Current tanker market rates are consistently below ship owners’ operating costs according to INTERTANKO’s Council Members, who claim that continuing low rate levels could leave the oil transportation industry threatened.
Debating the sustainability of the tanker industry at INTERTANKO’s council meeting this week, Capt Graham Westgarth, who was re-elected as Chairman of the Association for another two years, said: “If these rate levels continue for a long period, then this could lead to a situation where sustainability of the oil transportation industry is threatened. Our Members operate tankers to the highest standards and will continue to do so. Operating for a prolonged period in an environment where tanker owners are not even covering their operating costs is obviously not a situation that can be maintained.”
Also on the agenda was the issue of greenhouse gases (GHG). INTERTANKO’s Council has now updated its policy in respect of two crucial aspects of reducing GHG emissions from tankers. These cover the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMP) as well as Market Based Measures (MBM).
INTERTANKO has welcomed the adoption by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of amendments to the MARPOL Convention mandating energy efficiency measures (EEDI/SEEMP regulations) on ships.
INTERTANKO stated that, in the implementation of the EEDI requirements there should be a “level playing field” and the EEDI requirements should apply equally to all ships on the same effective date; compliance with EEDI should focus on improved hull design, propulsion efficiency and energy optimisation, rather than predominantly on reduced speed designs; any measures taken to comply with EEDI shall not jeopardise nor have an adverse effect on the safety of the vessel.
INTERTANKO stated it does not believe an MBM is justified at this time as the industry is already incentivised by high fuel prices.
If an MBM should be required, INTERTANKO stated that this should be implemented through an international regime; be simple to enforce and to monitor; provide sufficient transparency to maintain the current level playing field; not result in a disproportionate financial or operational impact on the industry; of the current proposals, the GHG Fund seems to be the simplest and most transparent from a ship owner point of view. INTERTANKO is not in favour of a trading scheme to reduce GHG emissions.
INTERTANKO’s council also debated the issue of piracy – a high priority item for tanker owners, in particular Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea through which passes more than 40% of the world’s oil.
INTERTANKO’s Council reiterated its strong concern that the piracy situation in the Indian Ocean remains unacceptable and more must be done by governments to eradicate this scourge; reaffirmed its commitment to ensure that all INTERTANKO members comply with the Best Management Practices (BMP 4); agreed that INTERTANKO should fully support the Maritime Piracy: a Human Response Program (MPHRP); agreed to continue its wholehearted backing for the growing and evolving SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign which is striving to persuade governments to take more decisive action to eradicate piracy.