Home » Maritime » RP ban on single-hull tankers transporting white oil studied

AFTER banning single-hulled tankers transporting black oil, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) now plans to phase out similar tankers carrying white oil to protect the environment and to comply with international regulations.

Marina administrator Vicente Suazo, Jr., in an interview, said the agency wants the policy implemented by 2010, or two years after the ban on single-hulled tankers carrying black oil.

“By 2010, we expect that all single-hulled tankers plying the local trade have been phased out not just to prevent maritime pollution but primarily to comply with international standards,” Suazo said.

Marina will meet with the Philippine Petroleum Sea Transport Association, Association of Tanker Operators of the Philippines, and oil firms to discuss the best option for the total phase-out of single-hulled tankers in the local trade without significantly hurting the business.

Marina is now looking at the availability of shipyards that can accommodate orders for the required tankers by 2010 since almost all shipyards are fully booked until 2012.

It is also trying to strike an agreement with the National Maritime Leasing Corp to assist tanker operators to secure funds for their refleeting programs.

In addition, the agency is awaiting the final decision of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on tanker hull regulations before coming out with a memorandum circular phasing out single-hulled tankers.

Based on IMO regulations, the total phase-out of single-hulled tankers may be done in three phases. The final phase-out date for Category 1 tankers (acquired before the Maritime Pollution Convention was ratified or pre-MARPOL tankers) has been brought forward to 2005 from 2007. The final phase-out date for Category 2 and 3 tankers (MARPOL tankers and smaller tankers) was also brought forward to 2010 from 2015.

The IMO issued such regulation following the sinking of the Prestige, a single-hulled tanker which broke in two after being battered by strong waves and winds off the Spanish coast of Galicia in November 2002. The vessel spilt more than 77,000 liters of bunker fuel, disrupting the coastal economies of France, Spain and nearby areas.

“We will base our schedule on the final ruling of the IMO. Nonetheless, we are tentatively setting the phase-out by 2010,” Suazo said.

Early this year, Marina ordered the phase out of single-hulled tankers carrying black oil by April 2008, prompted by the MT Solar I incident in July. The tanker spilt 220,000 liters of black oil and wreaked havoc on he coastal town of Guimaras.

There are presently about 214 tankers in the country, 21 of which can transport black oil.

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