The third meeting of INTERTANKO’s Latin American Panel convened in Miami on July 24 to discuss a wide-ranging agenda.
Capt. Howard Snaith updated the Panel on recent changes and increased activity on issues concerning chemical tankers within the Association and further reported on recent discussions at MEPC 49, which culminated in a compromise proposal for revisions of MARPOL Annex II. Of particular interest to the region, it was reported that Brazil had signed an agreement for the use of CDI reports for Port State Control purposes. It was agreed that INTERTANKO would
encourage other countries in the region to use both CDI and SIRE reports, either through the Viña del Mar - the Latin American Agreement on Port State Control - or by direct contact with maritime authorities in each country.
With recent political unrest affecting both oil prices and tanker trades world wide, the Panel was eager to hear the latest news from Venezuela
. Unfortunately, our invited guests from PDV Marina were unable to attend due to last minute changes in their schedule but José Peraza was able to summarize the current situation in the country.
With regard to oil production and tanker activity, the situation is slowly recovering normal functionality. Varying reports claim oil production levels between 2.5 mbd and 3.4 mbd and refineries are more or less operating at full capacity.
It was recognized by the Panel that a lack of information from official sources had prevented many owners from sending their ships to Venezuela for a longer period than necessary. It is important for members to double-check and re-confirm existing information and contacts. PDVSA has gone through significant organizational changes and no longer exists as one single entity, responsibilities and personnel having been re-structured both on a functional and geographical level.
Managing Director, Dr. Peter Swift, gave a presentation on INTERTANKO's activities since the sinking of Prestige in November last year, with particular emphasis on the accelerated phase-out of single-hull tankers, transport of heavy oils and the extension of CAS following MEPC 49 the previous week. The Panel took note of the various phase-out proposals and engaged in discussions to seek clarification on several issues. The Latin American region would be particularly affected by changes to the regulations of transport of heavy oils, as 70% of the total production and trade in heavy crude oils which fall within the scope of the proposed regulations is concentrated in this one region.
As an oil producing region, it is also important that operators and authorities are aware of and cooperate with regard to the protection of the environment. As a member of INTERTANKO's Environmental Committee, Carlos Juan Madinabeitia was invited to give a presentation on the Committee's current activities, in which he emphasized the particular importance of many of these issues for oil exporting countries in the region. Ballast water treatment and reception facilities were singled out as priorities and INTERTANKO was encouraged to continue its efforts and expand the interaction with national delegations at IMO.
One of the aims of the Panel has been to establish contact with Port State Control authorities
in the region and identify issues of common interest. Panel members were therefore particularly pleased to welcome Mr. Eduardo Cutropia, who gave a presentation on behalf of Viña del Mar - the Latin American Agreement on Port State Control. From a total of 661 tankers inspected in 2002, 19 were detained - equivalent to 2.87%, which is better than the 3.33% average across all shipping segments.
As an increasing number of charterers have implemented CAP requirements for different categories of tankers, Mr. Tom Nolan of ABS Consulting was invited to give a presentation on the SafeHull Condition Assessment Program. Mr. Nolan explained how the program includes fatigue analysis and buckling checks and is continually adjusted to industry requirements.
Finally, INTERTANKO's representative in Washington DC, Dragos Rauta, had been invited to give an update on a variety of activities in the U.S. such as maritime security, ship owners' liability in case of a terrorist attack, emissions from Category 3 engines, tank level and pressure monitoring and USCG campaign on oily water separators.