Searching for ways to avoid oil spills
, France has proposed installing a "black box" on tanker ships to track what they are carrying and whether they empty their bilges illegally on the high seas.
Transport Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot
, who has made ship safety a top priority after an oil spill polluted France
's Atlantic coast in December, said he had commissioned a study of the feasibility of such airplane-style recording devices. Gayssot said he was lobbying in Brussels for a European Union initiative to ban from EU waters all ships below certain safety norms and to oblige all vessels to empty their bilges properly in port rather than on the high seas. He also proposed boosting the number of ship inspectors in ports by 25 percent.