On August 1, an amendment to Annex I of MARPOL will come into
force. New regulation 12A, on oil fuel tank protection, adopted by MEPC 54 on March 24, sets out the requirements concerning the location of oil fuel tanks in all ships with an aggregate oil fuel capacity of 600m3 and above and which are delivered on or after 1 August 2010. In this context, "ship delivered
on or after 1 August 2010" also refers to a ship for which the building contract is placed on or after 1 August 2007 or, in the absence of a contract, its keel is laid on or after 1 February 2008. The new regulation will, therefore, be immediately applicable for all categories of ships "on the drawing board" with oil fuel tanks of 600 m3 capacity, or more.
In essence, the protection requirements oblige the oil fuel tanks to be
located inside the double hull, thus helping prevent spillages of oil fuel in case of collision or grounding.