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Intertanko md highlights piracy and criminalization concerns

Intertanko md highlights piracy and criminalization concerns

Singapore: Piracy, recruitment, criminalization of seafarers and the market downturn were in the spotlight during a speech made yesterday by Peter Swift, managing director of tanker body Intertanko, as part of a series of Singapore Shipping Association lectures.

With the current economic downturn Swift said he expected supply to grow faster than demand, and the gap between them possibly getting wider. Although this would probably not be as bad as it may be for other sectors, it was nevertheless still worrying. he felt.

The other topics that took centre stage, especially during the Q&A session, were piracy and criminalization of seafarers. Both issues continues to be a major impediment to recruiting people to the industry. Regarding the master and chief engineer of the tanker Hebei Spirit and the court decision appeal on December 10, Swift said details are still being agreed for international seafarer groups to show support and could include actions such as demonstrations outside South Korean embassies and a possible boycott of South Korean products.

Earlier Intertanko had issued a press release on the current scourge of piracy off Somalia's coasts. It said it had already called on governments to provide naval and other military support (such as aerial surveillance) to protect seafarers and trade in the international sea lanes, called for this naval support to be coordinated, asked for more robust support whereby the appropriate resolutions and associated legislation are put in place to permit pirates and suspected pirates to be intercepted and, when appropriate, to be arrested and brought to trial. Options to boost security include more naval ships and military support to secure the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MPSA) corridor, informal 'buddying' between transiting ships, and focusing on the so-called mother-ships.

Swift said that piracy is a continuing story and there were certain advantages of it being kept in the headlines as governments and international bodies may then pay more attention to solutions

Touching on tanker incidents this year, he said there had been 235 incidents in the first ten months, many of which were engine-related. He said although these did not cost the industry that much now, they need to be addressed to avoid big accidents. When it comes to environment he said the shipping industry used fuel well and compared a one tonne car which uses 1 litre or fuel to move 20kms while an oil tanker may use 1 litre of fuel to move one tonne of cargo 25000 kms

Turning to the process of ships being or becoming double hulled, he reported that some $370bn has been invested since 2000 with the result that 96% of tanker fleets will be double hulled by 2010. He said there were various reasons, including political ones, why some countries/flags such as Marshall Islands, Japan, India, Hong Kong and Singapore would allow trading up to the age of 25 years.  [27/11/08]