Half a century of shipping spills: What's changed? (2012)

22 May 2014

Half a century of shipping spills: What's changed? (2012)

Richard H Johnson, Technical Director

Paper presented at INTERSPILL 2012, London, UK, 13-15 March 2012

Over the last half century, particularly since the critical TORREY CANYON incident of 1967, the most noteworthy change has been the dramatic decline in the number of major tanker spills from an annual average of 24.5 in the 1970s to 3.3 in the 2000s, despite the growing size of the world fleet. This is due, in no small measure, to the endeavours of maritime states through the IMO as well as both the shipping and oil industries, whose cooperation have made such incidents rare rather than a common twice monthly event. Development and implementation of international conventions that set the standards for ship design and operations, have worked to mitigate the occurrence of incidents, where as conventions offering guidance on preparing for incidents and promoting government-industry cooperation, as well as ensuring the availability of compensation to victims of oils spills have acted to minimise the consequences should an incident occur, all of which have seen widespread adoption globally.

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