Oil giant TotalFina
, which chartered the ill-fated oil tanker Erika
, has tightened its policy on chartering older tankers. However, company officials stressed that a new age limit on large ships, which would not have stopped it chartering the mid-sized Erika, need to be backed up by tougher international maritime standards and greater transparency of safety checks.
The company is cutting to 20 years from 25 the upper age limit on chartered vessels of 80,000 dwt and above, while keeping it at 25 years for smaller ships.
The Maltese-registered Erika, of 37,283 tons dwt, was 25 years old when it split apart and sank off the French coast last month, spilling thousands of tons of fuel oil that polluted the French coast.