Parliament adopts ban of single hull tankers quasi-unanimously

On 4 June, the European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to accelerate the phase-out of older oil tankers in EU waters. This vote should allow the new rules to enter into force on 1 September 2003.

On 4 June, the Parliament adopted a legislative resolution on double hull or equivalent design requirements for oil tankers by an overwhelming majority (501 votes in favour, 5 against and 14 abstentions) so that old, unsafe and dangerous oil tankers like the "Prestige" will no longer be allowed to transport oil in EU waters. In future, heavy grades of oil will be transported by double hull tankers only. By giving their backing to the Council's agreement, MEPs made it possible to avoid a second reading so that the new rules can enter into force on 1 September 2003.

The main points adopted in the resolution are the following:

  • all tankers of the Erika and Prestige type (category 1) may be operated only up to the age of 23 years and no later than 2005;
  • category 2 tankers (generally constructed between 1982 and 1986) and Category 3 tankers, (smaller and are often operating in regional traffic) should be both phased out by 2010 instead of 2015 as had been proposed by the Commission;

The consequence of the entry into force of these new rules is that the EU and the candidate countries urgently need new and better oil tankers.

Peter Swift, managing director of the International Association of Tanker Owners (Intertanko), said the move was premature as there might not be sufficient double-hulled tankers in Europe to replace the current single-hulled fleet.


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