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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Asian regional office plans for a busy year in 1999

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) officially opened its new Asian Representative Office at a special ceremony in Singapore on Monday, 1 March. The new office marks the culmination of a concerted effort to increase INTERTANKO's presence in the Asian region in recent years. The initiative was launched in 1997 when the Association established its Asian Regional Panel to enhance dialogue with its membership in this large, diverse geographical area. The Panel has served to bring tanker owners together, not only to discuss local matters and the impact of international issues on their region but also to establish closer relationships with regional maritime authorities and trade bodies.

The new Singapore office is managed by Minerva R Alfonso, INTERTANKO's Regional Manager for the Asia-Pacific and Secretary of the Asian Regional Panel. Minerva has worked for INTERTANKO for 11 years, based at the Association's Oslo headquarters.

Executive Committee meeting in Panama

The first meeting of INTERTANKO's Executive Committee in 1999 was held in Panama on 4-5 February 1999. In addition to its own busy session, the Committee met with the President, Dr Ernesto Pérez Balladeres, and the Panama Canal Administrator, Alberto Alemán Zubieta, as well as representatives of the Panama Maritime Lawyers' Association and the Panama Maritime Authority. Executive Committee members took the opportunity to remind the Panamanian authorities of the importance of removing from their register those ships that are not up to the standards associated with quality operations. INTERTANKO also stressed how important it is for those performing tasks on behalf of the flag state to do so in the manner that will ensure the Panamanian flag is synonymous with quality.

As a result of Executive Committee decisions, INTERTANKO is supporting current requests which call for the European Union to restrict ISM Code auditing to organisations that comply with IMO Resolution A.739. However, ISM Code auditing by an IACS member society will not be made a condition of INTERTANKO membership. In addition, the Association will continue its dialogue with Bosporos Straits pilots and pursue efforts in IMO to bring about increased responsibility and accountability for pilots in general. During 1999 a corrosion management plan will be prepared in cooperation with the Tanker Structure Co-operative Forum (TSCF), taking into account requirements for minimum thickness/scantlings, corrosion margins and quality control of steel. Finally, the Secretariat will cooperate further with other industry bodies and the European Commission in an effort to improve the proposed Maritime Industry Charter on Quality.


INTERTANKO notes the increasing concern about the range of hazardous materials found on ships sold for scrap and the threat these pose to scrapyard workers during ship demolition. This is a problem impacting all types of ships, not just tankers. INTERTANKO will work with other shipping industry groups towards a universal solution of the problem. As part of this commitment, INTERTANKO has recommended to its members to make an inventory of, and provide full information for, all the hazardous materials onboard ships they send for scrapping.

Bunker spills

During the recent grounding of the woodchip carrier New Carissa on the Oregon coast, in which large quantities of bunker fuel were lost to the sea, several local US newspapers erroneously described the ship as 'a tanker'. The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd has pointed out that 25 per cent of the oil spill incidents it has attended over the last 10 years have involved escapes of bunker fuel from ships other than tankers. Bunker fuels are persistent oils which can cause substantial environmental damage. Thus, bunker spills are a significant problem which can, amongst other things, adversely impact the tanker industry's image. It is also a complex problem. In recent years IMO considered a proposal calling for a double hull arrangement to be made mandatory in way of ships' engine rooms but rejected it on the grounds that such an arrangement would yield marginal environmental benefit yet entail great cost. Like scrapyard risks, bunker spills are an industry-wide problem. INTERTANKO's Safety Technical and Environmental Committee (ISTEC) will reconsider the issue of bunker spills to assess the merits of cooperating on a wide-ranging shipping industry initiative.

Asian Regional Panel meeting in Seoul

On 24 February 1999, a few days before the Asian Representative Office was inaugurated, the fifth meeting of INTERTANKO's Asian Regional Panel was held in Seoul. Attended by 38 senior shipping executives and well-supported by the Korean maritime community, the
Seoul meeting was the first time the Association's Asian Panel had met in South Korea. The meeting provided further evidence of the Asian tanker owners' positive response to INTERTANKO efforts to provide a strong regional forum for their industry.

At the meeting guest speaker, Professor Tae Woo Lee of Korea Maritime University and Advisor for Shipping and the Port Sector at the Prime Minister's Office, described the dramatic measures implemented by Korea, with IMF encouragement, to minimise the impact of the Asian economic crisis and ensure the country's quick restoration as an industrial powerhouse. A high price is being paid, in terms of increasing competition and soaring foreign debts, but already the Korean economy has begun to show signs of recovery. Immediately prior to the meeting, INTERTANKO and its Panel met with the Korean Shipbuilders Association (KSA) and senior executives from the country's major shipyards. This was the first meeting between the two parties, and all the participants expressed a willingness to cooperate on matters of common concern in future.

Houston Tanker Event, April 1999

The next INTERTANKO Tanker Event, the sixth meeting in the series, will take place in Houston on 25-29 April 1999. The conference marks a return to the 'US oil, gas and chemical capital' for INTERTANKO, the first Tanker Event having been held there in October 1996. The two central themes of the meeting will be 'Tanker People' and 'Latin American Tanker Shipping'. Coverage of Tanker People enables INTERTANKO to return to the waterway management principles that underpin its Chain of Responsibility and the Port and Terminal Safety (PTS) study, an Association report which was warmly welcomed by the US Coast Guard upon its release at the first Houston Event. In the Tanker People Session, key players representing links in the Chain of Responsibility will share their views on their specific role, the extent of their responsibilities and how their relationships with other participants in the Chain help ensure the safe passage of ships. The meeting also provides an opportunity for an update on PTS issues and a review of the INTERTANKO/US Coast Guard partnership working groups to which the PTS study has given rise. The conference's Latin American coverage will also include waterway management issues, as well as market developments and regional tanker shipping infrastructure.

Richard du Moulin - a notable chairman

Richard du Moulin's tenure as Chairman of INTERTANKO comes to an end at the next meeting of the Council which will take place in Houston on 26 April. Richard has been an exemplary 'Captain of the Tanker Industry' throughout his term of office, combining the demanding roles of ambassador, diplomat, advocate and spokesperson to optimum effect. It is no coincidence that several of INTERTANKO's most notable achievements have been made during his chairmanship. At its meeting in October 1998 the Council appointed Westye Høegh as Chairman Designate, a decision the Council will be invited to formally endorse at its meeting in Houston.

Trygve Meyer retires

Commander Trygve A Meyer, INTERTANKO Director, has retired after an admirable career with the Association that stretches back to 1972. Like Richard du Moulin, Trygve can be counted amongst those industry stalwarts that have worked tirelessly and ceaselessly to promote the interests of tanker owners, achieving outstanding success in the process. The list of his press articles, conference presentations and reports compiled on behalf of INTERTANKO over the years is virtually endless. A notable recent study is his 'Systematic Approaches to Tanker Accident Analysis - Lessons Learnt', which brings his considerable pool of knowledge to bear on a key question for the future - How can the tanker industry secure further improvements in maritime safety? Trygve Meyer served as manager of INTERTANKO's London office for the past three years, and he has handed this responsibility over to the capable hands of Captain Robert M Bishop. INTERTANKO wishes Trygve a long, happy and healthy retirement.

The INTERTANKO membership includes, as Full Members, 270 tanker companies with 2,000 tankers totalling 172 million dwt. This is equivalent to 75% of all independently owned tanker tonnage worldwide. In addition, there are 281 INTERTANKO Associate Member companies.