The United Arab Emirates will
soon implement a ban on vessels carrying the flags of certain countries from entering its territorial waters. The decision follows one of the worst oil spills
to affect the country's coastline in years after a sanctions-busting Iraqi tanker
sank in April. The Georgian-registered Zainab was carrying 1,300 tons of fuel oil.
Citing a blacklist from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UAE cabinet decided to ban vessels registered in Albania, Belize, Bolivia, Cambodia, Comoros, Georgia, Honduras, the Maldives, Mauritius and Saint Vincent. Communications Ministry undersecretary Abdullah Lootah told the Arabic-language al-Ittihad newspaper that the decision was taken "after the pollution of the marine environment by vessels carrying the flags of those countries".
Earlier this month, the UAE seized two ageing cargo ships carrying crude oil off its eastern coast for violating environmental and safety laws. One of the tankers was Honduran- flagged while the other was Cambodian-flagged. The cabinet also decided that ageing ships that have been confiscated would no longer be allowed to operate. - (Reuters)