Downward trend in tanker spills continues

8 January, 2016

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Over half-way into this decade and the downward trend in oil spills from tankers continues. For the last three and a half decades the average number of incidents involving large oil spills, i.e. greater than 700 tonnes, from tankers has progressively reduced and since 2010 stands at an average of 1.8 per year.

In 2015 two spills of oil over 700 tonnes from tankers were recorded; one a crude oil spill in Singapore and the other a spill of naphtha in Turkey. ITOPF provided technical advice to the vessels' insurers in both incidents. Six medium-sized spills (7-700 tonnes) were also reported in 2015, involving cargoes of asphalt, naphtha and slurry oil, as well as bunker fuel.

The total amount of oil lost to the environment through tanker incidents in 2015 was approximately 7,000 tonnes, the majority of which can be attributed to the two large spills.

This continuing trend in low numbers of large oil spills annually is encouraging news for tanker operators and governments alike as they continue to work to improve standards of operations in sea-borne transportation.

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