IMO fears EU standards

A high-level delegation from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), led by Secretary-General William O’Neil and Assistant Secretary-General Thimio Mitropoulos, is due to arrive in Athens later this week, according to an IMO press release published yesterday by Lloyd’s list. «(The delegation) will point out to Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis, President of the European Union Maritime Transport Ministers’ Council until June 30, that the IMO’s record in moving rapidly to address issues of importance is excellent, and that international, rather than regional or national solutions to technical maritime issues are invariably superior,» the statement says. Regional or unilateral standards, O’Neil will say, «will be detrimental to international shipping and should be avoided.» The statement goes on to say that «the IMO has been concerned at the unilateral and regional reactions of European Union member states and the EU following the loss of the tanker Prestige, and is fearful that the threat to international consensus on the phasing-out of single hulled tankers could cause great problems to the industry and prejudice the functionality of the international organization.» «O’Neil and Mitropoulos are expected to acquaint Anomeritis of the need for global standards, rather than regional or national regulations, to prevail and to emphasize the deleterious effect of knee-jerk local political reactions to marine accidents, which could overturn hard-won international agreements on tanker safety and operations.» «It is known that the action of Spain and France in banning certain ships from their waters, and demands by Brussels for the accelerated phase-out of single-hull tankers and prohibitions on the carriage of black oils in such ships, have caused great concern to many IMO members who are apprehensive of the tanker market being destabilized and older, single skinned vessels being ‘exported’ to other parts of the world.» (Reuters)

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