Increase in Pollutant Recovery by Salvage Teams

Monday, March 31, 2008

International Salvage Union (ISU) members recovered over 1.1 million tons of pollutants during salvage operations last year, a huge increase on 2006. During 2007, emergency assistance was provided worldwide for 282 vessels with cargoes and bunkers threatening pollution (an increase of over 20% on the 233 casualties recorded in the 2006 Survey).
The results of the ISU’s latest Annual Pollution Prevention Survey show that oils, chemicals, other pollutants and bunker fuel recovered last year totalled 1,101,440 tonnes, as against  566,793 tonnes in 2006. This amounts to an increase of over 94%.
Thirty eight of the ISU’s members contributed data for the latest annual survey. In 2007, ISU salvors recovered the following potential pollutants:

83%, crude oil (and diesel oil)           909,521 tonnes (400,581 tonnes in 2006)

5%, chemicals       57,506 tonnes (5,635 tonnes)

2%, other pollutants (e.g. gasoline, slops, dirty ballast, etc)  25,147 tonnes (88,313 tonnes) 

10% bunkers         109,266 tonnes (72,264 tonnes)

The volume of crude oil recovered showed a steep increase of over 125% on the 2006 figure of 400,581 tonnes. The volume of chemicals, at 57,506 tonnes, represents a recovery to typical annual levels, from the abnormally low figure of 2006.  In contrast, the tonnage of “other pollutants” fell to 25,147 tonnes, from over 88,000 tonnes in 2006. The volume of bunkers recovered in 2007 increased, but not by the same margins as crude oil and chemicals. In 2006 the figure was 109,266 tonnes, an increase of just over 50% on the 2006 figure.

The ISU’s Pollution Prevention Survey began in 1994. In the 14 years to end-2007, ISU salvors recovered 14,286,070 tonnes of potential pollutants. This consists of 11,214,471 tonnes of crude oil (and diesel oil), 782,257 tonnes of chemicals, 1,003,308 tonnes of bunkers and 1,286,034 tonnes of “other pollutants” (recorded as a separate category for the first time in 1997).

During 2007 there was an increase in the number of tanker salvage operations: 24, as against 18 in 2006. The largest tanker service involved a VLCC with a cargo of 270,000 tonnes of crude oil. Last year also saw a significant increase in the number of casualties (tankers and other vessels) requiring the ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of cargoes and/or bunkers. The figure doubled, to 42 vessels. The largest STS involved a tanker laden with a cargo of over 89,000 tonnes of crude oil.

Lloyd’s Form remained the most utilised form of salvage contract in 2007.  It was used in 61 of reported services (over 21% of assistances, the same percentage as in 2006). The other services involved common law salvage claims, Japanese Form, Turkish Form, Hamburg Form, as well as Daily Rate and Lumpsum services. Eighteen wreck removal operations are included in the total figures.

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