Lines in wait on OPA issue tussle
By WONG JOON SAN
SHIPPING companies whose oil tankers serve the United States are still waiting for P&I (pretection and indemnity) clubs to sort out the OPA 90 Certificates of Financial Responsibility (COFR) issue, says a shipping executive.
Valles Steamship Co executive director David Koo said: ''I don't think anybody knows right now how the issue is going to be resolved.'' The US Coast Guards (USCG) and the P&I Clubs have been in a tussle over this issue for 22 months. The clubs have refused to issue the COFR without which vessels may not ply US waters.
According to a recent Lloyd's List report, the USCG, in a strongly worded 86-page Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) of its highly controversial proposed financial responsibility regulations issue in September 1991, warned that the clubs' stance would wreak havoc on world shipping and injure the economies of many countries in addition to the US.
The recalcitrance of the clubs has prevented the USCG from establishing final COFR regulations and has laid the groundwork for future barring of vessels from US ports when the OPA 90 requirements start being enforced.
Meanwhile, shipping companies serving the US have until August 18 to meet the USCG's requirements concerning vessel response plan under OPA 90.
This includes naming contractors in every port of call who will deal with oil spills, lighterage services and fire-fighting.
Mr Koo said this requirement meant a lot of paper work for shipping companies whose vessels were operating in US waters.
In a separate development, Valles is to take delivery of a 151,000 deadweight tonne (dwt) Capesize vessel this month and another sister vessel in the middle of next year from a Kaohsiung shipyard.
Mr Koo, whose company manages 10 vessels, said the Canadian provincial authorities had approved Valles' application to relocate its head office to Canada.
All that remained was approval from the federal authorities, after which the company had 18 months to carry out the relocation process, he said.