EC approves tougher tanker regulations


PARIS� The European Commission transportation ministers this week approved the first package of reform measures that France proposed to the 15 member countries Feb. 15.

It was the last EC transport ministers meeting under French presidency.

Besides improving the controls to be carried out on vessels by the classification companies, the member states promised to increase to 4,400/year the number of controls on ships in ports. They also intend to improve efficiency by targeting ships presenting the greatest risks.

Ships that have been detained twice in a port will be banned and all ships must carry "black boxes." The EU Parliament was expected to approve the measures at its next session, enabling them to take effect during 2001.

EU plans to discuss the ban of single hull vessels with the International Maritime Organization, which opposes the regulation (OGJ Online, Mar. 13, 2000).

If the organization does not agree to the proposal by April, individual EU member states will take measures as early as June 2001. Single-hulled tankers will be banned according to a schedule ranging from 2003 to 2015 according to vessel type and age.

France has also obtained a commitment from member states for an ambitious reform of the Oil Pollution Compensation Fund and for ratification of the High Noxious Substances Convention involving damage caused by chemical substances.

Another transportation reform package, dubbed Erika II, is being considered as well (OGJ Online, Dec. 7, 2000).

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