EMSA Panel discusses safety aspects of existing double hull tankers and measures to improve the quality of newbuildings

The third meeting of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) on Double Hull Tankers was held in Brussels on 30 November 2004 to continue to address a list of items on safety aspects for double hull tankers in service as well as possible measures to improve the quality of newbuildings. In brief, the following items were discussed and agreed:

Coating on cargo tanks (newbuildings) – The industry may need first to develop a standard for the coating of cargo tanks that would be different from the standard for the coating in ballast tanks. These standards could be used by the industry and, depending on the experience gained, a proposal for a relevant amendment to SOLAS could be prepared.

Maintenance – The Tanker Structure Cooperative Forum (TSCF), represented at the meeting by Chris Barras (of Shell Shipping Technology and Chairman of the TSCF Steering Committee), is preparing a Manual/Guide for good maintenance procedures. A draft will shortly be circulated to the EMSA Panel.

Coating repairs standards – The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) will revert with its guidelines

Steel repair standards – It was considered that the TSCF guidelines for repairs, which today give best practices for certain repairs, could be further developed to contain a standard procedure on how to address, in a proactive manner, structural problems, particularly fatigue cracks at an incipient stage. IACS might consider developing and applying a common procedure. The importance of a feedback system within the industry was again underlined, to share not only the problems encountered but also the corrective actions. At the recent Tripartite meeting in Japan it was agreed that the Round Table of international shipping associations (ICS, BIMCO, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO) would initiate the development of a feedback system.

Survey of newbuildings – IACS is progressing with the new guidelines for survey standards of newbuildings. The Panel indicated the need for more detailed procedures for the testing of safety systems, which today could be approved through type approval of their individual components but not necessarily as a full system. IMO Resolution A.948 might need to be amended to clarify the type of tests that need to be performed. It was also recommended that the guidelines should indicate the expertise required for surveyors. For instance, a class surveyor would traditionally monitor the structural/welding activity and sometimes the coating, but might not have sufficient expertise to approve equipment.

Outline for the corrosion project – Due to lack of time, the outline submitted by INTERTANKO was not addressed at this meeting.

The next meeting, when the Panel will also discuss the format of its activity report, is set for 1 February 2005.

Contact: Dragos Rauta