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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Swift receives Lifetime Achievement Award from IMO Secretary General

Dr Peter Swift has been presented, by the Secretary General of the IMO, Efthimios Mitropoulos, with  a special Tanker Shipping & Trade Lifetime Achievement Award.


Mitropoulos spoke of “the tremendous contribution made to shipping by Peter throughout an illustrious career in the service of shipping.”  He went on to say that Peter’s name is synonymous with so many worthy causes, with which he has engaged energetically, dynamically and with such success. “Few have earned the recognition of their peers more than he has. He has served with great distinction.”


Swift commented later: “It is a great honour to receive this award after nearly 50 years in the shipping business, almost entirely built around oil, chemical and gas tankers. It is also pleasing to note that the tanker industry over the last decade has been able to restore its credibility and reputation that were seriously dented following the high profile Erika and Prestige, and that this sector routinely champions best practice and respect for our seafarers.”


Appointed in February 2001 as Managing Director of INTERTANKO (The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners), Swift has spent the last ten years energetically and effectively representing the interests of more than 250 oil/chemical tanker owners with over 260m dwt of tonnage and a further 320 associate members from the broader shipping industry.


“Peter’s energy and enthusiasm as well as his ability to engage and forge relationships, not only with shipping and oil industry  people but also with politicians and statesmen, have been a significant driving force behind INTERTANKO for the last ten years,” says Capt Graham Westgarth, INTERTANKO’s Chairman.


Swift is a graduate of King’s College, Durham (UK) where he studied naval architecture. He spent a short time in the late 1960s in the shipbuilding industry with Swan Hunter where he led a team in a concept design of a 1m dwt tanker which was both twin screw and also double-hulled. He then obtained a doctorate in Transportation Economics from the University of Michigan where his projects included pioneering work on Computer Aided Design.


He went on to work for 24 years for the Royal Dutch/Shell Group where he held a series of senior positions including General Manager for Shell International Trading and Shipping Company. As Group Naval Architect he was responsible for design and commissioning oil, LPG/LNG, chemical, offshore and even coal shipping. He pioneered the first Emergency Response System with Lloyd’s Register and was founding chairman of the Tanker Structure Cooperative Forum. He is acknowledged to be the first to coin the use of the term ‘recyling’ to better describe scrapping/demolition. As General Manager of the Australian LNG Ship Operating Company, he managed the lead team on the establishment of the North West Shelf LNG project.


Having taken early retirement from Shell in 1999 to enjoy a ‘quieter life’, he spent two years as Director of Business Development with Braemar Seascope before INTERTANKO’s selection committee persuaded him to join up.


As Managing Director of INTERTANKO he has spearheaded the Association’s activity on a number of vital fronts:

  • working to prevent the criminalisation of seafarers and to show concern for seafarer welfare issues including lack of shore access and adequate accommodation;
  • putting over with undying vigour and unswerving conviction INTERTANKO’s ‘distillates option’ position, with the Secretariat working alongside him, helping to shift opinions as the industry started to see the operational advantages of switching to cleaner fuels, and the impracticality and high risk of the alternatives;
  • ensuring that INTERTANKO has been proactively engaged in all the important environmental issues, with the association’s members and committees showing the way in minimalising tanker shipping’s impact on the global environment;
  • pressing for international solutions not regional solutions;
  • forging deeper relationships with key industry players such as the IMO, OCIMF, the Round Table of international shipping associations, the Asian Shipowners’ Forum, IACS, the International Group of P&I clubs, ensuring that their combined forces became more active and influential.
  • being instrumental in establishing  the annual Tripartite discussions between ship owners, shipbuilders and class, which forum initiated talks around the IACS Common Structural Rules, which were born out of the drive which Swift and others in INTERTANKO and OCIMF led to produce higher uniform design and construction standards for tanker structures.
  • helping and encouraging the Secretariat to achieve increasing acceptance for the Tanker Officer Training Standards (TOTS) initiative.


Mitropoulos particularly emphasised Peter’s role in encouraging INTERTANKO staff and Members to participate actively in the struggle against piracy, particularly in the Gulf of Aden.


Swift pointed to the 450 seafarers currently held hostage due to acts of piracy, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time simply doing their job in keeping open the vital arteries of world trade. He compared the indifference of the world to their plight and that of their families after 100 days or more of illegal detention, to the wonderful and thoroughly justified global euphoria at the release of the Chilean miners. “We need to take every opportunity to speak up on their behalf,” he said.


Swift is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and a Member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He is also a member of the Committee (Advisory Board) of the Green Award, Chairman of the European Committee of the Korean Register and a Director of the Maritime Industry Foundation.