THE MARINE LOG FEATURES CALENDAR FOR 2003
The main points adopted in the resolution are the following:
* the accelerated phase-out for so-called Category 2 tankers , generally constructed between 1982 and 1986, should also be extended to Category 3 tankers, which are smaller and are often operating in regional traffic. These category would therefore have to be phased out by 2010 instead of 2015 as had been proposed;
* 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;
* the new rules should also apply to vessels leaving ports and offshore terminals and those anchoring in areas under the jurisdiction of a Member State;
* in order not to jeopardise the EU's oil supply, Parliament adds a new clause providing for a transitional period (until 2008) for smaller tankers with a deadweight of less than 5000 tonnes. To ensure that oil supplies are not endangered in the northern regions of the EU (i.e. the Baltic Sea) a new clause has been introduced providing for a two-year transitional period for single hull tankers equipped with special ice protection equipment.
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. It is generally hoped that these vessels will not be built at cheaper Korean shipyards, but by EU shipbuilders, even at a higher price. The EU owes this to the citizens of Europe, to the environment and to those affected in the fishing and tourism industries, following the terrible shipping accidents of recent years, MEPs believe. And only this week there was a new incident with a Chinese vessel off the Swedish coast, which also underlines the fact that the new legislation cannot come into place too early.
Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of transport and energy, welcomed the Parliament's. "These are spectacular steps ahead which are taking place," she said, "and I am very happy to see these crucial initiatives finally approved by the European parliament, which paves the way for a definitive adoption and an entry into force in the coming weeks. The agreement on the accelerated phasing out of the single hull tankers, as well as the prohibition of carriage of heavy oil in single hulls, only 7 months after the Prestige disaster, are a very strong signal for increased maritime safety: Europe was able to react"
INTERTANKO notes that a group of experts within the IMO has been examining a submission made by the EU, EC and 15 member states, based on this proposal. The Marine Environment and Protection Committee will examine it in July and may take it forward to a vote during a yet-to-be agreed specially convened MEPC meeting in December. There is a strong disagreement between the IMO and EU legal services as to whether it will be necessary for the EU Member States to denounce parts of MARPOL before they can implement new legislation in this area.
It is however clear, says INTERTANKO, that the EU states will press ahead with the proposal as it is at present. Many MEPs and EU Member States have indicated their preference for international rules but have claimed that the IMO is not capable of acting quickly enough to meet their concerns hence the need for regional rules.