LONDON, Apr. 30 -- The International Maritime Organization Monday said it has approved a global timetable that would phase out all single-hull crude tankers within 15 years starting from September 2002.
Following a week-long meeting of the IMO's Environment Protection Committee, delegates from the organization's 158 member states agreed to the fast-rack program, which will be included in a revised chapter in the MARPOL convention on the prevention of marine pollution.
The timetable, which the IMO called a "landmark for the cause of safer shipping and cleaner oceans," was one of a package of measures tabled by the organization after the tanker Erika sank off France in December 1999.
"The adoption of the proposed amendments to MARPOL reaffirms IMO's position as the proper forum for dealing with complex technical, economic, and political issues concerning international shipping, where significant differences in viewpoints can be resolved and a solution found that is acceptable to all," said IMO Sec. Gen. William O'Neil.
The current MARPOL regulation, adopted in 1992, had legislated for the phasing-out of single-hull tankers but over a "more protracted period."
The IMO noted that although the new phaseout timetable sets 2015 as the cut-off date for single-hull tankers, a nation "could allow some newer single-hull ships registered in its country that conform to certain technical specifications to continue trading until the 25th anniversary of their delivery."
IMO also agreed to raise by 50% the ceiling on compensation for victims of tanker spill pollutions under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage.