Intertanko: COVID-19 necessitates flexibility from charterers

Credit: Dietmar Hasenpusch

Intertanko has appealed, on behalf of its member charterers, for understanding over the need for Ship Inspection Report Programme/Chemical Distribution Institute (SIRE/CDI) surveys on their vessels, as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic worsens.

The organisation highlighted disruption to the statutory limits on crew-trip length. “The inability for seafarers to travel and join ships is something that affects the entire shipping industry,” Intertanko said in a statement. “The impact on families, the mental welfare of seafarers, and issues related to long-term fatigue are very real concerns.”

In the wake of the crisis, the tanker industry faces a shortage of surveyors capable of travelling to vessels to perform the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF)-mandated inspections, which remain valid for 12 months. Intertanko has advised members to book the surveys “on loading or idle”, if possible, so as to avoid future bottlenecks, basing their plans on the assumption that the aftermath from COVID-19 will last for several months.

Meanwhile charterers were encouraged to “recognise the best efforts Intertanko members are making” to comply with SIRE/CDI inspections, given foreseeable situations in which “members, through no fault of their own, are unable to comply with the normal rules”.

“Flexibility is needed in order to ensure sufficient tonnage to carry the world’s oil, gas and petroleum products, avoiding untold knock-on effects for the global economy,” Intertanko added.

Intertanko chairman Paolo d’Amico praised flag states and classification societies’ flexible approach as “very positive”, given the scale of the crisis.