Interanko Calls for Port of Refuge Agreement

Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Intertanko and BIMCO have expressed regret with the loss of the tanker Prestige and the environmental, social and economic consequences of this incident. Intertanko and BIMCO have welcomed the statements of ABS and the Bahamas Maritime Authority that they are making available all of the historical records on Prestige. It is their believe that it is essential all major marine casualties are comprehensively investigated and that the results are made public so that important lessons can be learned. We also join the Bahamas Maritime Authority in expressing our gratitude to the Spanish Rescue Services who rescued the entire crew. This incident highlights the industry's concern surrounding coastal states' continued reluctance to admit ships into ports of refuge. When ships are not granted such refuge, the potential for a serious incident is frequently increased and the safety of the crew jeopardized. The emergency transfer of cargo and other measures to aid the stricken vessel may be similarly hindered with a consequent increased threat to the environment. Accordingly, Intertanko and BIMCO once again stress the importance for all coastal states to have developed plans for places of refuge and urge Governments to nominate appropriate waters/ports/anchorages. Both the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union are equally committed to this need and the Secretary General of the IMO has underlined that this is an issue that needs to be solved as a matter of urgency, and is under active consideration in IMO.

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