Inter-industry Working Group to analyse fire and explosion incidents on product and chemical tankers

The number of fire and explosion incidents in recent months involving product and chemical tankers have caused deep concern. The tragic cost in death and injury to personnel on board tankers and in terminals, and the environmental damage that occurs with many incidents, are sufficient in themselves to prompt the question whether more can be done by the industry. 

An Inter-industry Working Group has therefore been formed to analyse all fire and explosion incidents onboard chemical and product tankers that have occurred in the last 10 years, as well as any of particular interest that occurred in the past 10-20 years not covered in the first analysis. The Working Group comprises INTERTANKO, OCIMF (Oil Companies International Marine Forum), CEFIC (European Chemical Industry Council), IACS (International Association of Classification Societies), IPTA (International Parcel Tankers Association), ICS (International Chamber of Shipping), IG (International Group of P&I Clubs) and IAPH (International Association of Ports and Harbors).  

Collectively representing maritime interests from around the world, these organisations promote improvements in standards of design and operation of tankers through the publication of guides to the industry on a wide range of related topics as well as through their consultative status at the IMO. Safe, environmentally sound operations are, therefore, at the top of their priorities.  

The work of the Group is in its early stages and we have consulted records to identify incidents on product and chemical tankers involving fire and/or explosion in the cargo tank area or related to cargo handling equipment. This research has so far identified the various vessels that have unfortunately suffered an incident of the type under analysis.  

The amount of data so far collected is limited and/or uncorroborated. The Group will therefore be contacting the owners/operators/managers of the vessels identified to request assistance (as appropriate) in providing further information.

Should one of your vessels be one of those identified then you will be receiving a joint letter from the Group, clearly showing the participants, and outlining in more detail the work being undertaken and the additional information required. Should you receive such a letter we would ask you to provide as much assistance as possible.  

The Group is tasked to analyse the incidents and to use the output from that analysis to identify what, if any, measures the industry can evaluate further as possible means to reduce and hopefully eliminate any similar future occurrences. Any information received will be handled by the Association’s Secretariat and Working Group only under strict terms of confidentiality.  

The intention of the Inter-industry Working Group and its parent bodies is to produce a report which analyses all the information, but collated in a form that does not identify the names of the vessel or owners/operators involved. 

Contact: Howard Snaith