U.S. Approval Needed Before Double Hull Requirements Will Apply to Oil Tankers

Friday, February 15, 2002
On February 12, 2002, the U.S. government deposited a declaration with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) stating that specific approval of the U.S. government will be necessary before the 2001 Double Hull Amendments to MARPOL 73/78 (the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) would enter into force for the U.S. If the U.S. took no action, the amendments would have entered into force for the U.S. automatically on September 1, 2002, under a tacit amendment procedure. By submittion this declaration, the U.S. has reaffirmed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) as the standard for all tankers entering U.S. water until such time as the U.S. government specifically approves the entry into force of the 1992 and 2001 MARPOL amendments. As with similar amendments in 1992, the U.S. reserved its position on the 2001 amendments citing the technical differences between these MARPOL amendments for new and existing tankers, and OPA 90. The two major technical differences were the IMO’s acceptance of the mid-deck tanker design as an alternative to the double hull tanker and variances in the phase out schedule for single hull tankers.

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