Oil Pollution Act Spurs World Oil Industry To Drop Substandard Tankers

Regulations stemming from the United States Oil Pollution Act of 1990 is resulting in a major rethinking of tanker industry ship design, equipment, chartering, operations and liability procedures.

At the annual meeting in Genoa of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko), industry leaders discussed new initiatives that could reshape the global tanker market long before the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) deadline for new tanker construction takes effect.

The industry generally agrees that the quality of the world tanker fleet must be improved by eliminating substandard shipping from the market, but how exactly this is to be done is a source of controversy.

One of the more important decisions to be made was that the results of five-year special ship surveys must be made available to the public. According to Capt. William O. Gray, president of Skaarup Oil Corp. of Greenwich, Conn., this previously confidential information will allow charterers to view important data concerning a vessel's structural condition.

Exchanging survey information would help to reduce the number of ship inspections carried out.

Carrying the data exchange concept even further, Lars Carlsson, managing director of the Swedish tanker group Concordia Maritime, suggested that the names of tankers that have been rejected by a protection and indemnity club should be published. By identifying the classification society and marine underwriter responsible for certifying the vessel and providing insurance coverage, pressure would be raised for the improvement of ship survey and certification standards.

These and many other recommendations discussed during the Intertanko conference would strive towards the removal of unsuitable ships from the world's tanker fleet, more than half of which are over 16 years old. According to Chevron officials, one-third of all existing tankers can be considered substandard.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 28,  May 1992

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