Maritime Security: What Lies Ahead?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Some recently-enacted legislation and enforcement of existing legislation may have the potential of contributing to the unsafe operation of ships, and of tankers in particular, said Joe Angelo, INTERTANKO’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, at this week’s Maritime Cyprus 2005 Conference ‘Shipping: What Lies Ahead?’

Angelo emphasises from the start that INTERTANKO believes that any seafarer, or ship operator, that violates the law or willingly and knowingly contributes to the violation of the law, whether it be related to safety, security or protection of the marine environment, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

However his concern at the possible negative safety implications of some legislation and enforcement actions focuses on three items.

· First the enactment of Canada’s Bill C-15 which may result in penalties, even in the absence of fault on the part of individual crew members, and could result in a ship’s master being charged for the criminal actions of his subordinates even if they had no knowledge of their actions.

· Second the imposition by the European Directive on Ship-source Pollution of criminal sanctions against seafarers in the case of purely accidental incidents.

· Third the boarding tactics used by the U.S. authorities when attempting to prosecute a case, that ultimately resulted in a ship’s Chief Engineer taking his life.

While acknowledging that there are many issues which lie ahead of the shipping industry, Angelo also focuses on the lack of commitment by flag states, coastal states and port states in ratifying and implementing new requirements and guidelines. If the largest maritime agency in the world, the U.S. Coast Guard, cannot keep pace with the IMO’s conventions, protocols, amendments and guidelines, how can we expect smaller maritime agencies to do so, asks Angelo?

He spotlights the failure of some countries to provide adequate reception facilities; the possibility of unilateral action over ballast water management; the identification of places of refuge.

He also asks whether the ISPS Code, which has been effectively implemented and enforced for the past 14+ months, is enough to satisfy maritime security concerns. An ongoing review by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO)of the vulnerabilities of maritime energy transport has involved INTERTANKO and the tanker industry. If the ISPS Code is deemed by the GAO to be inadequate, the U.S. may either seem improvements through the IMO, or it may consider urgent unilateral action to be necessary to protect U.S. interests. ‘The outcome of this study is of concern and a challenge to the tanker industry,’ says Angelo.

The full text of Joe Angelo’s presentation can be obtained on INTERTANKO’s website

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