The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners plans to tighten membership requirements.
The association, whose 300 members control more than 80 percent of the world's independently owned tanker fleet, wants membership to be limited to those owners or operators whose ships are approved as seaworthy by a recognized classification society.Intertanko's council agreed last week to recommend tighter membership requirements to the next annual general meeting in Washington in May.
Recently introduced entry conditions for new members will be extended to existing members if the proposal is approved. Only those members whose ships are classed by a member of the International Association of Classification Societies will be eligible for Intertanko membership from Jan. 1, 1995, if the recommendations are accepted.
IACS is in the process of auditing its 11 full members and will announce the results early next year. Those members that fail to comply with IACS membership standards will be asked to leave.
"IACS members have committed themselves to the task of restoring the primacy of ship classification as the central system for control of seaworthiness of ships," Intertanko said in a statement following its council meeting in London. "Intertanko will give IACS every support and aid possible in determinedly pursuing this goal."
While the Oslo-based association insists that charterers must drive out substandard ships by refusing to hire them and says oil companies should deny dangerous ships access to their terminals, Intertanko's decision to restrict membership to quality owners represents a reversal of recent policy.
The organization decided earlier this year to introduce quality standards for new members. Prior to that, any conditions of membership had been resisted on the grounds that Intertanko would be in a better position to influence tanker industry standards if membership was extended as widely as possible.
But operators of top-quality tonnage objected to belonging to an organization whose members also included those owners who are giving the whole industry a bad reputation.
In a statement following its council meeting, Intertanko said it fully supported tougher port state control inspections of substandard tankers and more rigorous inspections by classification societies.