Tanker Spills at 5-Year Low

Half-way into this decade and the downward trend in oil spills from tankers is sustained reaching a five-year low, according to the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF).

For the last two and a half decades the average number of incidents involving oil spills from tankers has progressively halved, with the current figures showing the lowest yet, at less than 2 per year.

“At a time when focus on protecting the marine environment is high, this trend should provide encouragement to tanker owners. It is also a testament to the ongoing work by industry and governments to maintain high standards of operations in sea-borne transportation,” said ITOPF.

During 2014, ITOPF recorded 1 large spill of bitumen (~3,000 MT) from a tanker in the South China Sea, and 4 medium spills of various oil types, totalling 5 spills of 7 tonnes and over.

Spill statsThe Federation claims that this figure is still far below the averages for previous decades and is in line with the trend of the last four years.

A number of tanker incidents reported in the media in 2014 involved fire and explosion, where potentially significant quantities of cargoes and bunker fuel burned. The cargoes involved included condensate, diesels and fuel oils.

ITOPF maintains a database of oil spills from tankers, combined carriers and barges. This contains information on accidental spillages since 1970, except those resulting from acts of war.

The data held includes the type of oil spilt, the spill amount, the cause and location of the incident and the vessel involved.

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