Thirty years ago, then-editor Mike Corkhill opened the March 1990 edition of HCB with thoughts about the reputation among the public of the chemical industry and its logistics partners. Whenever an accident happened, the general press – largely ignorant of chemistry – stoked public fears. And while there were good reasons to be fearful of some substances, the chemical industry was only just beginning to realise that it needed to be proactive in spreading the word about all the good that it did.
Mike also mentioned that concern over environmental pollution and the associated possibility of long-term damage to health, as well as the fear of catastrophic incidents were at the forefront of the public consciousness. It is perhaps disappointing, then, that it has taken another three decades before governments around the world have started taking those concerns seriously, as illustrated by the arrival two months ago of the ‘IMO 2020’ rule on sulphur oxide emissions from ships.
Our March 1990 issue included a look at rulemaking initiatives designed to clean up the business of shipping oil and chemicals in bulk, starting with an article by John Dunn, managing director of London-based Papachristidis Ship Management, on vapour emissions control. That article focused primarily on fugitive emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during loading and unloading, but along the way he mentioned that IMO had agreed to a Norwegian suggestion to give further attention to emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that resulted from the burning of heavy fuel oils as bunkers.
There was also discussion of tanker loading in an article by HH ‘Curly’ Cail, representing the UK’s Independent Tank Storage Association, looking at recommendations in a report prepared for the UK Health & Safety Commission by Technica Ltd. The report contained a number of proposals for measures to mitigate major hazards in the transport of dangerous goods, one of which was to mandate the use of rigid loading arms rather than hoses at tanker berths.
Industry’s opinion was that such a move would be unnecessarily costly and would actually raise safety risks, particularly at multipurpose berths handling a variety of products and ship sizes. Articulated arms should, it was felt, be reserved for more specialised jetties, such as company-owned facilities and those handling LNG, LPG and other liquefied gases.
The March 1990 issue also reported on discussions at the MariChem 89 meeting in Amsterdam in December on issues surrounding tank containers and, in particular, those factors that were then hindering acceptance of the relatively new concept in some quarters. Willy Freson of Exxon Chemicals in Belgium explained how his company looks at the economics of tank use, saying that they were only viable on product chains involving more than 1,000 tonnes per year. Lt-Cdr Phil Olenik of the US Coast Guard reassured the audience that the US was considering changing its restriction that barred the use of IMO Type 1 tanks for the transport of toxic by inhalation substances, while WEW’s Helmut Gerhard provided some words on the advantages of using swap tanks, although there was a need for some standardisation across Europe. Hoyer’s Peter Sump called for similar alignment of standards for tank cleaning depots. Some of these issues have again come to the fore as tank containers are now setting out to conquer new markets in Asia.[post_title] => 30 Years Ago: March 2020 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 30-years-ago-march-2020 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-02-07 14:38:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-02-07 14:38:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=16146 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )