"Substantial rise" in ship detentions in 1999

Regional ports body warns of low maintenance, operational, standards on oil tankers

Operational deficiencies on oil tankers visiting ports in Europe and some other world regions have shown a "substantial increase" since 1998, according to the international port state control body Paris MOU. Announcing its forthcoming 1999 annual report yesterday, the organisation said detentions of older tankers over 30,000 tonnes rose 10% in 1999, while operational failures related to safety and environment had rocketed by nearly three-quarters since 1996.

According to Paris MOU, a "lack of maintenance and poor operational standards" are the "weak link in the safety chain of the shipping industry" and "may well have contributed" to recent disasters such as the sinking of the Erika oil tanker off France's Atlantic coast late last year (ENDS Daily 7 January). "Ship owners and flag states should recognise the seriousness of these figures," the group said. Last month, it announced a programme of heightened checks on older oil tankers following the Erika (ENDS Daily 15 May).

* In a related development, Paris MOU recently publicised its latest "rustbucket of the month" on its internet pages, an oil tanker named Nunki. Started last July, the scheme highlights tankers detained because of significantly low safety standards. The Nunki was held in Amsterdam late last month. Like the Erika, it was registered in Malta - a flag state on Paris MOU's "black list" - and classed by Italian safety certification agency Rina.

Follow Up:
Paris MOU, +31 70 351 1509 and Nunki rustbucket of the month.

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