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Monday, September 24, 2018

Media viewpoint

It's fascinating watching the mainstream (non-shipping) media to see which issues and themes they pick up on when they occasionally do write about the tanker and shipping industries. 

Criminalisation is an issue that preoccupies us as an industry, but even with a tanker master detained in Spain for months and months without trial and the Prestige as background, the mainstream media have never really picked up this issue and run with it. On the other hand, the improving record of the industry is too much good news and not sensational enough. 

So what does make an attractive story for the big international newspapers and magazines? Pollution! Detentions! Delaware River … Buzzard's Bay … rust buckets! A recent lunch with a Sunday Times journalist led us to the conclusion that the Poseidon Challenge needs to be approached from a more sensational or controversial angle to attract coverage in this sort of newspaper … but when he brought up the subject of a tanker involved in a messy oil over the side affair, we were suddenly being asked for more information than we cared to divulge. 

But there have been some constructive moves. There has been considerable media interest over war risk cover in the Malacca Straits with a flood of questions from mainstream journalists as well as from the shipping ones. A perceived threat to the delivery flow that the shipping industry provides, with an added pinch of piracy and a sprinkle of terrorism, generates coverage in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Financial Times, the Times, Le Monde and a number of other newspapers. 

This gives credence to the media strategy of emphasising the near-flawless service that the tanker industry provides to keep the world supplied with its crucial energy needs – without which it would grind to a halt - and by implication what might happen if that service were disrupted or upset. 

Contact: Bill Box