EU blacklist of careless skippers presented today Published: 23 November, 2005
THE EU is to present a blacklist of careless ship owners travelling across European waters in substandard vessels is included in a new maritime safety package, according to Euobserver.com. The package is to be presented by transport commissioner Jacques Barrot today.
The sea and coastal pollution that followed the loss of oil tankers Erika in the Bay of Biscay in 1999 and Prestige off the coast of Galicia, Spain, in 2002, forced the EU to take a grip on substandard shipping in the waters of the EU.
The new safety package, hailed as Erika III, contains harder rules on port state authority control and enforces entry bans on ships which are below EU safety standards. Transport commissioner Jacques Barrot wants to set up a blacklist of careless ship owners, and force ship owners to have full civil liability insurance.
Mr Barrot also wants governments to carry out annual inspections on all ships.
In the aftermath of the 1999 Erika accident, with a cost of above €880 million and innumerable losses in biodiversity in the sea and on the coastlines, the EU rushed to ban all single-hull tankers carrying crude oil from entering or leaving European ports.
The first “Erika” package on maritime safety was proposed in 2000, soon followed by “Erika II” in 2002. A new European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) was only became operational after oil tanker Prestige spilled 77,000 tonnes of oil into the sea of the northern Spanish coastline in 2002, an event which was branded ‘Spain’s Chernobyl’. The estimated cost of the Prestige disaster to fishing and tourism alone was estimated to reach €5 billion.
Some protests against the package have come from big sea faring nations like Russia and Greece, who claim that a ban on single-hull tankers would force them to replace large parts of their shipping armadas.
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