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Singapore becomes first country to agree schedule of rates with ITOPF

Singapore becomes first country to agree schedule of rates with ITOPF

Singapore: Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited, or ITOPF signed a Memorandum of Understanding to mark a pre-agreed schedule of rates for oil spill response resources, provided by the MPA and its supporting spill response agencies and resource owners. The MOU was signed yesterday at the International Chemical and Oil Pollution Conference (ICOPCE) held in Singapore. It aims to proactively avoid situations where response agencies and resources owners have problems obtaining compensation for services and equipment, especially when there are disagreements on rates.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Singapore's Minister of State for Finance and Transport, said that with this framework of pre-agreed rates in place, spill response agencies and resource owners can look forward to fair and timely compensation for their part in clean-up operations. P&I Clubs and the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Fund, which provide the compensation, rely on ITOPF to assess claims.
The MOU is the first of its kind and the ITOPF hopes to conclude similar ones with other administrations. Lim pointed out that Singapore takes a pro-active approach with regards to environmental issues and is one of a handful of countries to have acceded to all six annexes of the IMO's MARPOL convention, which provides for the prevention of pollution by oil, noxious liquid substances, sewage, garbage, ship's emissions and other harmful substances.
This year's ICOPCE , being held in Singapore as part of its Maritime Week, looks at how the industry can ensure safe shipping through the two pillars of "Prevention" and "Preparedness". Lim observed that over the last few years, strong industrial growth has led to greater demand for oil, gas and chemicals, which in turn has led to increased tanker shipping volumes. To keep pace, the world tanker fleet has expanded more than 7% pa since 2005. She predicted that with the Chinese and regional economies still buoyant, the tanker fleet can be expected to continue growing. With greater volumes of oil and chemicals being transported by sea, the challenge is to strike a balance between environmental protection and economic development. "Our collective ability to prevent accidents and to manage the accidents and spills that do occur will be more critical."  [25/09/07]

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