The Paris MOU is warning that significant number of tankers could pose a risk to the environment. They are not being loaded in accordance with damage stability requirements. In the case of a collision or grounding these ships might not survive, resulting in possible pollution or even loss of life.
Preliminary results from a Paris MoU Concentrated Inspection Campaign on tanker damage stability, carried out between September 1, 2010 and November 30, 2010 show that a total of 173 tankers, 16.2 percent of those inspected, could not demonstrate that they were normally loaded in accordance with the Stability Information Booklet (SIB). The 173 ships comprised 77 oil tankers, 84 chemical tankers and 12 gas tankers.
The Paris MOU is a Regional Port State Control body initiated in 1982 when 14 European countries agreed to co-ordinate their port state inspection effort under a voluntary agreement. Current membership
includes 27 countries. Over recent years, several of these countries have been concerned that tankers were not being loaded in compliance with IMO damage stability requirements. The Paris MoU Committee therefore decided to instigate last year's Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on tanker damage stability.
The CIC questionnaire was completed on a total of 1,065 tankers (419 oil, 538 chemical and 108 gas tankers). A total of 94 (8.8 percent) inspections found deficiencies directly related to the CIC. A total of four tankers were detained as a direct result of the CIC for not complying with damage stability requirements. (two oil tankers and two chemical tankers).
Richard Schiferli, General Secretary of the Paris MOU commented that though just four detentions might seem a small number given the large number of ships with deficiencies, it had been agreed that during the CIC, detention was a last resort.
"Only for cases where the ship was loaded for the forthcoming voyage and could not show damage stability compliance prior to departure, a detention order was issued," he said. "Therefore tanker damage stability should remain an area of attention in the future."
Pat Dolby, coordinator of the CIC commented: "The most significant finding from the campaign was that 16.2 percent of tankers that were inspected the master could not demonstrate that the ship was normally loaded in accordance the SIB. This is a significant number of tankers that, during a 'spot check," could not show compliance with stability requirements and thus may pose a risk to the environment."
The detailed results will be submitted for review to the 44th meeting of the Port State Control Committee in May 2011, after which the report will be submitted to the International Maritime Organization.