Chemical carrier accident investigations – INTERTANKO position

As members will be aware, INTERTANKO has been fully involved in the Inter-Industry Group (IIG) discussions and meetings regarding accidents on chemical tankers and small products tankers. The reports from the IIG have been submitted to the IMO (see INTERTANKO Weekly NEWS No. 5/2006 of 3 February 2006. 

Click here for Study on incidents of explosions on chemical and product tankers - Report of the activities of the Inter-Industry Working Group (IIWG) of 27 January 2006 

Click here for Study on incidents of explosions on chemical and product tankers -

Report of the activities of the Inter-Industry Working Group (IIWG): Incident Review Analysis dated 9 February 2006 

INTERTANKO has endorsed these reports and supports their findings and conclusions. 

INTERTANKO’s members and committees have subsequently been actively engaged in the review of the reports from the IIG, and the following provides a brief overview of the development of INTERTANKO’s position. 

Prior to the submission to IMO the issue was circulated and discussed within the INTERTANKO Executive Committee and INTERTANKO's Chemical Tanker Committee (CTC)/ Chemical Tanker Sub-Committee – Americas (CTSCA) in October 2005. The conclusions to these discussions were as follows:

 a/ Newbuildings

INTERTANKO will support the fitting of appropriate inert gas systems to newbuildings and discussions regarding a reduction in the inert gas deadweight cut-off applications.

b/ Existing Ships

INTERTANKO is willing to discuss the fitting of appropriate inert gas systems to existing ships subject to the findings of a full impact assessment. 

During its meeting in February 2006 the INTERTANKO Executive Committee reviewed the IMO submission from the IIG. The Executive Committee noted that, with the human element cited as the main reason for the incidents, then quite plausibly "manning issues” such as training and manning levels were an underlying cause. There was, however, also unanimous support from the Executive Committee for the recommendation to amend SOLAS to provide for the fitting of inert gas systems to new oil tankers of less than 20,000 dwt and new chemical tankers. There was also strong support to extend the fitting of inert gas systems to existing products and chemical tankers that are currently exempt, and for this message to be communicated accordingly.  

At the combined meeting of the CTC/CTSCA) in Houston in March 2006, the submissions from the IIG were also reviewed. As a result of their deliberations the CTC and CTSCA  greed to propose to the INTERTANKO Council that: 

·          the future requirement for inert gas (IG/IGG/N2 as appropriate) should be simplified with regard to its application to both new and existing vessels. 

·          the best way to achieve a simplified requirement for inert gas (IG/IGG/N2 as appropriate) would be to apply it (via SOLAS amendments) to the cargo rather than to the current ship type, which would ensure a uniform application across both new and existing vessels.  

·          the effects of the human element aspects need to be further evaluated, manning levels should be reviewed and an assessment of behaviour-based training systems should be undertaken. 

Accordingly, the Executive Committee and CTC/CTSCA recommendations were made to the INTERTANKO Council at its Singapore meeting in March where they were discussed fully. Consequently Council agreed that the INTERTANKO position should be as follows: 

·         INTERTANKO supports the principle of applying the requirement for inert gas (IG/IGG/N2 as appropriate) to existing ships in parallel with new ships

·         INTERTANKO supports the logic of applying the requirement for inert gas on chemical carriers to the cargo(es) being carried (i.e the product rather than the ship)

·         INTERTANKO recognises the importance of the human element aspects and supports the continuation of further studies on these aspects. 

We hope that this keeps members advised of the INTERTANKO position as endorsed by the INTERTANKO Council. 

Contact: Howard Snaith