The Regulation banning single-hull oil tankers from European ports has been published in the Official Journal
(1) and entered into force October 21, 2003. From that date single-hull oil tankers may not be used to carry heavy grades of oil to or from EU ports. In addition, the timetable for the phasing-out of such tankers has been speeded up, and oil tankers more than 23 years old, as the Erika and the Prestige were, are banned from EU ports immediately. During the gradual phasing-out period, tankers 15 or more years old will undergo exhaustive technical inspections. The EU is now focusing on the international arena in order to have similar measures introduced by everyone concerned.
The sinking of the Prestige has drawn attention to the urgent need to phase out single-hull tankers and the specific problem caused by heavy fuel oil, which is usually transported in old, single-hull oil tankers that
are more accident-prone. On December 20 , 2002 the Commission decided to propose amending the existing Regulation. The European Parliament and the Council adopted the amendment on 22 July 2003. The new Regulation enters into force on 21 October 2003.