Greece, France in tanker spat

A French maritime official yesterday said his country was justified in having ordered a Greek tanker to keep 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from its Atlantic coast for fear of another oil spill like the one ravaging Spain’s coast. France’s decision on Tuesday to refuse the 16-year-old, single-hulled Kriti Filoxenia, which is carrying 42,000 tons of fuel oil, permission to sail south through the French Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) sparked a protest by Greece’s Merchant Marine Ministry on Tuesday. [«This act… cannot be justified,» the ministry said. «It is excessive and extraneous to the provisions of International Law.»] But the top maritime official for French Atlantic waters, Jean-Yves Berroche, told Agence France-Presse the measure «is an application of modern law, which comes from the changes in the law» after the sinking of the Prestige, another single-hulled tanker carrying fuel oil. The Kriti Filoxenia’s captain entered British waters and then crossed France’s EEZ anyway toward Spain, whereupon Spanish authorities ordered it away, Berroche said.

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