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1973 IMCO CONFERENCE ON MARINE POLLUTION

FROM SHIPS

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1973

U.S. SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE,

Washington, D.C. The committee met at 2:25 p.m. in room 5110, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. J. Glenn Beall, presiding.

OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR BEALL Senator BEALL. The committee will be in order.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Senate Commerce Committee convenes today to receive a report on the recently concluded IMCO Conference on Marine Pollution From Ships.

Seventy-nine countries participated in the formulation of a new International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships.

I think it is fair to state that this is one of the most significant marine pollution treaties ever developed. I say this for two reasons:

(1) Pollution of the sea, particularly by oil, is on the increase as scientific evidence is beginning to show. A recent survey by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found widespread contamination by oil off the Atlantic and gulf coasts, contamination of unprecedented proportions.

(2) We are in the midst of a world ship contruction boom brought about by growth in worldwide energy needs. A recent issue of Ocean Industry magazine listed 748 tankers, 117 ore-bulk-oil carriers, and 26 liquid natural gas carriers on world order through 1977. The tonnage of the world tanker fleet increased by 10 percent in 1972 alone.

Aware of this growing problem, the IMCO Assembly, in October 1971, resolved to achieve, by 1975, if possible, but certainly by the end of the decade, the complete elimination of the willful and intentional pollution of the sea by oil and other noxious substances, and the minimization of accidental spills. We are here today to see whether the new treaty achieves that goal.

We are very pleased to have as our witnesses today the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the U.S. delegation to the IMCO Conference, Russell Train and Adm. Chester Bender.

Mr. Train, I understand you have some guests that you would like to bring to the table with you. We would be happy to have you gentlemen come up individually or together and bring your guests with you and introduce them to the committee. Staff member assigned to this hearing: James P. Walsh.

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STATEMENT OF HON. RUSSELL E. TRAIN, ADMINISTRATOR, ENVI

RONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY; ACCOMPANIED BY DR. E. K. FEDEROV, DIRECTOR OF THE SOVIET HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL SERVICE: DR. E. B. ZNOMENSKY, HEAD OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEPARTMENT OF HYDROMETEOROLOGY; AND HELEN SELMER, INTERPRETER

Mr. TRAIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am accompanied by Dr. E. K. Federov, who is the Director of the Soviet Hydrometeorological Service, and who is also the Chairman on the Soviet side, for the U.S.-Soviet Joint Committee on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection,

The Hydrometeorological Service of the Soviet Union, which we usually refer to as Hydromet, is a counterpart, at least partially, of our own NOAA, with which you are very familiar.

I might add that Dr. Robert White, the head of NOAA, is a longtime colleague, coworker, and friend of Dr. Federov.

On my right is Mr. E. B. Znomensky, and I apologize for my mispronunciation, who is head of the Environmental Department of Hydromet, and we are fortunate to have the interpreter services of Mrs. Helen Selmer in case there are any questions that the committee might like to ask.

Dr. Federov is really very fluent in English. We just had a meeting late this morning with the President, and while Dr. Federov apologized for his poor English, he and the President had no difficulty whatsoever in having a very spirited and friendiy dialog on matters of joint interest in the field of environment and energy.

It leads me to remark on the fact that your room seems overly warm for a period of energy conservation.

Senator BEALL. I was going to make the same comment myself, sir. Mr. TRAIN. I thought I should beat you to it.

Senator BEALL. Let me say that we are happy to have your guests with us here. I had the pleasure of visiting the Soviet Union during the last part of April this year along with six other members of the committee. We were received with great hospitality and we had a very informative and enjoyable trip.

We had the unusual pleasure of having a 31/2 hour conservation with Secretary Brezhnev during that trip and we came home very optimistic about the future, particularly as it relates to the relations between our two countries.

We hope your stay here will be as productive and enjoyable as our stay in your country. We are happy to have you with us.

Nr. Train. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I am sure that some further questions and answers may come up, but I think I will proceed with my statement.

I should also point out, in addition to Admiral Bender and his colleagues, Mr. Bernard Oxman of the State Department is present. He is an assistant legal advisor and was a member of our delegation to London and carried the responsibility for dealing with the very complex issues that we had.

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I would like the record to show that he is available in the event you have questions concerning any of those issues.

Senator BEALL. Thank you.

