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Friday, September 21, 2018

French shipowners react to initiatives taken by the EU in the aftermath of the Prestige accident

On 29 January 2003, the Association of French Shipowners (“Armateurs de France”) issued a press release on the post-Prestige measures proposed by the European Commission.

Particularly since the French government is pressing ahead with measures in the aftermath of the Prestige accident, the French shipowners’ comments are welcome and helpful.

The Association declares that it is in favour of a rapid implementation of the Erika packages, and in some cases, of an acceleration of their implementation. However, it recalls that the Erika Packages strengthened liability and controls only on shipowners, port states and classification societies. According to the French shipowners, the time has now come to address flag states, insurance companies and shippers.

Furthermore, the French association stresses that international rules should prevail over regional ones, given the international nature of the maritime transport industry. It also recalls that a calendar for phasing out single hull tankers was agreed at the IMO less than a year ago. Therefore it stresses the need for an in-depth economic analysis of the potential market implications of an earlier phase-out proposal before any change are made to the IMO calendar. The French shipowners’ association also raises doubts over the possibility to negotiate a new compromise at the IMO.

The French association accepts, however, the draft regulation proposed by the Commission on a ban on transport of HFO and “heavy crude oil” in and out of European ports on single-hulled ships.

The press release can be accessed directly from the Armateurs de France web site.

Contact: Peter Swift