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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

INTERTANKO's Council meets in London

INTERTANKO's governing Council met in London this week under the chairmanship of the Association's Chairman Nicholas G. Fistes to discuss a highly topical and comprehensive agenda.


The Council elected Graham Westgarth, President of Teekay Marine Services, as new Chairman of the Association since Nicholas G. Fistes had expressed a wish to step down at the current Council meeting due to additional business commitments. A deep appreciation was expressed for his commitment to INTERTANKO and he was applauded with a standing ovation. An equally warm welcome was extended to the newly elected Chairman and to Robert E. Johnston, Senior VP/Head U.S. Flag Strat. Business Unit of Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc., who was elected as INTERTANKO's third Vice Chairman.


Executive Committee members Amir H. Azizan, Emmanuel Vordonis, Nicholas G. Fistes (ex-Chairman) and Stefano Rosina stood down this year, and Council elected the following new members to the Executive Committee:


  • Carlos Juan Madinabeitia, Managing Director, Tradewind Tankers S.A.
  • John Platsidakis, Managing Director, Angelicoussis Shipping Group
  • Subramaniam Rajalingam, Vice President Fleet Management, MISC
  • Stephan Polomsky, Managing Director, Claus-Peter Offen Tankschiffreederei GmbH & Co KG


The Chairman thanked the outgoing members for their work and commitment to the Committee's work.


Council approved five new Members: Almi Tankers, Greece; Empire Navigation Inc., Greece; Koggi Shipping Inc., Ghana; D&K Shipping Limited, United Arab Emirates; Great Eastern Chartering LLC, Singapore.


Council furthermore approved three new Associate Members: Maritime Associates Pte Ltd., Singapore; MSL Marine Training College Canada; NIDAS Shipping Service Agency (UK) Ltd. c/o NIDAS Shipping Services Ltd. (Cyprus).


Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)


Council was given an update of the IMO rulemaking developments on the GHG emission reductions from ships. INTERTANKO's draft Policy Paper on GHG Emission Reductions, requested by the Council at its last meeting, was presented to the Council. This Policy Paper was developed based on the Council's agreed criteria.


Council endorsed the proposed policy statements and agreed that INTERTANKO should use these within the context of the forthcoming IMO Assembly, COP15 meeting in Copenhagen and MEPC 60 in March 2010.


Council recommended that one of the key elements for a successful and efficient GHG emission reduction from ships is that regulations will equally apply to all ships irrespective of flag. The Council commented that the industry should speak with one voice at COP15 and invited a Round Table meeting before COP15 for harmonised preparations (the currently planned Round Table meeting scheduled for January 2010, will not be useful for this purpose).


To view this Policy Paper click here


Virtual arrival


Council considered the Virtual Arrival initiative whereby a ship may slow down to match its available berthing slot, thereby reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, but will be paid demurrage on the basis of its theoretical earlier arrival time at charterparty speed.


The ensuing lively debate clarified that demurrage payable to the owner will not be lost and that fuel savings will be shared 50/50 between ship owner and charterer. Operational and contractual details of Virtual Arrival agreements will be discussed between owners and charterer - whether it remains in the owner's option, for instance. There will be a need to define optimum speed for the purpose of assessing the difference between arrival time at optimum speed and the vessel's original ETA. During the discussions of commercial savings, one Council member appropriately emphasised that the main aim of Virtual Arrival is environmental and not commercial.


Human Element


Council noted that at the last meeting of the Human Element in Shipping Committee (HEiSC), discussion focused on issues related to compliance with ILO 180 and the Maritime Labour Convention, "Just Culture", Crew accommodation standards and the revision of the STCW Convention and Code.


Further information was presented to Council on the success of the "Young Seafarers  

Focus Group", which was arranged together with the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) earlier in the year, where 20 young seafarers, drawn from both INTERTANKO and the ITF, met in London to discuss life at sea. They expressed their views, concerns and offered their recommendations.


     Council noted that HEiSC is engaged in an Informal Industry Round Table looking at particular cases where it is felt that seafarers had been treated in a way contrary to the IMO guidelines on the "Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the event of a maritime accident".


Council agreed in general with HEiSC's intention to seek improvement of the IMO guidelines on the "Fair treatment of seafarers" with a view to making them mandatory, although it noted that the issue of criminalisation of seafarers was covered under a separate agenda item (3.6) and deferred any decisions on this issue until after discussion on agenda item 3.6.


