Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to eliminate single-hulled tankers

Sep 19, 2001 02:00 AM

Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have all pledged to implement the Helsinki Commission's plan to eliminate single-hulled tankers from their national fleets. The plan calls for single-hulled tankers to be replaced with double-hulled vessels, which reduce the risk of spills since they are better able to withstand low-speed groundings and collisions.
The commission said that its nine members had agreed at a meeting on September 10 to adopt a fast-track schedule for phasing such tankers out between 2003 and 2015. (The date for elimination of each tanker will be set according to age and type of the vessel.)

This schedule effectively ratifies the timetable set in April by the International Marine Organization (IMO). However, the Helsinki Commission's members will not be allowed to take advantage of the IMO's provisions allowing individual states to extend their own deadlines for compliance.
Representatives of the Helsinki Commission pointed out, though, that commission members could only impose the ban on single-hulled tankers on their own fleets. Foreign ships calling in Baltic ports will not have to comply with the double-hulled standard or the timetable for phase-out of single-hulled tankers, they said.

Of the Helsinki Commission's nine members, Russia is the largest oil exporter. However, Russia's own Baltic ports do not yet handle large volumes of crude. At present, Ventspils Nafta in Latvia and Butinges Nafta in Lithuania are the largest export outlets for Russian oil on the Baltic Sea.

Source: NewsBase
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