French Petroleum Industry Says Governments Don't Enforce Shipping Rules

Wednesday, April 19, 2000
The French petroleum industry union says governments are too lax in applying rules on oil tankers and has called for Europe-wide laws forcing shipping companies to publish safety reports for all tankers.

"We think shipping rules are good, even if they could be improved. But governments have not done their job in making sure these rules are respected. It's been going on for 20 years," Philippe Trepant, chairman of the French Petroleum Industry Union (UFIP), said.

Trepant said international maritime rules obliging countries to carry out safety checks on tankers were not always respected. "Flag countries have a responsibility to check tankers sailing under their flag but some of them aren't serious about it...Port states are obliged to inspect one in four incoming ships, but in reality it's one in six or seven, not one in four, and then it's badly done," Trepant said.

He said the petroleum industry wanted the European Union to force shipping companies to disclose detailed information about the condition of every single tanker and then circulate this information to all oil companies. Based on this information, the 15-nation EU should ban sub-standard vessels from its waters, he said. "This would cost us a bit more because there'd be fewer ships but it would boost orders for new ships," he said.

The UFIP said main risk to the maritime environment - where oil products accounts for 40 percent of all cargo traffic - was the difficulty governments and the International Maritime Organization had in identifying sub-standard tankers. - (Reuters)

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