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Friday, November 16, 2018

Seminar on Challenges for International Shipping in the Year of the Seafarer

On 18 November, INTERTANKO participated in a highly successful seminar addressing the Challenges for International Shipping in the Year of the Seafarer, organised jointly with OCIMF, ITOPF, NAMEPA, Teekay and Transport Canada. Held in Vancouver in association with a number of Executive Committee and Board meetings, the event attracted some 200 members of the shipping and associated industries, as well as government representatives both from Canada and abroad.


The programme addressed the two main topics of ‘Preparedness, Partnership & People’ as well as the ‘2010 Year of the Seafarer’ and included presentations on pollution prevention, liability and response as well as topical issues such as piracy and seafarers' rights.


In a joint presentation on Tanker Standards and Best Practices (click here to view) with David Cotterell of OCIMF, INTERTANKO’s Managing Director Dr Peter Swift emphasised that challenges also represented opportunities, allowing the tanker industry to show how effective preparedness, solid partnerships and cooperation and good people could lead to the very noticeable reduction in incidents over the past decade. Focusing not just on structural and operational improvements on board, but on the human side of shipping, Swift drew attention to areas such as the development of crew competency standards and industry-driven best practice guidelines, leading to ongoing and continuous improvements.


Swift also highlighted that a future challenge would be the maintenance of global legislation and standards on certain environmental issues such as toxic air emissions, ballast water discharges, biofouling and waste disposal, where the impacts are mostly on local communities. In these cases there is frequently great pressure to introduce regional regulations promptly rather than wait for the more time-consuming consensual approach of developing, adopting and implementing international legislation.


He noted, however, that means of accommodating local and regional expectations within international regimes had been found, with for example opt-in / opt-out mechanisms for flag and coastal states on tanker single hull phase-outs, and in oil pollution liability and compensation regimes, in the designation of regional emission control areas, and sensitive and particularly sensitive sea areas. He suggested that further such accommodations, while still creating several problems for ship owners, were still preferable to the introduction of diverse unilateral measures.


INTERTANKO Chairman Capt Graham Westgarth provided a fascinating insight into Teekay's ‘Environmental Initiatives' (click here to view), elaborating on why vessel optimisation at the technical, operational and developmental levels not only provides environmental advantages but also makes good business sense. Talking about tools and designs aimed at reducing CO2, NOx and VOC emissions - such as cargo heating plans and propeller condition tracking among others - Westgarth reiterated that while shipping is already an environmentally friendly form of transport, that does not suggest there are no ways of improving it. The industry's self-regulation by leadership should be encouraged.


On the issue of attracting and retaining quality seafarers (click here to view), Capt Howard Snaith elaborated on the results of consultations with young seafarers under the auspices of last year’s ITF/INTERTANKO Young Seafarers Focus Group (YSFG), drawing particular attention to the issues identified by the group itself which related to the lack of prestige associated with working in the industry; general welfare provisions such as shore access, leave and communications; fears of criminalisation.


In this context, and speaking in general on activities carried out during the 2010 Year of the Seafarer, Joe Espinoza-Ferrey (IMO) emphasised the decision to hold an International Day of the Seafarer on 25 June every year from 2011, in order to commemorate the important contributions made by seafarers the world over.


Contact: Katharina Stanzel