[seadog] More action on single hull tankers

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - The United Nation's maritime arm said on Monday
it would decide this week whether to adopt tough new European Union laws
outlawing some single-hulled oil tankers globally or shelve the idea
altogether.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) said it would debate the
far-reaching proposals at its Marine Environment Protection Committee
meeting this week.

"Changes to (the) Marine Polution Convention (MARPOL) will be considered.
IMO could go ahead with them or could reject them altogether," a spokeswoman
said.

Industry experts consider the meeting to be one of the most critical in
recent years as the decision will shape the future of oil transportation at
a global level.

The EU, shocked by the economic and environmental devastation wrought by the
sinking of the Prestige oil tanker in November, is pushing to outlaw the
transportation of all heavy grades of oil on single-hulled ships by
September.

It also proposes radically accelerating the phase-out of all single-hulled
tankers, much to the bewilderment of the IMO which has its own global
timetable for phasing out old and potentially dangerous oil tankers.

A spokeswoman for the IMO reiterated that it disapproved of "unilateral or
regional" action on the basis that it damaged the concept of universal
regulation; discriminated against other regions; confused the industry and
had a negative impact on the supply of oil.

The IMO said it had already appointed a team of experts to undertake an
impact study on the tougher regulations should they be introduced.

The report, which has not been made public, takes into account criteria like
the volume of oil traded on the world's oceans and the number of
single-hulled vessels available.

The spokeswoman said a working group had been set up to discuss the finer
points of the changes ahead of a final decision on Friday.

Some 125 nations have signed up to the MARPOL Convention, representing 97
percent of the world's tanker fleet.



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