Oil Pollution Prevention (Structural Features Of Crude Oil Tanker, Cargo Handling Equipments, Operational Practices)

3343 words - 13 pages

IntroductionAt the present time, modern civilization is largely dependent on oil and its by-products. Vast quantities of liquid products are transported by tankers throughout the world, as such concern for the environment associated with tanker traffic has become number one priority in the anti-pollution campaign. Given the fact that oil tankers have been involved in a number of damaging and high-profile oil spills which costs millions of dollars, they are subject to stringent design and operational regulations under IMO.IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is the international statutory body responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships through International Conventions, advisory bodies and education. The International Conventions are the foundation for most international and national legislation regarding the construction, operation and manning of ships. When the conventions are adopted or ratified by national governments, they are embedded into national legislation, usually through a Maritime Act or similar legislative tool. It is therefore the responsibility of national governments worldwide to enforce the requirements of the Acts on ships sailing under their national flag of registry, or foreign ships operating within their jurisdictional waters. This enforcement is carried out by both the Flag State Control and the Port State Control.The International Conference on Marine Pollution: Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 and the related 1978 Protocol (MARPOL) attempt to eliminate intentional pollution of the marine environment by oil and other harmful substances through setting mandatory regulations to control such activities worldwide (IMO 1997). While the establishment of shipping rules and standards has been subject to compromise among signatory nations and enforcement is difficult, MARPOL has been remarkably successful in its achievement of reducing oil pollution. It is estimated that operational discharges of oil dropped 85% between 1973 and 1990 (Griffin 1994).Major Structural Features of a Crude Oil TankerDesign defects of the ship’s structure might cause serious oil spills. Among these, the one that arouses most public concern today is that of the single hull design (Michael & James 2006). In single hull tankers, the oil is separated from the seawater only by the bottom and side plating. In case of collision or grounding, when the hull is damaged, the risk that the cargo oil in the tanks be discharged into the sea and cause pollution to the environment is very high as compared to double hull designs which protect the cargo tank with a second inner plate at a sufficient distance from the outer shell. In 1992, as a result of the Exxon Valdez accident on 24 March 1989 (BBC 2008), regulation 13F in Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 was amended to make it mandatory for tankers of 5,000 dwt and more ordered after 6 July...

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