Representatives from Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the oil tank vessel industry meets in Seattle to award Exceptional Compliance Program (ECOPRO) Award to Tanker Pacific Management.
The award was given to the Singapore-based company for achieving excellence in marine safety and environmental stewardship.
Tanker Pacific Management operates foreign-flagged oil tankers worldwide, including Washington and other West Coast states. Its fleet is designed to carry crude and refined petroleum products in an environmentally safe manner. Tankers that transit Washington waters are double-hulled with state-of-the-art navigation systems.
Capt. Prashant Mishra, marine safety and quality manager for Tanker Pacific Management, traveled from Singapore to Seattle to accept the award.
“Tanker Pacific Management is proud to achieve this critical milestone with the state of Washington,” Mishra said. “Attaining ECOPRO status demonstrates our commitment to protecting the local marine environment while meeting the highest standards of maritime safety.”
“Tanker Pacific Management joins an elite group representing some of the most advanced and safest marine transportation companies in the world,” said Ecology Spills Program Manager Dale Jensen. “While our ECOPRO standards are higher than those required under state and federal laws, we know our standards are ultimately achievable. Washington’s environment is clearly worth the effort.”
In addition to enforcing state laws to protect Washington waters, Ecology also manages a unique non-regulatory environmental protection program for tank vessels called the Voluntary Best Achievable Protection (VBAP) and Exceptional Compliance Program (ECOPRO).
Tank vessel operators are encouraged to participate in Washington’s VBAP or ECOPRO program to protect Washington’s irreplaceable natural resources from the damage caused by an oil spill.
Ecology’s Jensen said the program is designed to protect Washington waters and reward companies that voluntarily operate their tank vessels under these higher standards.
“Companies like Tanker Pacific Management that are participating in this non-regulatory program deserve and should receive public recognition for their commitment to environmental and safety excellence in their vessels’ operations,” Jensen said.
The VBAP and ECOPRO standards are designed to fill important safety gaps which Washington has identified as critical for state waters. Human error and management issues are often the root causes of oil spills. Using safety management systems that exceed the regulatory minimums improves the safety of vessels transiting Washington waters.
Washington state standards were developed jointly with industry representatives to provide standards higher than those required by law but attainable by today’s proactive marine transportation companies. They are designed to significantly reduce the probability of an oil spill in Washington waters by identifying areas where companies can improve their environmental safety beyond existing regulatory requirements.
Tanker Pacific Management and other companies that apply for the VBAP and ECOPRO certification are required to submit plans to Ecology for approval. Their plans are valid for three years. Ecology vessel inspectors conduct ship audits to make sure the management system is being implemented and continues to meet or exceed state VBAP or ECOPRO standards.
Source: Department of Ecology, August 19, 2011; Image: Tanker