Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Global efforts to prevent oil spills continue despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we are informed. In mid-April IMO indicated that the first webinar of a new series on oil spill preparedness and response had been delivered by the Global Initiative West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF) Project on 14 April.
For more on GI WACAF see here: https://www.giwacaf.net/en/project/history
The webinar focused on developing a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP). Experts from ITOPF (https://www.itopf.org/) and OTRA (https://otra-antipol.com/about-us/ ) presented both the development process and the content of a NOSCP, as well as the importance of its effective implementation.
According to IMO other webinars will cover related topics, including waste management, the use of dispersants, wildlife response and liability and compensation in case of an oil spill.
It was reported that the GI WACAF project launched its first webinar series on oil spill preparedness and response in June 2020. This helped provide key assistance to countries in improving their response plan, such as response techniques or implementing legal and institutional instruments to meet international regulations.
At GI WACAF the project is a collaboration between the IMO and IPIECA* to enhance the capacity of 22 partner countries in West, Central and Southern Africa to prepare for and respond to marine oil spills.
Readers are invited to click here for a replay of the webinar: https://www.giwacaf.net/en/webinars
*Originally the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association. For more on this organisation see: www.ipieca.org
Illustration per www.imo.org ©
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has welcomed the World Health Organization’s decision to name seafarers as one of the groups of transportation workers that should be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination in instances of limited supplies. This was reported on 22 July.
Updated guidance for Stage II of its vaccine roadmap from the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) states: ‘Seafarers and air crews who work on vessels that carry goods and no passengers, with special attention to seafarers who are stranded at sea and prevented from crossing international borders for crew change due to travel restrictions.’
IMO Secretary General Lim commented: ‘I am glad to see that the WHO recognises the importance of vaccinating seafarers on cargo ships.
‘These individuals are responsible for transporting over 80% of all goods around the world, including food, medicine and vaccine supplies – and have continued to do so despite extremely challenging circumstances. Seafarers will play a key role in the global recovery, and barriers to international travel and crew change must be removed.’
On 28 September 2019, a cargo tank containing styrene monomer on board the Cayman Islands registered chemical tanker Stolt Groenland ruptured causing an explosion and fire. The tanker was moored alongside a general cargo berth in Ulsan, Republic of Korea and the Singapore registered chemical tanker Bow Dalian was moored outboard. Ignition of the styrene monomer vapour resulted in a fireball, which reached the road bridge above. Both vessels were damaged, and two crew suffered minor injuries. Fifteen emergency responders were injured during the fire-fighting, which lasted for over six hours.
Rupture of the styrene monomer tank resulted from a runaway polymerisation that was initiated by elevated temperatures caused by heat transfer from other chemical cargoes. Elevated temperatures caused the inhibitor, added to prevent the chemical’s polymerisation during the voyage, to deplete more rapidly than expected. Although the styrene monomer had not been stowed directly adjacent to heated cargo, the potential for heat transfer through intermediate tanks was not fully appreciated or assessed.