The environment must be protected! An Environmental policy must exist in a QA-system! The CBT ISO 14001 is the most important training to conduct when joining a vessel! Switch of the light in areas not in use! An Environmental Officer must be designated on board, and so on….
All of the above plus many many more statements are examples of “actions” we take to protect, or minimize the effect on our surroundings, the environment. But, when are we going to do the real stuff, the important actions that really make difference in case of an undesired event, i.e an accident or incident?
I am not saying that the above actions are meaningless, but they will not make the big difference in my opinion. We need to start from the root and continue to affect everything upwards in the tree. We need to start at the ship designing stage!
Within DNV’s regulations there are a type of design called “Clean Class Design” but it sounds better then what it is. It is more stringent requirements but it does not affect the core design stage of a vessel. Of course MARPOL also regulates the design of vessels with regards to pollution prevention, but it is still too little. What I am looking for is that someone dares to require double hulls wherever you have FO tanks on the inside, disregarding type of vessel and trade area.
New oil and chemical tankers have had double hulls for FO tanks for a while, but why are not i.e. offshore vessels designed with double hulls? If we look on the operation pattern for those vessels where they normally enters small ports, a lot of manoeuvring and shifting of berths, manoeuvring with small margins offshore close to installations in good and bad weather.
Maersk have at least one design without any bottom or side tanks, but when is it going to be a fleetwide, world wide standard?
A common expression is that the shipping industry is at least 10 years behind if comparing with other industries. True or false, but I believe this will take time, since it is not the protection of the environment which is the most important, it is to make as much money as possible!