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    ISU pollution survey highlights decline in salvage workload

    News // March 19, 2004
    Members of the International Salvage Union (ISU) recovered over 605,000 tonnes of potential pollutants during salvage operations last year. During 2003, emergency assistance was provided worldwide for 218 vessels with cargoes and bunkers threatening pollution, as against 268 ships in 2002. This is a significant decline in numbers.

    The results of the ISU's latest annual Pollution Prevention Survey show that oils, chemicals, other pollutants and bunker fuel recovered last year totaled 605,677 tonnes, as against 957,122 tonnes in 2002. This amounts to a decrease of nearly 37 per cent.

    ISU President Joop Timmermans said: "ISU salvors have recovered over 11 million tonnes of potential pollutants in the 10 years to end-2003. While the volume of pollutants recovered in 2003 is down on 2002, it represents a figure more in keeping with thetrend of recent years, with total annual recoveries at around half a million tonnes. In 2001, for example, the total recovery was 539,000 tonnes. In 2002, the figure was inflated by a laden VLCC - the first such case to appear in the ISU caseload for several years. There were no laden VLCC cases involving ISU salvors in 2003."

    Joop Timmermans added: "Last year there was a substantial decrease of 18.7 per cent in the number of casualties assisted. This suggests continued shrinkage in the salvage industry's workload. Turning to the recoveries of pollutants, the crude oil volumewas half that of 2002, yet the figure of 303,486 tonnes still represents around four spills of Prestige size. The recovery of chemicals, at 61,177 tonnes, marks a return to typical annual levels following an abnormally low figure in 2002. The volume of bunkers recovered each year remains remarkably consistent - in the range of 60,000-70,000 tonnes."

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