INTERTANKO members lobby MEPs in Brussels

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
INTERTANKO’s European Reference Group continued its promotion of INTERTANKO’s policies in Brussels last week.

Numerous meetings were arranged with Members of the European Parliament from Spain, France, Germany, Italy, with transport or shipping attaches from Malta, Cyprus and the U.K., as well as with senior officials from the Maritime Transport Directorate.

INTERTANKO’s main message remains that shipping is international and should be regulated through international rules agreed in IMO, while regional or national regulation, however well intended, often proves counterproductive. INTERTANKO underlined the need for much faster ratification of the IMO conventions, which would remove some of the pressure for regional or national regulation.

One of the major issues covered was the Draft European Directive on Criminal Sanctions for Ship-source Pollution Offences, often referred to as the Criminal Sanctions Directive. One of the widest ever industry alliances ever put together, which includes associations representing seafarers, shipowners, oil companies, insurers, ports and salvors, is pushing the message that this Directive is in direct conflict with MARPOL and UNCLOS. The European Parliament understood this in its first draft of this regulation. However, the Transport Council’s Political Agreement on the draft directive introduced wording extending criminal penalties to cover accidental pollution, which would result in governments being in breach of their obligations as parties to MARPOL and UNCLOS. This would mean that these countries would ultimately have to denounce these conventions in order to achieve consistency.

The draft Directive will now be subject to a second reading both in the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union’s transport ministers.

MEPs were also told of INTERTANKO’s support for the Civil Liability and International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund Conventions; of how these conventions, which have recently been amended substantially to increase the amounts of money available for compensation for oil pollution damage, have proved over time to be very efficient instruments; of talks that are in hand on how the compensation sums should be shared between shipowner and cargo interests; of our disagreement with suggestions that the whole system should be subject to a fundamental revision with a view to penalising all elements involved in oil transportation.

INTERTANKO’s European Reference Group is chaired by Patrick Decavele (France), and he was joined on this occasion by Alfredo Pardo (Spain), Stefano Rosina (Italy) and Rolf Jacob (Germany)

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