European Commission POP&C project shows striking improvements in tanker safety

As first reported in Weekly NEWS No. 09 of 27 February 2004, a three-year collaborative project was initiated in January 2004 to research the development of a rational methodology for the assessment of pollution risk from oil tankers. The European Commission provided funding for the project, which is entitled “Pollution Prevention and Control – Safe Transportation of Hazardous Goods by Tankers” (POP&C). The project is managed by INTERTANKO and StrathclydeUniversity and has brought together 15 organisations from the European maritime sector with expertise in maritime safety covering design, construction, classification, and operational aspects. The IMO also participates as an observer. 

To mark the half-way point of the project, and its already promising interim results, a Newsletter has been produced describing the project’s objectives and its participants, and providing short articles on the work that has been completed or which is currently in progress.  

The article on the last page of the Newsletter briefly discusses a most notable finding from a historic analysis of aframax tanker casualties. The average frequency rates for all categories of accidents for the period between 1978 and 1990 were reduced to about one eighth in the last five-year period 1999-2003. And whereas it can be argued that the frequency of casualties was too high in the 1970s and 1980s, the improvement that has taken place since must be recognised as remarkable. The brief article in the Newsletter examines the regulatory background which led to the decline in accident rates, while an extensive article on this subject is planned to appear in the press in the near future. 

Contacts: Dragos Rauta and Howard Snaith