Tanker safety, liability proposals too much for Member States

A powerful package of measures intended to reduce the threat of further oil pollution disasters in European seas was proposed by the European Commission in March. They include closer official inspections of oil tankers, new controls on the ship survey organisations and, most controversially, plans to ban single-hulled oil tankers from EC waters ahead of international deadlines, starting in 2005. Tougher liability rules have been promised later this year. But the proposals quickly ran into difficulties, with some Member States - including the UK - objecting to the ban on single-hull tankers without further analysis of the economic consequences, and calling for liability issues to be dealt with at global level.

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