall also be entered with INTERTANKO, unless the management company can supply written confirmation from each owner, or documentary evidence that the owner does not wish to have his vessels entered, and as such does not wish to pay any fee through the management company to INTERTANKO for those vessel(s). There shall be no maximum level of fees payable by a member that has vessels under technical management.

The new membership criteria will be tabled for approval at the Annual General Meeting in Athens next year.

Athens Tanker Event 2005 – the next Council meeting will be held 11-12 April 2005 in conjunction with the Athens Tanker Event 2005.