We reported in the Weekly NEWS 30 of 26 July 2002 that on 17 July the European Commission gave its approval to an Italian aid scheme aimed at encouraging the phasing-out of single hull tankers.

To be eligible, the tankers must be over twenty years old and equipped to carry oil, crude oil or chemicals. Tankers of up to 30,000 tonnes are covered by the scheme, including tankers of less than 5,000 tonnes, whose operation is currently not restricted by either international or European Union (EU) law.


At a meeting this week of the Shipping Policy Committee of the European Community Shipowners' Association, CONFITARMA’s representative confirmed that the European Commission had still not published its decision.  He underlined that the conditions imposed by the European Commission would be quite complex, bringing the scheme under the European State Aid Guidelines Directive and thus in line with the overall European Union rules regarding permissible support.


At the meeting it was furthermore reported that the announced European Commission review of the  application of the competition rules to maritime transport had not yet begun.  This work is expected to start at the beginning of the New Year. We understand that the revision of EU Regulation 4056/86 – the block exemption for liner conferences – might ultimately also have implications for the way tanker pools are treated legally in Europe.


The European Commission intends to issue two Communications dealing with  Maritime Security later this year.  The Communications will include a draft regulation making the application of expected IMO decisions compulsory for European Member States.  Some guidelines may be proposed on port issues not covered by the IMO.  Furthermore the Commission can be expected to propose a directive on seafarers’ identification.


There was agreement on the need to ensure that the exemption for shipping in the draft Directive on Environmental Liability needed to be preserved so that the new European rules would take into account the international rules governing liability and compensation for environmental damage caused by shipping.


ECSA will continue its work on the proposed ports directive with the aim of it covering all services in ports.  It will be recalled that ECSA and INTERTANKO have jointly produced a statement on the pilotage aspect of this.