Italy plans to ban single hull
tankers from seven port areas from April 23 to reduce risks of environmental damage, said an anonymous Environment Ministry official said. The official confirmed remarks by Environment Minister Willer Bordon in Genoa earlier this week that the government was preparing a directive aimed at improving safety standards. "This directive represents a notable leap in safety," Bordon said on the sidelines of a seminar on maritime oil traffic organized by local environmental groups. "The measures will make traffic at Italian ports much more rigorous and secure." He added: "We will be at the vanguard of Europe and the world."
The ban will apply to the following seven port areas: a sea mammal sanctuary stretching from the upper Tyrrhenian Sea to the Ligurian Sea; the upper Adriatic (from Ravenna to the border with Slovenia); Bocche di Bonifacio (a strait between Sardinia and Corsica); southwestern Sardinia (from Oristano to Villasimius); the Sicilian coast from Gela to Augusta; the Otranto Canal; and the Strait of Messina.
Commenting on concerns by ship owners, Bordon said: "The owners would like more time, but they must realize that we must head in this direction."
Luigi Perissich, director-general of the Rome-based Italian Confederation of Ship Owners (Confitarma), said that he believed that Bordon should have prior EU approval for such a measure. A new Italian law came into effect on Thursday giving financial incentives to ship owners who upgrade tankers to meet stringent environmental safety standards, according to the Environment Ministry's web site http