Environmental concerns raised at Solent meeting

Local and regional concerns for the environment, port and ship standards, were among the many items raised by members of the UKs Solent Protection Society (SPS) following a presentation on “Tanker Shipping Today” by INTERTANKO Managing Director Dr Peter Swift (click here for slides).


Swift spoke of the industrys objective of providing safe, secure, reliable and efficient shipping; illustrating its recent outstanding performance, together with its commitment to continuous improvement while striving for its goals of zero fatalities, zero pollution and zero detentions.


He highlighted that the three principal challenges facing all of the shipping industry, namely the maintaining of an international framework for the regulation of the industry, ensuring the availability of well-trained staff afloat and ashore, and the meeting of increasingly higher standards of environmental performance were all inter-linked.


At the international level, he said that pollution of the oceans and to the atmosphere, the management of ballast water and the need for the responsible recycling of ships all remain high on the IMOs and shipowners agendas. Equally, he said, he recognised that local issues, such as vessel traffic routeing, ship selection standards, ship antifoulings, litter and garbage disposal were also of legitimate concern, particularly in areas of both high commercial and leisure boat activity.


These concerns were also confirmed by members of the SPS, who further highlighted their belief that the forthcoming introduction of a Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) in the English Channel will in practice provide only a small improvement in air emissions while potentially increasing navigation risks as vessels switch fuels and run on relatively untested blends of low sulphur residual fuel.


There was also lively discussion of how a Place of Refuge should be determined, with several voicing fears that there might be inadequate awareness of the sensitivities in the local environment and/or insufficient attention given to local interests.


As regards commercial ship to ship transfers, SPS members expressed disquiet that there may well be no local or even national benefits resulting from commercial lightering operations around the UK coast.


In closing, Swift said he had very much appreciated this opportunity to meet with the Society and offered further cooperation on any of the matters raised or indeed any others related to tanker shipping.


Contact: Peter Swift