Again a comment before you proceed. I should point out I had the pleasure of visiting the conference for several days in October and I found that it was indeed a most interesting exercise. So interesting that I had a hard time understanding it because of the complexity of the issues, but I was very impressed with the job the American delegation was doing and the way they were able to relate to the other delegations at the Conference. I am looking forward to hearing that report.

Mr. Train. Thank you, sir. We are delighted to appear before you this afternoon concerning the recently concluded International Marine Pollution Conference. The agreement reached in London on November 2 is the culmination of preliminary negotiations extending back some 2 years in which the United States has participated actively.

The success of these deliberations, as evidenced by the agreement, resulted in the truest sense from a team effort both among the various concerned agencies and organizations comprising the U.S. delegation, which I had the honor to lead, and among evironmentally concerned nations.

I was very glad to hear your comments on our delegation. It was a very strong group. A great deal of the effectiveness in international efforts of this sort is attributable to the quality of the delegations we are able to bring to bear. It makes a tremendous difference and not only were they a very dedicated group, but also a very highly qualified expert group. I know Admiral Bender will be able to hold his own end UP,

but I would like to pay a tribute to the special role of the Coast Guard in this entire enterprise. They really did a tremendous job.

During the time when Admiral Bender and I were not present, and, we generally were not there except during the plenaries themselves, we were very fortunate in the fact that Rear Admiral Benkert was able to take charge of the delegation. He is also present in the room this afternoon and he did a splendid job in carrying forward our interests.

I think the resulting Convention really speaks to the success of our group in representing the interests of the United States at the London meeting

In my testimony this afternoon, I should like to describe what I consider to be the significant results achieved in London. I understand that Admiral Bender will discuss, in more detail, the relationship of some of these results to the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, and we will, of course, be glad to attempt to answer any questions you may have regarding any areas within the agreement.

The texts agreed upon consist of 20 articles, which broadly govern the 5 technical annexes of the Convention stringently regulating the discharge from ships of oil, noxious liquid substances, harmful packaged goods, sewage, and garbage. Together these documents constitute the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships.

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A separate agreement broadens the 1969 Intervention Convention from its present coverage of actions taken on the high seas by a state to prevent damage to its coastline from oil tanker casualties to include marine casualties involving ships carrying hazardous substances of all types.

Both in breadth of coverage and in methods of control of marine pollutants this Convention far surpasses any previous international agreement.

For the first time, the discharge into the marine environment of light refined oil products will be controlled, and will be subjected to at least the same stringent regulations imposed on crude and heavier petroleum products.

I am glad to report that the U.S. research studies were persuasive in delineating the hazards to the marine environment from those "light oils” and demonstrating that such oils could be retained on board.

I am glad to note that our research studies were corroborated by. independent studies of the U.S.S.R. which indicated additional dangers from these substances which heretofore have been discharged without restriction into the marine environment on a global scale.

I would say that it was the United States and U.S.S.R. findings which, together, were determinative in leading to the controls which this Convention places on refined products. I mention this particularly because we have found cooperation with the Soviet Union in international meetings of this sort to be highly productive and I think it is one of the dividends or byproducts of the improved relationship which has flowed from the meeting between the President and Mr. Brezhnev in Moscow.

We have found that we have many common interests in subjects such as the one under discussion here today and the new atmosphere of détente, if you will, which has come about has encouraged a very open and frank exchange of views and positions between our delegations at meetings of this sort. This has proved to be very highly productive. I think it was without question the close and effective working relationship between our two groups, although we did not agree on everything, which was one of the major factors for this success of the London Conference.

Not only were we successful in having refined oil products controlled, but they will be subjected to the same operational discharge standards applicable to crude products.

These standards are basically those prescribed in the 1969 amendments to the existing Oil Pollution Convention with an important exception—we were able to get agreement on halving the maximum permissible quantity of oil which may be discharged by new oil tankers from 1/15,000 to 1/30,000 of cargo-carrying capacity.

Mr. Chairman, at the time of the Conference, refined product tankers constituted approximately 15 percent of total world oil trade but were responsible for 17 percent of the operational discharges into the ocean. Our estimates were, that in the event light oils remained uncontrolled by 1980, refined product carriers would have been discharging through normal operations, 180,000 tons of light oils per year into the marine environment.

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