Tanker Owners Alter Practices To Cope With Risks Under Pollution Act

Greater risks under the 1990 Oil Pollution Act are being managed by oil tanker owners by refusing to carry heavy crude to the U.S. and by reducing the number of other U.S.

destinations. Owners are also paying higher insurance rates.

The law, in effect since August, makes shipowners responsible for pollution from oil spills and also requires them to phase in doublehulled vessels beginning in January 1995.

Because of the law, protection and indemnity clubs, the primary insurers of most tankers, began assessing their shipping members a surcharge in February for U.S.- bound oil cargoes. The added insurance costs will probably be passed on to cargo owners eventually.

Royal Dutch Shell and other oil companies that own tanker fleets have refused to carry heavy crude and other "dirty oils" (difficult and costly to clean up) to U.S. ports since the new law took effect.

Other tanker owners have started avoiding certain U.S. ports in which they are not major players, in order to reduce the chances of an oil spill.

Another effect of the law has been to reduce the resale value of vessels nearing the end of their legal lives, so that owners operate them until the last possible date.

Other stories from April 1991 issue


Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.