Posted on 10 Oct 2006
On 2nd October, the Society’s Conservation Award for 2006 was presented to BP Shipping at the company’s terminal at Hamble. For some years, one of the Society’s most concerted campaigns has been directed to a commitment from local shipping interests only to employ double-hulled tankers with the Solent, thereby reducing the risk of accidental pollution of the sensitive ecosystems and aesthetic beauty of the region.
BP Shipping was the first major company in the sector to make this commitment to environmental and maritime safety for the carriage of crude and other persistent oils and to a phasing out of single-hulled vessels for non-persistent oils. This commitment was made in advance of any legislative pressure.
In presenting the award, the SPS President, Mr. Peter Nicholson, referred to the example presented by BP, which (unlike other “super-major” oil companies) manages risk itself by operating a significant fleet, thereby limiting its need to charter vessels in (except from a small group of carefully vetted ship-owners). Mr Nicholson concluded that SPS “applauds BP Shipping’s hand-on approach at a time when the world has become increasingly tolerant of pollution of our seas and fore-shores”.
In receiving the award, Mr. David Baldry, the newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer of BP Shipping, spoke of the company’s determination “to step up and lead with actions such as the acceleration of the implementation of a double-hull and ship age policy”. Mr. Baldry spoke of his own interest in the Solent region, having spent much of his youth in the area.
Mr. Nicholson was accompanied by Sheelagh de Carteret Evans, Professor Malcolm Forster and Tom Young, all Members of the SPS Council. The SPS party visited the loading and discharge jetty and heard a detailed explanation of the safety and security procedures in place during these operations. The party also inspected the reed-beds planted in order to purify liquid wastewater, but were not called upon to sample tomatoes grown in compost made from waste oils, a fate which befell the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC, MP on his visit to the plant!
Report by Professor M. Forster