Media action call

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 August, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 August, 1993, 12:00am

SHIPPING lines should be capable of responding to media inquiries in a maritime crisis within two hours of the incident to minimise fuss and mis-reporting, says a London-based company executive.

Managing director of City Marketing Patrick Adamson said an analysis of two recent oil spills showed that response to the media took nearly 24 hours after the incident.

''By this time, the oil spill incidents, together with the oil covered birds, had been shown repeatedly over the television,'' he said.

''What it means is to get to the hearts and minds of people through television by trained shipping people from top executives to superintendents showing that they care, as quickly as possible after an incident,'' he said.

He emphasised that the US, which will enact the final regulations for the US Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) and the required Vessel Response Plan (VRP) on August 18, believed that half the problem lay with communicating with the public.

As part of the VRP, the owner, manager or operator has to submit his plans to the US Coast Guard on how he will quickly and accurately disseminate facts to the media within hours of any incident occurring, he added.

Mr Adamson said much damage had been done to oil tanker companies through adverse publicity, often published without accurate information.