Forty years ago, one of the largest maritime pollution disasters occurred: the wreck of the Torrey Canyon, the first big maritime oil spill. In response to this catastrophe, the oil tanker industry improved standards and set up a cooperative response system called the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, Limited. The Federation responds to oil spills around the globe. According to the Federation, “40 years on from the Torrey Canyon incident the world is a very different place. The patchwork of industry initiatives and international legal instruments spawned by the mother of all oil spills has tamed the relentless cycle of tanker casualties. Oil spills from ships still happen but they are smaller; and of the 22 spills attended by staff during last year, 15 were from non-tankers.”
There’s still much to do to improve safety in oil and chemical shipments, but it’s worth remembering that we do make headway on some problems.