Addressing The Threat Of Dark Fleet Tankers


  • The International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Funds convened in London to confront the escalating danger posed by “dark fleet” tankers, a concerning phenomenon in maritime operations.
  • These vessels, often older ships, operate without proper inspection, maintenance, or insurance, primarily to evade sanctions.
  • Delegates expressed profound concerns about the potential risks these vessels pose to both the IOPC Funds and the broader international liability and compensation framework.
  • As a response, plans were devised to craft Assembly resolutions and internal procedures aimed at mitigating these risks effectively.

Discussion at the IOPC Funds Meeting

During the meeting held in London, the IOPC Funds delved into critical matters pertaining to compensation and treaty issues associated with oil pollution damage caused by tanker spills. The discussions underscored the pressing need to address emerging challenges in maritime operations, particularly concerning vessel safety and compliance.

Emergence of Dark Fleet Tankers

A significant portion of the meeting was dedicated to addressing the rise of “dark fleet” tankers, a term used to describe vessels, notably older ships, operating outside regulatory frameworks. These vessels often engage in substandard maintenance practices, lack proper inspection, and operate without adequate insurance coverage, primarily to evade sanctions imposed by international bodies.

Identification of Concerns and Associated Risks

Delegates participating in the meeting expressed grave concerns about the potential risks posed by these uninsured and inadequately maintained vessels. They highlighted the imminent threats these vessels pose to maritime safety, environmental protection, and the efficacy of the international liability and compensation regime. The discussions emphasized the urgent need for proactive measures to mitigate these risks effectively.

Formulating an Action Plan

In response to the identified risks, the participants agreed to formulate Assembly resolutions aimed at raising awareness of the dangers associated with dark fleet tankers. Additionally, plans were set in motion to develop internal procedures to facilitate the gathering of necessary information for identifying and addressing such risks promptly.

Updates and Initiatives

Alongside discussions on dark fleet tankers, the meeting provided updates on oil pollution incidents involving the IOPC Funds. Furthermore, efforts to promote the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (the 2010 HNS Convention) were discussed. These initiatives underscored the commitment of stakeholders to enhance maritime safety and environmental protection measures.

Promoting the 2010 HNS Convention

To further bolster maritime safety measures, workshops were organized to promote the ratification of the 2010 HNS Convention. These workshops emphasized the importance of establishing efficient reporting systems for member states, laying the groundwork for the convention’s effective enforcement and ensuring comprehensive liability and compensation frameworks for hazardous and noxious substances transported by sea.

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Source: Safety4sea