The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation
(ITOPF) last night was awarded the prestigious Thor Heyerdahl International Environmental Award, presented by the Norwegian Shipowners Association.
Accepting on behalf of ITOPF was Dr. Ian White, the group’ Managing Director and a marine biologist who has been with the organization since 1977. ITOPF has, since being established in 1968 in the wake of the Torrey Canyon accident, taken an advisory role in the event of oil spills around the globe, sharing lessons learned from past spills and providing detailed information regarding the characteristics of certain products once they enter the sea environment. ITOPF serves in an advisory function only, and has worked in the background to minimize the environmental effects of oil and chemical spills more than 500 times in 85 countries.
During his acceptance speech, Dr. White lamented the “PR” driven response plans … plans enacted by political will which could “look good on TV”, but could actually do more harm than good.
“Plants and animals don’t mind a bit of oil, but they don’t like being sandblasted” he said, upon showing a picture of an aggressive measure to wash oil from