     Council noted that the provision of crew communication and internet access has been identified as a major driver for both attracting and retaining seafarers. It also suggested that costs, expected to be rather high (and therefore limiting the availability of such access), should be further assessed by working group. Council agreed that HEiSC should continue to develop with technical experts a "Best practice for crew's access to internet and private communication", and recommended that suppliers and manufacturers of communications equipment develop cost-effective products.


     Council agreed with HEiSC's condemnation of practices resulting in the denial of shore leave to crew members, and invited members to advise on the extent of this practice for action and follow up as appropriate.


Oil Company Aide Memoire


Council had asked for the INTERTANKO Oil Company Aide Memoire (OCAM) to be updated, and considered a draft revised OCAM.


Discussion focused on the issue of guaranteed water depth alongside tanker terminals, traditionally the responsibility of charterers who have been deemed to possess the necessary information on such matters, rather than that of ship owners. It concluded that this matter needs to be duly addressed with the Oil Companies' Marine Forum (OCIMF).


Council reviewed and endorsed the proposed Oil Company Aide Memoire as provided by the Vetting Committee and thanked the Vetting Committee for its work.


Load Line Zones – Off South Africa


Council noted that the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee at its session in May 2009 agreed to include on the agenda for its relevant Sub-committees, a review of the requirement in the 1966 Load Line Convention and the 1988 Load Line Protocol, with a view to shifting the Winter Seasonal Zone off the southern tip of Africa further southward by 50 miles. This would, if agreed by the IMO, allow vessels to round the Cape of Good Hope on their summer marks all year round. The proposal, submitted by South Africa and fully supported by INTERTANKO, met with some resistance and proved to be a rather controversial issue where many countries raised concerns related to safety.


Council took note and agreed on the importance of lobbying their respective flag states accordingly.


Criminalisation of seafarers


Following a presentation on the Hebei Spirit, Prestige and Full City, discussion focused on the treatment of the officers, including the negative consequences for the key officers related to securing future employment. Central arguments were the unfairness of seafarers being singled out as criminals. In light of the lessons learned it was agreed that INTERTANKO needs a strategy on the issue of criminalisation of seafarers as a base for its future work on such related issues.


Facilitation payments


A lively discussion took place concerning the oil majors' introduction of 'no corruption' codes of practice into charterparties. These clauses often require owners to warrant that they follow the oil majors' ethical trading policies. Some oil majors have specific clauses on anti-corruption or bribery, along the lines that owners warrant that no bribes will be paid during the performance of the contract and that owners will indemnify charterers for all consequences if any such payments are made. These clauses may also prohibit commonplace 'facilitation payments' to authorities, pilots, terminal officers, inspectors etc. (which may even include individuals nominated and appointed by the oil majors themselves) in order to receive normal and timely services. Such 'facilitation payments' can range from a carton of cigarettes to cash payments.


INTERTANKO's lobbying efforts in past years have not managed to put an end to these practices. It was therefore agreed that INTERTANKO should raise the issue with OCIMF. INTERTANKO should also address the issue with its Round Table partners and furthermore address Governments as applicable. Systematic reporting of such incidents to INTERTANKO was also encouraged.

Memorandum of Agreement with IMPA/APA


Council took note of the discussions between INTERTANKO and the leadership of the International Maritime Pilots Association (IMPA) and the American Pilots Association (APA) on issues of mutual interest to improve maritime safety and to explore areas for future cooperation. It agreed that these meetings have been extremely productive and have been instrumental in strengthening trust between INTERTANKO and these pilot associations.


It further noted that at the recent discussion group meeting Capt Mike Watson, the President of both IMPA and APA, proposed that INTERTANKO and IMPA/APA publicly formalise the relationship between the organisations through Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs). These MOAs having been reviewed by INTERTANKO's General Counsel and by the Executive Committee. Council authorised INTERTANKO's Chairman to sign the MOAs with IMPA and APA and welcomed the invitation from the Secretariat to notify issues relevant to pilotage which can be further discussed with the Pilot Associations.


The next Council meeting will be on Thursday 6 May 2010 in London.


Terje Rød-Larsen Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations/President of the International Peace Institute, spoke to Council members during their dinner the evening before the meeting.


Many interesting points were raised in his speech and the ensuing question and answer session. Inter alia, the four epicentres in the Middle East were seen to be Iraq, Iran, Syria/Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, with Iran emerging as the new centre of gravity in the Middle East. Discussion ranged over whether religion is driving the Middle East situation, or whether it is national interests – power, the pursuit of hegemony/dominance - that are the driving force.


Contact: Gunnar A. Knudsen