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Friday, July 20, 2018

FIRST DISCUSSIONS OF EU PROPOSALS AT EU MINISTERIAL LEVEL

After formal presentation of the EU Commission proposals addressing the political demand for action in the wake of the Erika accident, the EU Council of Ministers had a first discussion of the proposals at the Council meeting on 28 March. Based on contact with various sources, the following initial and very informal report can be made.

As in the Consultation meeting with Member States on 2 March, there was support in principle for the Commission proposals relating to port state control and classification societies. A majority took the view, however, that the proposal relating to the phasing out of Single Hull Tankers should be dealt with exclusively in IMO. Nevertheless, note should be taken of the fact that leading Member States such as Germany, Italy and obviously France seemed reluctant to support this majority view. It could also be mentioned that only two countries criticised the content of the proposal as such.

The issue of phasing out will be discussed again at the June Transport Council meeting. Given the Member States’ majority view, there would seem a fair chance that the Council's message in June will be that the matter will be pursued in IMO. In the meantime the industry will have to approach individual Member State governments in order to secure a productive outcome.

At the moment no initiatives towards IMO are planned.

In the meantime, and according to normal procedures, the Communication, including the three proposals, have been referred to further detailed discussions at expert level (the Council Working Group). While a programme for discussion of the Classification Societies and PSC proposals will no doubt be agreed, it is unclear at this stage the extent to which the phasing out issue will be considered further at this level ahead of the June Council meeting.

In parallel the European Parliament will start addressing the issues - probably within the next month or two. So far, however, the Parliament has not yet appointed a rapporteur on the issue.  For further information, please contact dagfinn.lunde@intertanko.com