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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tanker incidents steady but fatalities sharply down

INTERTANKO has recorded 64 tanker incidents the first half of 2005, the same as in the first half of 2004.  Most of the incidents have involved only minor damage and no pollution, injuries or fatalities.

The biggest pollution incident appears to be a Chinese tanker carrying 3,800 tonnes of diesel oil that was in collision in fog and poor visibility with a container ship 2nd July. Some 3,500 tonnes of oil may have escaped about 5 miles from Dalian port.

The marine ecosystem in Thailand's upper southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan was also reported to have been affected by a 1,750 dwt oil tanker Big Sea 5 which capsized in rough seas four kilometres from the coastline of a national park. The vessel was found by local fisheries and marine resource officials, as they prepared to create an artificial coral reef.

57% of the incidents reported involved tankers below 30,000 dwt, a natural state of afairs as these tankers operate mainly in enclosed waters with many port calls.  Many of these small tankers also trade locally and  therefore may not necessarily be obliged operate according to full international trading standards.

Smaller spills include a suezmax tanker spilling oil off Egypt after reporting a collision with an unknown vessel. In April a 1987-built aframax spilt some 50 tonnes of oil at Kipevu oil jetty in Mombasa and a 1984-built panamax oil tanker was reported to have touched bottom after departing Cartagena - as a result of damage to the hull an unknown quantity of oily bilge water leaked from the vessel.

In May we recorded three pollution incidents. A suezmax was involved in a collision in the Gulf of Oman with about 800 cubic metres of oil cargo spilt.  A Vietnamese oil tanker sank after being in collision with another vessel, spilling diesel off the country's southern coast near Dai Hung oilfield. The tanker, went down with a cargo of 100 tons of diesel oil after being in collision with a 2000-built 35,268 dwt chemical/oil tanker. An oil spill appeared near the crash site. Lastly oil leakage from a 1982 built product tanker was reported in the new port of Dalian. All the cleaning-up work was completed in about two hours, the source said. The “aging part of the tanker hull” was blamed for the leakage, the source added.

We have received reports of 9 fatalities onboard 4 tankers in the first half of 2005 compared to 43 the first half of 2004.  The most serious was the recent explosion onboard Tradewind Sunrise during repairs, which killed four people. Two fishermen drowned when a trawler collided with a tanker in April. Two crewmembers were killed in connection with an explosion and fire in the forecastle of a chemical tanker in January. An engineer died and two other crewmembers were injured when the 1982-built product tanker Basaveshwara caught fire at NewMangalorePort in May.

We have received reports on 20 hull and machinery incidents of which only one was hull related; 7 were main engine plus one engine shaft and one engine bearing problem; 2 were electrical incidents; and two high profile cases with new U.S.-built tankers with cracks in their rudders.  There are probably several incidents that were never reported as the damage falls below the level of insurance deductibles and the problems were fixed by the operator.

More than 40% of the reported incidents were collisions and contacts.  In previous years such incidents have never exceeded 35% of the total.  Grounding and collisions together were however about the same level as last year or about half the number of incidents.

Looking back it is encouraging for the tanker industry that the number of incidents remain at a low level despite the high activity in the market. One may argue that the above graph shows no improvement over the last five years.  However, maintaining the same low incident level during increased activity does actually mean a improvement. The trade in tonne miles in 2005 is estimated by Fearnleys to be some 15% higher than in 2001. It is also well-known that continuous improvement requires more resources as one reaches higher quality and safety levels.

Contact: Erik Ranheim