Intertanko's Swift Addresses Russian Group

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
The Russian Register of Shipping's seminar on Maritime Safety and Security in St. Petersburg this week attracted an array of international speakers, including INTERTANKO MD Peter Swift. The seminar was opened by the Russian Minister of Transport, Sergei Frank, who was joined by IMO Secretary General elect, Thimio Mitropoulos; USCG Assistant Commandant, Tom Gilmour; IMO MEPC Chairman, Andreas Chrysostomou; EC Director of Maritime Transport, Fotis Karamitsos. Also present were senior representatives of the maritime administrations of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Malta and the Marshall Islands, while industry and other participants included ICS, Intercargo, BIMCO, UK P&I, Tokyo MoU, Germanischer Lloyd and the Bulgarian Register. In his presentation, entitled 'Towards Zero Tolerance', Peter Swift continued his theme from the previous seminar. "New oil means new responsibilities: Russia's export ships carry more than oil - they carry added responsibilities for quality management and operation", he said. Russia's oil production has overtaken Saudi Arabia's with exports of crude and products over 5m bbls/day and generating some 10% of the country's GDP. An increasing quantity of this oil goes into Europe - 3.4m bbls/day of crude in 2002 and 0.9m bbls/day of products (compared to just 0.1m bbls/day of crude to the US and 0.13m of products, although these US figures are growing fast). Black Sea oil exports have roughly trebled in the last ten years while those from the Baltic have increased approximately ten times. But this growing volume of exported oil comes with more than its fair share of environmental sensitivities - inadequate reception facilities, pressure to maximise deadweight capacity, ice transits, Baltic sulphur emission controls, Bosporus transits, and ship-to-ship transfers in the Black Sea and Mediterranean. In addition, the fact that much of this oil is being shipped into Europe makes for one more sensitivity. Swift stressed that since the Prestige disaster, EU tolerance for further oil pollution is effectively zero, as evidenced by its hard-line attitude on regulatory issues, which has resulted in unilateral regulation ahead of IMO. This is where the new responsibilities come in, says Swift. Successful export growth requires environmental awareness, the use of quality shipping, responsible management and operation of export tankers, and last but not least total management of the Safety Chain.
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