Towards Safer Ships & Cleaner Seas by Dmitry Ulitin while on board FSO "Belokamenka"

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A few years ago there might well have been questions on why a leading P&I Club would be sponsoring a Handbook for modern tankship operations with its underlying IMO principle of 'safer ships and cleaner seas'. At that time the view of the industry might have been that ship operations should be left to those operating vessels and that the role of P&I Clubs was to protect owners from possible liabilities and to indemnify those who had claims against such owners. Although I doubt if such a view was ever correct it would certainly not be so today.
Today P&I Clubs must not only provide their traditional services to their members but must also be more proactive in the prevention of accidents. This is not an altruistic aim. 'Safer ships and cleaner seas' means fewer liabilities and smaller claims. That, in turn, means lower costs all round. In other words the principle is simply good business!
Card is, of course, fully conscious of some of the problems which are plaguing modern tankship operations. An ageing world fleet, the difficulty of maintaining crewing and operational standards and a greatly enhanced global regulatory system cause difficulties for all P&I Clubs and Card has not escaped the serious tanker claims which arise from time to time. Yet almost each and every such claim appears to have some sort of human error as its root cause. Furthermore, often some of the most modern, best-equipped and apparently well-managed vessels do not escape maritime disasters. Accordingly, we encourage anything which attempts to address this problem.
This handbook is such an attempt. It provides a checklist of the obvious; a return to the basic routine which could and should prevent accidents. The work is addressed to all those involved in modern tankship operations - as the authors state - from board room to pump room! In fact, we hope that management especially will take note of the many messages contained in the book. A number of recent legal cases and formal enquiries have revealed that ultimate management responsibility for events leading to maritime accidents, as well as ship-source marine pollution, is today perceived to be more clear-cut than it ever was.
The handbook has been compiled by three specialists with a great deal of experience in tanker operations, tankship safety, ship management, pollution control and prevention as well as the broad-ranging regulatory aspects related to all of these. Captain John Dudley, the principal author, combines the skills of many years of tankship experience, maritime training and operational ship management. Captain Barry Scott, the handbook's technical advisor, has spent all his professional life in the tanker industry and, for some years has operated a leading tanker safety consulting group, well-known to Card. Finally, the overall responsibility for this work has rested with Professor Edgar Gold to whom, once again, Card owes a tremendous debt of gratitude. Professor Gold, mariner, admiralty lawyer and maritime law professor started working with Gard more than twenty years ago. This handbook has taken painstaking preparation and has called on all his talents - technical, legal and organisational. Without him, it certainly would not have been possible and I am sure it will join his other work for Gard, the Handbook on Marine Pollution, as an invaluable aid to all those concerned with tankship operations. Captains Dudley and Scott and Professor Gold have formed a winning combination and Gard is delighted to be the sponsor of their outstanding efforts.

Arendal, Norway August 1994
N B Herlofson ManagingDirector Assuranceforeningen Gard

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