Poten’s weekly opinion: A Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Nov 04 2022

Growing size of “dark fleet” increases the risk of accidents

In recent weeks, the tanker market observed two incidents that highlights again the potential risks associated with utilizing old, substandard tonnage for the transportation of crude oil and petroleum products. Last week, a 20-year old Aframax loaded with Russian crude was briefly adrift off the Spanish coast.

The vessel, which was en route from Primorsk to Turkey, needed to make repairs and was only allowed to proceed with her voyage after several deficiencies had been corrected. Also last week, a laden VLCC, this one 21 years old, ran aground off Indonesia.   The VLCC was reported to be carrying a cargo of crude oil from Malaysia to China. No spills were reported with either incident.

However, there are some common threads that are reason for concern. Both vessels were old, 20 and 21 years respectively, and both have had multiple deficiencies in the last 12 months. The VLCC in question was recently blacklisted by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) because it was part of the so-called “Dark Fleet”, involved in the illicit transportation of Iranian oil.


Previous: Greenpeace protesters who blocked Russian oil found not guilty

Next: Tanker chief officer Bo Xu receives 2022 IMO Bravery Award

Related News

Seafarer satisfaction “lowest in 8 years”

(Apr 29 2022)

From COVID to the Ukraine conflict and contractual concerns, global issues have massively impacted seafarer welfare and morale.

CSM and MHSS unite to support seafarers impacted by war in Ukraine

(Apr 21 2022)

Columbia Shipmanagement, together with its owning company and its clients, have raised an unprecedented €1.4 million and assembled a team of 320 psychologists, mostly from Ukraine, to aid traumatised families of seafarers who have been impacted by th...

Seafarer lives don’t need to be risked during lifeboat drills

(Apr 21 2022)

Seafarers are dying needlessly in lifeboat accidents when maritime legislation doesn’t actually require vessels to be manned during drills.

Body of missing crew member from exploding tanker in Thailand found

(Mar 17 2022)

The missing crew member from the “Smooth Sea 2” oil tanker, which suffered an on board explosion and fire while moored at the IRPC pier in Samut Prakan province, has been found dead, while at least 200 nearby houses have been affected.

Crew on gas tanker seek help after 13 months at sea

(Mar 10 2022)

Five crewmen of a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanker were brought ashore by the navy and labour officials after one of them requested help, saying he had been 13 months at sea without shore leave.

Jan- March 2024

Creating a learning culture, a consistent safety culture, SIRE 2.0, ammonia fuelled tankers - TANKER OPERATOR HAMBURG REPORT