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IMO panel debates faster phase-out of single-hull tankers

IMO panel debates faster phase-out of single-hull tankers

   The International Maritime Organization said Monday its Marine Environment Protection Committee will meet this week in London to consider adopting proposals for an accelerated phase-out plan for single-hull tankers.

   The proposed measures include an extended application of the IMO’s Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) for tankers, and a regulation banning the carrying of heavy grades of oil in single-hull tankers.

   These changes to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 73/78), were initially discussed by the IMO panel last July.

   IMO secretary-general William O’Neil said the IMO was the appropriate forum for consideration of the proposals, and that there was no room for unilateral measures.

   “It is imperative that safety, security and environmental standards be established on the basis that they will be applied globally,” O’Neil said. He urged the IMO committee members to make “pragmatic and well-balanced” decisions that would “not cause or lead to any negative repercussions” on the supply of oil.

   The panel should also be careful not to “confuse the industry as to which regulations prevail,” nor “permit other regions to create their own regimes if in disagreement with IMO,” O’Neil said.

   In other business, the IMO has confirmed the election of Efthimios Mitropoulos of Greece as the organization’s new secretary-general, effective upon the year-end retirement of O’Neil, a Canadian.

   In his acceptance speech, Mitropoulos predicted there would be changes ahead for the IMO, such as a simpler decision-making structure and a clearer focus on the needs of members. He promised the IMO’s auditing of member states would be placed under his personal supervision, so “we can rid the world of substandard ships.”

   A former Hellenic Coast Guard officer and official in the Greek Maritime Administration, Mitropoulos has been a staff member at the IMO since 1979.

   The IMO is the United Nations specialized agency, based in London, which has responsibility for the safety of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

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