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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Environmental protection requires good ships, good people and good regulation

Good ships, good people and good regulation are three key components to protect the marine environment, said INTERTANKO Managing Director Dr. Peter Swift at the Eighth Russian Maritime Register seminar in St Petersburg this week.  

In his comments on “Marine Environment Safety Management” he stressed the importance of partnerships in achieving the shared goals of zero accidents and zero pollution. His presentation covered the growing interdependence of Russia and Europe on oil and oil shipments and the ever-improving performance of the tanker industry.  

At the same time he noted the need to record and analyse all serious incidents and near-misses in order to better understand and address root causes and to use this information to avoid major accidents. Good regulation, he said, should be fit for purpose and aimed at covering specific issues or problems and should not be accident driven or overly retroactive. The views of responsible stakeholders should be taken in to account when new rules or regulations are being developed and their impact and ramifications fully assessed. Since shipping was a global business it was also essential that new regulations should be fully compatible with customary International (Maritime) Law. Finally, he said, for regulations to be effective when implemented they should be applied uniformly and fairly in all jurisdictions. “In striving for zero”, he made reference to INTERTANKO’s Poseidon Challenge and encouraged all partners in the chain of responsibility to commit to continuous improvement. 

Swift’s presentation can be viewed on the INTERTANKO web site at: 

INTERTANKO’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Joe Angelo, was also invited to give a presentation entitled “Challenges facing the tanker industry.” 

His concern at the possible negative safety implications of some legislation and enforcement actions focused on three items. First, the enactment of Canada’s Bill C-15, which may result in penalties, even in the absence of fault on the part of individual crew members, and could result in a ship’s master being charged for the criminal actions of his subordinates. Second, the imposition by the European Directive on Ship-source Pollution of criminal sanctions against seafarers in the case of purely accidental incidents. Third, the enforcement/boarding tactics used by the U.S. authorities when attempting to prosecute a case. 

Angelo emphasised the lack of commitment by flag states, coastal states and port states in ratifying and implementing new requirements and guidelines; in particular the failure of some countries to provide adequate reception facilities, the possibility of unilateral action over ballast water management, and the identification of places of refuge.

He also focused on unilateral action in the U.S. on ballast water management (where standards will exceed IMO regulations) and air pollution (where standards will exceed MARPOL Annex VI.  

Angelo’s presentation can be viewed on the INTERTANKO web site at: 

Present at the seminar were senior maritime administration officials from the Russian Federation, the Baltic and other EuropeanStates, Australia and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as representatives of the European Commission, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and leading classification societies. 

All presentations from the seminar will be available in Russian and English on the Russian Maritime Register website: 

ContactsPeter Swift;Joe Angelo