(EnergyAsia, October 21 2011, Friday) — The association representing most of the world’s oil tanker owners recently discussed the issues of the industry’s sustainability amid depressed market conditions, air emissions and the growing threat of piracy.

Intertanko said its council is deeply concerned with the depressed state of the market as tanker rates remain below ship owners’ operating costs.

Chairman Graham Westgarth, who was re-elected 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.”

The council has updated Intertanko’s policy on reducing greenhouse emissions from tankers covering the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMP) as well as Market Based Measures (MBM).

The association said it welcomes the adoption by IMO of amendments to the MARPOL Convention mandating energy efficiency measures (EEDI/SEEMP regulations) on ships.

Intertanko said it advocates that the EEDI requirements should be implemented on a “level playing field” to be applied equally to all ships on the same effective date, and should focus on improving hull design, propulsion efficiency and energy optimisation rather than to reduce speed designs.

It added that any measures taken to comply with EEDI should not jeopardise nor have an adverse effect on the safety of the vessel.

Of various proposals under consideration, Intertanko favours the GHG Fund which it describes as “the simplest and most transparent” for shipowners.

The association said it is “not in favour of a trading scheme to reduce GHG emissions.”

Intertanko said piracy remains 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.

Its council has repeated Intertanko’s call for governments to act to eradicate this scourge, and that Intertanko members should fully support the Maritime Piracy: a Human Response Program (MPHRP). It has agreed to continue its support “for the growing and evolving” SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign which wants governments to take more decisive action to eradicate piracy.