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Saturday, November 17, 2018

INTERTANKO bids farewell to Chairman Van Dyck as its new Chairman sets out his vision for INTERTANKO

With the retirement of INTERTANKO’s Chairman, Stephen Van Dyck, INTERTANKO’s Council this week confirmed the appointment of Nick Fistes as the new Chairman of INTERTANKO. Fistes received a letter of warm congratulations from Thimio Mitropoulos, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization.


Fistes expressed his thanks to Van Dyck from the Executive Committee and Council, from the Secretariat, from INTERTANKO’s members and associate members, and from the tanker industry as a whole. With Van Dyck at the helm, INTERTANKO has flourished, grown and gained strength. Over the last three years, deadweight in INTERTANKO has risen by one third and the number of ships by one fifth, from 229 members with 2,198 tankers of 165m deadweight in January 2004 to 260 members with 2,650 tankers of over 220 m deadweight in January this year. In 2006 alone INTERTANKO gained 20 new full members with 181 tankers of 14.2m deadweight.


Van Dyck’s vision of a respected industry committed to continuous improvement and proactively shaping its own future became an industry vision. “His vitality, energy and commitment set an example to us all – and made him a hard act to follow,” said Fistes. “My personal thanks and appreciation go to him for his hard work and his achievements, leaving me an organisation that is ready to reach even higher. When we all work together, forgetting our personal agendas and striving for the common good, we can achieve any target, even those challenges that appear impossible to achieve on one’s own.”


INTERTANKO Managing Director Dr Peter Swift spoke at the Association’s Annual Dinner of the long journey that Van Dyck had travelled as Chairman of INTERTANKO since Dubai in 2004. He expressed his special personal thanks, as well as those of the entire Secretariat, for all the support and encouragement they had received from Van Dyck throughout his tenure, and spoke of his tremendous commitment for the betterment of the Tanker Industry, while noting that his undemanding style had been especially appreciated.


He referred to the improved health of the Association, the very significant growth in membership and stronger financial position of INTERTANKO, much of which he said was attributable to Van Dyck. He further observed that the Chairman had consumed more than 6,000 business cards in three years, which was probably a good measure of at least the number of contacts he had made during his period in office. Peter also paid tribute to the supporting role played by Stephen's wife, Janice, and thanked her for loaning him to the Association, while noting that during his long absences she had successfully completed her first novel - the O'Malley Trilogy - and wished her well with the second.


Fistes set out his vision for his chairmanship of INTERTANKO. This encompasses a) membership involvement; b) the human element; c) industry image; d) expansion of the Poseidon Challenge.


I want actively to encourage the wider involvement of our membership in INTERTANKO’s work,” he said. Firstly, by fostering a greater awareness of the vital work our committees do in protecting and furthering the interests of our members, and in providing technical back-up to our Council as it formulates the Association’s policies. Secondly, by ensuring a greater involvement of, and commitment from, INTERTANKO’s 120 Council members. “This is the governing body of the Association. We want its voice to be heard.” INTERTANKO is keen to utilise its most valuable resource, the vast pool of experience and expertise of its members, out of which come on the one hand the broad general knowledge and experience of Council and Executive Committee members, and on the other hand the deep specialist knowledge and experience of Committee members.


The last few years have seen a massive investment by the tanker owners in new ships. Almost USD 50bn last year alone. But without a parallel investment in human resources, the hardware investment may lose some of its gloss. INTERTANKO has been encouraging its members to provide cadet berths on their ships, and to provide for such accommodation when designing newbuildings. Fistes encourages the provision of training facilities on ships – desks, chairs, manuals, DVD equipment. “The easiest way to get seafarers’ attention is when they are at sea, not when they are ashore during their precious leave time,” he says. Instead of teaching ashore, training officers would join the ships for training trips. Onboard training is a step closer to implementation, making sure that crews are not only trained but that they can apply what they learn in on-job training. The ship is the best environment to ensure that training is effective and procedures are implemented. “I applaud the creation and work programme of INTERTANKO’s new Human Element in Shipping Committee,” says Fistes, “one of whose main aims is to promote the availability and utilisation of personnel with the highest quality skills and competence.” Providing quality training is part of attracting and retaining the best people to run and maintain the industry’s valuable assets. The best insurance policy we can have for these assets is a secure future supply of good seafarers.


European Commissioner Joe Borg (Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs) told Fistes recently that he is pleased to see what INTERTANKO has been doing to improve the image of the tanker industry. “But it is not enough,” says Fistes. George Livanos used to ‘make’ officers be members’ of Helmepa (the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association). Already, many of today’s young officers are members voluntarily. “Even so, it’s hard to change people’s minds – the mind of the man in the street, the mind of the politician. But I want to change the minds of our children, the future society. The tanker industry has a great story to tell. We should not be shy to tell it.” His idea is that INTERTANKO’s regional panels could provide a great local launch pad for such an initiative, reaching out to school children and students all over the world. If we can, through the schools of our children, make our society aware of what we do and how we do it, if we can ensure our future supply of quality seafarers, if we can get our future seafarers and shore staff involved, then we will be several steps nearer to achieving our Poseidon Challenge goals.


It is now three years since the Poseidon Challenge was born during our Athens Tanker Event and Singapore hosted the first Poseidon Challenge Day a year ago. The second Poseidon Challenge Day is being staged in Houston this week. This initiative has a vision – that of inspiring individuals and their companies to set, and achieve, new goals of excellence as they work, together with other shipping sectors, to achieve the ambitious zero goals for deaths, pollution and detentions. It is not a quick fix, but a long-term part of people’s work programmes. It is about learning from the past and embracing change. It is not about talking; it is about walking the talk. “We have had good support from INTERTANKO’s members,” says Fistes, “but I would like to see every one of them actively sharing the Poseidon vision – not only in their offices but also through our local society and most important on board the ships.”


With the team that we have in place on our ExCom, on our committees, on our regional panels and in our extremely dedicated Secreteriat, our engagements with our future challenges will be successful,” says Fistes. “INTERTANKO has achieved enormous benefits for its members and for our industry. We at INTERTANKO have to lead. We have to excel. This is our destiny.


The Council also reaffirmed the Association’s strategy in approaching the revision of MARPOL’s Annex VI on air pollution. It believes that the realisation by many states that switching to distillate fuels is a viable solution to provide a significant and early reduction in the major elements of air emissions from ships, vindicated the decision to bring this alternative to the attention of the IMO Working Group. The Council encouraged INTERTANKO to continue its work in recommending this solution at the IMO and elsewhere.


The Association’s senior governing body also considered and endorsed the Early Warning System being set up by the International Association of Classification Societies to ensure an adequate exchange of confidential information between class societies on incidents of hull failure which are considered to have endangered ship, crew or environment and where sister or similar ships could be at risk. INTERTANKO believes that such a proactive move to prevent incidents by authorising the release of information on such failures will be beneficial in avoiding casualties.


Contact: Bill Box