Shipping has improved its safety record with fewer ship groundings and vessels in peril, but the industry should not become complacent in its need for salvors.
Less ships are encountering issues during voyages and dockings, causing less pollution and placing fewer lives at risk. These trends are underlined by the latest data from the International Salvage Union (ISU) on the volume of potential pollution saved from the environment through swift emergency response in 2019.
In total, ISU members serviced 214 vessels in 2019, down from 224 in 2018 and 252 ships in 2017. This represents a 15% fall in required salvage services in two years, but, is similar to the number of vessels assisted (216) in 2016.
ISU actions prevented 2.3M tonnes of potential pollutants from entering the environment in 2019. This was a 32% reduction from 3.4M tonnes in 2017, and down from 3.2M tonnes in 2018. It is also lower than 2.7M tonnes in 2016.
This data come from ISU’s Annual Pollution Prevention Survey for operations in 2019, versus other years.
ISU highlighted fewer crude tankers encountering trouble in 2019 compared with 2018 as one reason for reduced potential pollution in 2019. One or two very large crude carrier cases can have a significant impact on the overall numbers. Crude oil pollution prevention through salvage operations in 2019 was 400,000 tonnes, compared to 978,000 tonnes in 2018.
ISU president Richard Janssen says the lower pollution risk is good for shipping but warns against complacency as there will always be risk and a need for salvor services.
“ISU members deliver services that save life and property but as the results of this survey show so clearly, our members’ operations also protect the environment from great harm,” says Mr Janssen.
“The numbers, when compared with other years, also show the variability of our industry,” he comments.
In 2019, around 43%, or 961,061 tonnes of potential pollution was classed as bulk polluting/hazardous cargo, up from 743,100 tonnes in 2018 and down from 1.4M tonnes in 2017.
This category includes products such as grains, coal, scrap steel, soya and cement. Several bulk cargoes are not included as potential pollutants. ISU members also provided services to bulkers carrying 229,731 tonnes of non-hazardous dry bulk, mainly metal ores, in 2019, down from 497,973 tonnes in 2018.
The volume of refined oil product cargoes that were saved from polluting fell in 2019 to 278,046 tonnes compared with 324,988 tonnes in 2019.
“We are always transparent with these numbers,” says Mr Janssen. “We know that not all of these potential pollutants were at risk of going into the sea.”
Some cases will have had limited danger, but, “many others will have carried a real risk of substantial environmental damage” Mr Janssen explains.
ISU members also prevented containerised cargo pollution. Its survey demonstrated a fall in the number of containers involved in ISU members’ services in 2019, down to 25,799 TEU, which equates to 386,985 tonnes, using a nominal 15 tonnes per TEU. This is a 57% reduction in containers compare with the 2018 figure, which was 59,874 TEU and 898,110 tonnes.
Source: Riviera (Click for further of the article)