European Union to send letter to IMO regarding single hull tankers and MARPOL

The European Union Member States have agreed that the Presidency of the Council of the European Community, acting on behalf of the EU Member States and the European Commission, shall send a letter to the IMO regarding regulation of single hull tankers. (Click here to view.) Basically, the letter officially informs the IMO about the European single hull Regulation (EU Regulation 417/2002, as amended through 2172/2004 and 1726/2003 – click here for an unofficial consolidated text) and informs the IMO that the 25 Member States will not make use of the exceptions under MARPOL Regulations 13 G and 13H.

In summary, the situation is as follows:

-         Accelerated phase-out of single hulls (13G): there would be no derogation allowing the operation of single hull (SH) tankers flagged by an EU Member State after their phase-out date. Similarly, the EU ports will deny entry to any non-EU flagged single hull tanker after its phase-out date.

-         Banning carriage of heavy grade oils (HGO) in single hulls (13H): there would be no derogation allowing SH tankers carrying HGO to enter or leave ports or offshore terminals or to anchor in areas under the jurisdiction of an EU Member State (except for oil tankers in difficulty and in search of a place of refuge or when an unloaded oil tanker is proceeding to a port of repair).

It should be recalled that under the terms of the EU single hull tanker regulation:

-         SH oil tankers equipped with double bottoms or double sides not used for the transport of oil may continue to be operated after the initial phase-out date in 13G, until the year 2015 or the date on which the ship reaches the age of 25 years, whichever is the sooner.

-         Until 21 October 2005, ice-strengthened SH oil tankers equipped with double bottoms, carrying HGO, can be authorised to enter EU ports, provided that the HGO are transported only in the vessel's central tanks.

-         SH oil tankers below 5,000 dwt can continue to carry HGO until the anniversary of the date of delivery of the ship in the year 2008.

The EU notification does not address the policies with regard to 13H of the EU Member States as Flag States. Greece has already sent a letter (click here to view) to the IMO stating that it will make use of the new MARPOL Regulations 13H(5), 13H(6) and 13H(7) for ships flying its flag, provided those ships meet the conditions for such continued operation as specified in these Regulations, without prejudice to the provisions of the European Union single hull regulation (Regulation 417/2002 as amended). Other EU Member States may send individual notifications to the IMO.

Contact:Dragos Rauta