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Tanker Industry Environmental Responsibility

In the unlikely event of an oil spill, emergency equipment is stationed at strategic locations around the country, ready to spring into action 24-7-365 to lessen the impact of a spill. The oil industry invests millions of dollars every year supporting this vast network of spill response vessels and equipment, keeping a watchful eye on day-to-day operations (See "Oil Spill Prevention and Response" for more information).

The industry continues to invest heavily in new state-of-the-art ships to transport oil more safely. As single hull tankers are retired from service, new double hull tankers are replacing them, so that by 2015 all tankers working in U.S. waters will have double hulls. At the same time, the industry is constantly upgrading the navigational equipment and other systems on existing ships.

To make sure that tanker owners follow safe environmental practices, they must demonstrate their financial ability to clean up an oil spill and to pay for its impacts before they can enter U.S. waters. Additionally, the oil industry funds the $1 billion Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which was established to cover certain uncompensated removal costs and damages.

In addition to investments in ships and equipment, the industry is also committed to its most important resource – the men and women who operate these ships. Rigorous training programs ensure that crew-members can meet high proficiency requirements in accordance with government and industry standards. There are limits on how many hours crewmembers can work without rest. And drug and alcohol programs are strictly enforced, including testing when seafarers apply for and renew their mariner’s license and random on-the-job testing.

The industry, in partnership with government, works persistently to develop the most effective and efficient oil spill response methods, always improving oil spill clean-up methods, materials, and equipment.