France and Spain to expel substandard tankers

Leaders agree to introduce tough inspections of vessels; support new EU-wide initiatives

Spanish prime minister José María Aznar and French president Jacques Chirac yesterday ended a joint summit meeting in Málaga by announcing the immediate introduction in their countries of a tough new inspection regime for tankers. The new rules include a threat of expulsion for substandard vessels from French and Spanish territorial waters.

Under the agreement, from today both countries will rigorously inspect all single-hulled vessels more than 15 years old carrying fuel oil, tar or any substance that could present a threat to coastal habitats.

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