Hellenic Forum in Athens focuses on the U.S. angle on maritime security and on rapid response to current issues

INTERTANKO’s Hellenic Forum met this week in Athens under the Chairmanship of Nicholas G. Fistes, with over 60 Forum members present.

Fistes steered the Forum through an agenda which focused on some of the key issues currently affecting INTERTANKO’s members, including maritime security. As a guest of the Forum, Joseph A. Angelo, Director for Standards in the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection, gave a presentation on the latest developments in the U.S., covering many key INTERTANKO issues. INTERTANKO’s Chairman, Mr. Stephen Van Dyck also addressed the Forum on his vision of INTERTANKO for the future.

Joseph Angelo talked about the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) and Maritime Transport Security Act (MTSA) in the U.S. (touching on security plan approval, automatic identification systems (AIS) and long range vessel tracking. In discussions on enforcement, Angelo stated that port state inspectors from the USCG had been issued with a notice to present their identification whenever attempting to board a ship. The Forum was told that there had been problems with customs officials not showing proper identification and that this was an inter-agency problem within the U.S. As a result, the Coast Guard had been in consultation with the customs authorities regarding this problem, drawing the customs agency’s attention to the circular sent to the coast guard inspectors.

In terms of security compliance, the USCG has inspected some 2901 vessels since the July 1st entry into force of the ISPS Code, detaining 68 ships on security grounds. This amounted to 2.34% of all ships inspected, a figure which is decreasing on a weekly basis. The main reason for a deficiency was access control, with no one available from the ship to meet the inspector when coming on board. Other areas included poor crew awareness of security procedures and the lack of a continuous synopsis record.

The Forum also heard of U.S. developments, in association with briefings from the secretariat, on air emission regulations, ballast water management and the amendments to MARPOL Annex II (covering the carriage of 'noxious liquid substances in bulk').

The U.S. theme continued when Stephen Van Dyck addressed the Forum at the end of the meeting. Van Dyck explained that his experience of INTERTANKO, and the manner in which regulators and the media work, meant that the swiftness of a response to any issue is of the utmost importance. In achieving such a rapid response within INTERTANKO, it is essential to find an efficient and effective way of gathering members’ views on issues. Van Dyck explained that the Governance Working Group would be gathering views and suggestions from the members on this matter and requested those present to come forward with comments to Mr. Van Dyck directly.

Please click here to view Mr Angelo’s presentation

Contact: Tim Wilkins