Major oil spills threaten people’s livelihoods, their homes and their ways of life and a large spill is one of the greatest threats a shipping company is ever likely to face. Whether caused by a bunker breach or the loss of cargo, no vessel or company is immune.
The onslaught of media interest will likely overwhelm even the most sophisticated shipping company and social media activity will explode. The coverage of the spill will almost invariably include two components: What went wrong? And what is next?
Investigations will be conducted and the factors contributing to the spill will likely be uncovered, but in the early stages information about cause will be limited and speculation will easily turn to blaming the company involved. Shipping companies are an easy target for journalists to attack and they can quickly draw public outrage.
Such lines of attack are obviously of significant concern for any company and they do little to actually contribute to a resolution of the situation. Our strategy is based on transparency and we will work with companies and, in the case of cargo loss, charterers, to provide factual and verified information to the media. However, our goal is always to focus on steps towards resolution instead of dwelling on the past.
While anger may lead people to ask what went wrong, in most cases “What is next?” is a much more important and useful question. Responding well to this question gives a company the best chance of restoring public trust and defending its reputation.
Navigate Response will field journalists’ calls, arrange press conferences, work with relevant parties (including the Integrated Command Structure ICS in the USA), coach spokespeople and manage the company’s online presence. We will compile and provide information on the steps that are being taken to resolve the situation and will draw in third parties such as salvors and any oil spill response organisation (OSRO) to relieve public concern and provide assurance while taking the pressure off of the shipping company.
We have the capacity to mobilise teams to the spill site, to our client’s offices and to other relevant locations around the world. Through our global network we also have the capability to respond to international media outlets who will be covering the story in their native language and thereby to ensure the most favourable possible coverage of a challenging situation.