The vetting inspections of tankers by oil companies are proliferating in frequency, rising steadily in cost and, at an estimated US$300 million a year, are well on the way to running out of control, says INTERTANKO.
The autumn meeting of INTERTANKO’s council in Hong Kong developed further the issue of the sustainability of tanker shipping, joining late payments of freight and demurrage at the top of the sustainability project’s list of priorities is tanker vetting.
INTERTANKO’s chairman, Graham Westgarth of GasLog, chaired an active council discussion on the vetting of tankers. Vessel inspections by charterers are a crucial part of tanker vetting that has effectively become every tanker owner’s ticket to trade.
“Vetting plays a vital role in safety, one which our members respect and welcome,” says Westgarth.
“The highest quality owners want to distinguish themselves from those with lesser standards. However there are some very real concerns on the fact that the SIRE system is not being used by OCIMF members as it was intended, resulting in a multitude of unnecessary inspections. INTERTANKO’s Council expressed alarm at this trend.”
According to INTERTANKO, the cost of vetting has become prohibitive for tanker owners as charterers implement fragmented vetting strategies, insisting on performing their own inspections at an average cost in the region of US$5,000 and using their own individual criteria instead of accessing valid, standardised inspection reports already lodged in OCIMF’s SIRE system.
In addition, tanker operators are obliged to cover unreasonable extra costs.
INTERTANKO and its vetting committee have been working closely with OCIMF and CDI (the Chemical Distribution Institute), as well as the individual oil and chemical companies, on a number of vetting issues. But as part of its sustainability project, INTERTANKO has been developing a that aims to ensure that the costs of vetting inspections are apportioned in a fair and reasonable manner and that vetting is only used for safety and not commercial reasons.