[seadog] EU Propose MARPOL Amendments in Prestige Response

  • From: "Tom Blanchard" <tomblanchard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "SEADOG" <seadog@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2003 11:23:30 -0400

        ...it seems to be happening fast.

        The Secretary-General of IMO, William O?Neil, received from all the 
Member States of the European Union, each of which is a Party to the MARPOL
Convention, a set of formal proposals to change certain provisions of the
MARPOL Convention. In essence, the proposals call for further acceleration
of the phase-out timetable for single-hull tankers, an immediate ban on the
carriage of heavy grades of oil in single-hull tankers and for the Condition
Assessment Scheme (adopted in 2001 in the wake of the 1999 Erika incident)
to be applied to tankers of 15 years of age and above.

        The proposals will be circulated among all IMO Member States and 
Parties to
MARPOL prior to their consideration at the 49th session of the Marine
Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), to be held at IMO?s London
Headquarters in July. In June, the IMO Council will be asked to sanction an
additional meeting of the MEPC to be held this year, so that MEPC 49 could
decide on holding an extra meeting in December, at which any measures
arising from the proposals will be considered for formal adoption. Such an
arrangement would give IMO Members the minimum six month period, stipulated
in the Convention, in which to consider any proposed amendments and allow
MARPOL Parties to consider introducing new international measures at the
earliest date. To ensure IMO Member States have as much relevant information
as possible to hand when they consider the proposals, IMO Secretary-General
William O?Neil has reactivated the Informal Group of Experts, which was
commissioned in 2000 to assess the likely effect of post-Erika proposals, to
study the impact of the new proposals now submitted. The group will take
into account criteria such as the volume of oil and oil products carried by
oil tankers world-wide and by region; the number of single-hull tankers to
be affected by the proposals; the capacity of shipyards needed to replace
the single-hull tankers that would be withdrawn from service and the
capacity available world-wide; and the scrapping capacity of ship-recycling
facilities on an annual basis. The study has to be completed within a very
short period of time and will be undertaken by the IMO Secretariat, assisted
by independent experts nominated by industry organizations. The work will be
co-ordinated by the IMO?s Marine Environment Division. The Informal Group is
expected to draw on expertise and experience from any available source,
including Member Governments and international organizations. The study is
expected to be finalized by the end of May 2003, for dissemination as soon
as possible thereafter for consideration by MEPC 49. IMO Secretary-General O
?Neil expressed satisfaction at the submission of the proposals to amend the
MARPOL Convention. In the aftermath of the Prestige sinking, Mr O?Neil
repeatedly expressed the firm position that IMO should always and without
exception be regarded as the only forum where safety and pollution
prevention standards affecting international shipping should be considered
and adopted. During meetings earlier this year with the President of the
European Union Maritime Transport Ministers' Council, Yiorgos Anomeritis,
and the Vice-President of the European Union,. Loyola de Palacio, Mr O?Neil
urged Member Governments to bring any safety and environmental issues
relating to the Prestige incident to IMO for consideration and appropriate

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