Westgarth takes over INTERTANKO helm from Fistes

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Nick Fistes has resigned as Chairman of INTERTANKO with immediate effect, citing business commitments for his decision, and has been succeeded by Capt Graham Westgarth at a special meeting in London.

Westgarth has been a member of our Council for nine years, a member of the Executive Committee since 2006 and was elected Vice Chairman in May 2009. He has over 38 years of industry experience including 17 years at sea. As President of Teekay Marine Services, he is responsible for a fleet of over 165 vessels and over 5,500 staff at sea and ashore.

He said in a statement: “I consider it an honour to represent a body whose members are committed to the safe and efficient delivery of the world’s energy. I am passionate about our industry, and proud to act as one of its representatives as we seek to highlight the value we bring to society at large. Our remarkable achievements often go largely unnoticed. We must continue to focus on the importance of the job that we do, and how very well we do it.”

Westgarth takes over the chairmanship at a time when the tanker industry is facing enormous challenges, such as the ongoing supply/demand imbalance which has decimated earnings, greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring the availability of properly trained and experienced officers, and the unwarranted criminalisation of seafarers.

Handling these issues on behalf of INTERTANKO members requires an energetic yet thoughtful approach, working closely with others to achieve solutions that are workable in practice. He added: “During my tenure I will be totally committed not only to promoting the value of our industry, but also to our efforts to drive ongoing performance improvements. I believe that this should be done by cooperating with other industry and legislative bodies in a proactive and constructive manner.”

Dr Peter Swift, INTERTANKO’s Managing Director, welcomed the move. He said: “Graham’s energy, his straight-talking common sense, his ability to think innovatively and constructively, his patience and determination to see things done properly, make him an ideal leader for INTERTANKO in these challenging times.”

Westgarth embraced Fistes’ emphasis on the people on whom our industry depends. He stressed that raising the bar for quality, and striving for the zero goals of the Poseidon Challenge, required the nurture of those on our ships and in our offices.

“I have immense respect for the commitment and professionalism of the people working in our industry, especially those who man our vessels day after day, often in arduous conditions, providing a service that is nothing less than a global energy lifeline.

“To retain this valuable experience, and to attract the best young talent, the tanker industry must continue to invest in human resources, training, and the working environment.”