Maintenance programmes – high priority for tanker operators

Last month the Panel of Experts asked (and sponsored) by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to discuss safety aspects of double hull tankers published its report.

As well as making recommendations on dealing with accelerated corrosion and internal coatings, it also focused on owners’ maintenance programmes.

In our WN of 24 June, we published an article on the Panel’s recommendations for further improvements on various elements related to the structure and to the operation of the double hull tankers.

These recommendations addressed aspects of possible accelerated structural corrosion in the cargo and water ballast tanks, the lack of mandatory standards for coating application, the lack of mandatory requirements for coating the top and the bottom of the cargo tanks' structure, and monitoring and supervision during construction.

In addition, the EMSA Panel stressed the crucial importance of owners’ maintenance programmes and procedures. And although the EMSA Panel aimed to look into elements related to the future tanker fleet and thus limited its discussions to double hull tankers, INTERTANKO wishes to stress that some of the these elements, particularly maintenance programmes, are extremely important to all tankers, including single hull tankers.

With the association’s members following rigorous maintenance programmes adapted to every ship’s particular design, operations and trade, INTERTANKO was one of the participants in the EMSA Panel promoting the idea of a reference guide to standardise both maintenance and repair procedures. INTERTANKO’s Safety, Technical and Environmental Committee (ISTEC) has already proceeded to draft a Maintenance Manual for Tankers which aims to become the tanker industry’s standard reference guide when setting up maintenance policies. This manual would not impose a rigid planning and it would allow each tanker operator to add elements as demanded by the specifics of the ship and its operation and trade.

During the EMSA Panel discussions, INTERTANKO learned that Tanker Structure Co-operative Forum (TSCF) was planning to develop a similar maintenance manual. We are therefore looking to coordinate this activity, although we wish to have a Maintenance Manual published as soon as possible, latest within the first half of 2006. ISTEC will consider an initial draft of the Maintenance Manual at September meeting and will look to approve a final draft at its subsequent meeting early in 2006.

Contact: Dragos Rauta