INTERTANKO & ITOPF hold joint seminar in Dubai on safety/pollution prevention

INTERTANKO and industry colleague, the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), held a joint seminar in Dubai on 6 December 2006.


The international seminar focused on issues concerning tanker safety, pollution prevention and spill preparedness. The opening session was chaired by INTERTANKO's Vice-Chairman, Patrick Decavele of Brostrom Tankers. The recently appointed Director of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds, Willem Oosterveen, provided an overview of the international compensation regime for oil spills. Tom Allen, Vela International Marine, highlighted key issues facing the tanker industry including the trend of criminalising mariners for accidental mistakes (click here to view). INTERTANKO's General Counsel, John Fawcett-Ellis then spoke on current issues concerning civil and criminal liability for tanker operators. These included the proposed European Directive on Civil Liability and Financial Guarantees of Shipowners (click here to view).The background and status of the industry's legal action to review the European Ship Source Pollution Directive was explained (click here for further information). Next Mohammad Souri, National Iranian Tanker Company, spoke about his company's commitment to quality and training (click here to view).


The next session of the seminar was chaired by INTERTANKO Executive Committee member Bengt Hermelin of SAMCO. The Association's Managing Director, Dr Peter Swift, spoke on "Tomorrow's Tankers" (click here to view). He focused on MARPOL 73/78 and the changes to Annexes I and II and the current discussions at the IMO on the revision to Annex VI. With regard to the latter it was emphasised that four proposals were currently on the table for discussion, one of which was INTERTANKO's proposal for a global cap on sulphur emissions and the use of distillate fuels (click here for further information).


Nigel Carden of Thomas Miller P&I spoke on the role of P&I clubs in raising shipping standards. He emphasised the recent changes in underwriting practice of the members of the International Group of P&I Clubs (click here and here to view). This was followed by the Association's Environment Manager, Tim Wilkins, who spoke on the subject of best environmental practices. He emphasised the voluntary measures that responsible tanker operators could take from early implementation of Conventions to self regulation by following prescribed industry guidelines and best practice (click here to view).


The afternoon session of the seminar was chaired by ITOPF Chairman Dr. Helmut Sohmen. This session focused on spill response and preparedness. Col. Suleiman Mohammed Al-Busaidi of the Ministry of Regional Municipalities Environment and Water Resources of Oman reported on the pro-active measures that Oman has taken to protect its coastline and on oil spill preparedness. This included the soon-to–be-established Special Area extending 200 nautical miles off the east coast of Oman and its new reception facility for oily waste from ships. This was followed by sessions from Colin Williams of Steamship Insurance Management Services Ltd and Richard Johnson of ITOPF.


The final session of the seminar saw papers presented by Khamis Juma Bu-Amim of Regional Clean Sea Organisation and Robin Perry of SEACOR Environment Services International. These were followed by Patrick Adamson of MTI Network speaking on the subject of media planning for a marine casualty. The importance of this subject was highlighted by a series of video clips.


This seminar was effective in highlighting the stringent measures that need to be taken by tanker operators and States to ensure effective oil spill preparedness and response. The Gulf region has done much of late but still more can be done particularly in ratifying the relevant international conventions.


Tanker operators go to great lengths to ensure the highest standards of safety and protection for the marine environment but need the support of states in providing adequate reception facilities and the reassurance that their crews will be treated fairly and not as criminals when on the rare occasions accidents occur.


INTERTANKO and ITOPF would like to express their appreciation and sincere thanks to all the panel chairmen and speakers at the seminar. All presentations will be made available on INTERTANKO's website.


Contact: John Fawcett-Ellis