EMSA establishes expert Panel on double hull tankers

As a follow-up from the "Seminar on Maritime Safety and Double Hull Tanker Design" organised by the European Commission on 7 November 2003 in Brussels, the European Maritime Safety Agency has taken the initiative to form an expert Panel to discuss matters related to double hull tankers. The 2003 Seminar recommended follow-up action involving a co-operative effort of all parties concerned, which should result in concrete proposals to address the challenges that ageing double hull tankers may present in the near future. The research and conclusions of this Panel will play a significant part in determining future demands on double hull tankers.

On 30 April 2004, EMSA hosted the inaugural meeting of this Panel, which was attended by INTERTANKO, OCIMF, ICS, BIMCO, AWES (Association of Western European Shipbuilders) and IACS. INTERTANKO was represented by Stefan Nystrom (Stolt Nielsen, ISTEC Vice Chairman, tanker structures and newbuilding), MD Peter Swift and Technical/Engineering Director Dragos Rauta. The meeting defined the Panel's Terms of Reference and a final draft will be concluded via correspondence. The scope of the work of this Panel was agreed as: "To collect and analyse feedback obtained from ten years’ operational experience in design, construction, maintenance and survey of double hull tankers of all types and sizes and identify factors that may have an impact on the structural integrity of the vessels”. The objective is: "To provide a summary report that will contribute towards the goal of safer ships”.

It was agreed that the Panel should be seen as an expert group established to exchange views on double hull tanker design, and its work and conclusions should be carefully reported to ensure proper and efficient follow-up action. Any outcome or recommendations would be reported in the context of international legislation.

The Panel also agreed to start its work by completing a "List of Areas for Consideration". Each participant was invited to submit items. ISTEC will be involved in the preparation of the INTERTANKO submission. The issues on the List could be problems already encountered by single and double hull tankers which have or have not been corrected. It could also include potential problems for double hull tankers which, at the moment, are not sufficiently documented. Each of these issues needs to be justified and, when appropriate, accompanied by reporting data.

The Panel will meet again on 9 July 2004 in Brussels to finalise and adopt its Terms of Reference and to consider a "List of Areas for Consideration".

Contact: Dragos Rauta