Page 6: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (February 2000)
Editor's Note T he break up and sinking of 25-year-old Erika during mid-December 1999 at first seemed nothing more than another tragic marine mishap. However, Erika has taken on a posthumous life that threatens to shake the maritime industry from the roots up. While the case is still unfolding and much of the coverage contains more than its fair share of politi- cal rhetoric and saber rattling, it is fair to say that the name Erika could easily take on the same significance as Valdez in the coming years. It is appropriate, at this point, to state that the word "alleged" cannot be employed enough in this article.
At press time, while strong evidence was mounting, nothing had been definitive- ly proven.
Despite all of the "he said, she said" back and forth currently running between the French Government, Italian classification society RINA, French oil major (and Erika charterer) TotalFina, flag of convenience states and the various organi- zations entrusted with ensuring that tankers which sail the seas are worthy of car- rying cargo, the controversy really boils down to a handful of points: Old Ships;
Proper Maintenance; and Reliable Inspection Information.
The suspected culprit in the sinking of Erika is a corroded bulkhead, a weak- ness in the ship structure, which was was not discovered despite the ship being put through several inspections over the past three years. TotalFina, the French oil major which chartered Erika, is being accused of using lax requirements in employing the ship, a cry which grew exponentially when it was uncovered that
Royal Dutch Shell had refused to charter Erika for the last two years. The accident has French officials fuming, calling for a number of new measures, including improved national and international safety regulations in regards to tankers, and end to flags of convenience. Shipowners have joined the fray as well. Notably,
Lars Carlsson, president of Concordia Maritime, was quoted as saying that shipowners could face "unpredictable and inefficient" legislation if they did not act to improve safety themselves.
If there is a silver lining, it encircles the world's "quality" owners and operators.
Predictably, much of the early rumblings have centered on the ship's age, and some knee-jerk reaction has centered on unilaterally condemning ships over a given age.
BP Amoco, for example, while not condemning older ships, has judiciously announced plans to tighten its rules in regard to the employment of tankers older than 20 and 25 years. But as has been proven time and again — while the age of a ship cannot be entirely dismissed — a properly maintained ship of any age is crit- ical to the safe and successful transport of people and products. Thus shipowners who have traditionally employed a program of excellent ship repair and mainte- nance should prosper in the renewed era of heightened sensitivity; and shipyards should prosper as commitments to ship maintenance rise, either voluntarily or by legislative mandate.
CHARLES E. KEIL, Vice President 4400 N. Federal Highway, Ste. 121, Boca Raton, FL 33431
Telephone: +561-368-1021; Fax: +561-368-1161 24-hr Tel/Fax: +561-998-0313; Mobile Tel: +561-716-0338
Tony Stein, International Sales Manager 12, Braehead, Bo'ness, West Lothian EH51 OBZ, Scotland, U.K.
Telephone: +44 (0) 1506 822240; Fax: +44 (0) 1506 828085
Tony Stein 12, Braehead, Bo'ness, West Lothian EH51
OBZ, Scotland, U.K.
Telephone:+44 (0) 1506 822240;
Fax:+44 (0) 1506 828085
R. LESLIE RAMSAY
Calle Pellegrini 173
Primer Piso, Deparlamento C 1009 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: +54 1 394 8821; Fax: +54 1 326 4377
Maritime Media ML
Otweg 18 2771 VX Boskoop, Netherlands
Te: +31 172 230707; Fax:+31 172 230708
JOSE DUARTE DOS SANTOS
Multipla Agencial Martima, Ltda.
Ruo Carolino Rodrigues 28
Cuarto Andor, CEP-11055-070
Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Tel/Fax: +55 1 32 32 74 74
EDUARD0 F. L0PEZ/ISELA BAZAN
Transmarine Media Services, P.O. Box 8579,
Balboa Ave., Panama 5, Panama
Tel: +507 617 1469; Fax: +507 223 8367
WANG ZE/XU XIAO FENG
Liaoning Foreign Trade Advertising Corp. 2 Zhongshan Square, Dalian, China 116002
Tel: +86 411 2801924; Fax:+86 411 2644606
Pannonia Media Agency, 8630 Balatonboglar
Radnoti Miklos u.14, Hungary
Tel: +36 85 353 319; Fax: +3685 353442
CAPTAIN TARIQ M.0SMAN
Osman Marine Media Co.
Algamhoria St., P.O. Box 1248, Alkleej Bldg.,
Port Said, Egypt
Tel:+20 66 340988; Fax:+20 66 325706
Freiherr v. Stein Str. 24,0-63303
Tel:+49 6103 697745; Fax:+49 6103 697743
Piazza Fontane Morose, 3-16123 Genoa, Italy
Tel:+390 10 583684; Fax:+390 10 566578
Ace Media Service Inc. 12-6,4-chome, Nishiike
Adachi-ku, Tokyo 121, Japan
Tel:+81 3 5691 3335; Fax: + 81 3 5691 3336
JO, YOUNG SANG
Business Communications, Inc.
Kwangwhamun P.O. Box 1916, Seoul, Korea
Tel: +82 2 739 7840; Fax: +82 2 732 3662
AZ Publiciadade Lda., Rua Almirante Barroso, 52-1 D, P-1000 Lisbon, Portugal
Tel: +351 1 3142256; Fax: +351 1 3525157
STEPHAN R.G. 0RN/LE0N SCHULZ
AS Stephan R.G. Orn, Box 184
S-271 24 Ystad, Sweden
Tel:+46 411-184 00; Fax:+46 411 105 31
The Euro-Asia Link, 20 Maxwell Road 07-18A
Maxwell House, Singapore 069113
Fax:+65 3237026,+65 4564610,
Finn's Enterprises, Media Marketing Division
P.O. Box 99,2250,
Blinkpan, Republic of South Africa
Tel/Fax: +27 13 2953 023
JOSE LUIS SEVA
Via Exdusiuas S.L
C/ Viriato, 69 SC 28010, Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 91 448 76 22; Fax: +3491 4460214
Kamera Corp., Cumhurlyet Cad. 25Z/3,
Harblye 80230, Istanbul, Turkey
Tel:+90 212 248 48 64;
Fox: +90 212 230 36 97
MICHAEL J. DAMSELL
Euromedia Ltd, P.O. Box 122,
Hayward's Heath,West Sussex
Tel: +44 1444 417360;
Fax: +44 1444410497
Don't think about support, use it.
North Brunswick, call 24 hours: 732-932 6103 6 Circle 203 on Reader Service Card Maritime Reporter/Engineering News