International Maritime Organisation backs EU push for stricter rules on tankers

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed to adopt European Union proposals on speeding up the timetable for the withdrawal of single-hull oil tankers.

On 4-5 December 2003, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) met for an extraordinary session to discuss the accelerated phase-out of single-hull oil tankers. During the meeting it adopted a new regulation on the phase-out of single-hull oil tankers by 2010.

The regulation has been adopted following the EU's diplomatic efforts to speed up the timetable for the withdrawal of single-hull oil tankers so as to prevent future maritime disasters such as the Prestige or Erika incidents.

A ban on single-hull tankers carrying heavy fuel oil within the EU came into force in October 2003.

Intertanko, the International association of independent tanker owners, has expressed concern over this accelerated phase-out and supported an alternative proposal by Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Singapore against the immediate banning of single-hull oil tankers less than 5,000 tons carrying heavy grade oil. The four Asian countries argued that such a ban would cause serious problems on heavy grade oil trades.


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