EU ministers have banned the carriage of heavy-duty oil by single-hull tankers from July 1st of this year.
Also, the ban on single-hull tankers in EU waters has been brought forward by five years, to 2010. Welcoming the move, the Minister for the Marine, Mr Ahern, said this meant that the Princess Eva, which recently posed a pollution risk off Donegal, would no longer be able to carry such fuels. The Princess Eva was detained by the Irish Maritime Safety Directorate in Donegal after a crack was identified on its deck, and its 55,000-tonne cargo of vacuum gas oil was transferred onto two other vessels by the Irish Coast Guard. The Panamanian-registered tanker was one of five ships detained this year by the Irish authorities under the EU Directive on port state control, which aims to eliminate substandard ships in EU waters. Political agreement on an expedited timetable for phasing out single-hull oil tankers using EU ports was reached in Brussels late last week. The original date for the ban was 2015 but there were calls for this to be brought forward after last year's Prestige pollution incident off the Iberian coastline. The phasing out will take effect from 2005, depending on the age of the vessel. "Category one" ships, many of which are more than 30 years old, will be immediately subject to the ruling, which has to be ratified by the European Parliament. Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent © The Irish Times
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