The European Commission is pushing for emergency action by EU member states to strengthen maritime safety in the wake of last week's Prestige oil tanker sinking off Spain. A first agreement could be reached as early as next week when EU transport ministers are due to meet.
Specific measures being sought by transport and energy commissioner Loyola de Palacio include limits on the transport of dangerous goods by sea within 200 miles of shore and a requirement for heavy fuel oil - which is particularly polluting - immediately to be carried in double-hulled tankers.
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