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RP to ban single-hull vessels in April

February 3, 2008

Bloomberg, Jan. 28, 2008

Manila: The Philippines will ban single-hull oil tankers from its waters from April, two years earlier than planned, after the worst oil spill in the country’s history and a separate leak in South Korea.

Vessels carrying “black” petroleum products such as crude oil and bunker fuel won’t be allowed to dock at ports from April 1 without a double hull, said Transportation Undersecretary Len Bautista in a phone interview from Manila.

The single-hull crude oil supertanker Hebei Spirit caused the worst spill in South Korea’s history last month after it was struck by a crane causing it to lose 66,000 barrels of crude oil, about 1/3 the size of the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989.

Marine threat

In August 2006, the tanker Solar 1 leaked 2.19 million litres of marine fuel, killing marine life and fouling the coastline of the Philippines’s Guimaras islands.

The spills “dramatise the urgent need to impose stricter safety standards and regulations on tankers to protect our environment,” Bautista said, adding the country’s previous plan was to ban such ships from 2010.

The country has yet to schedule a ban on single-hull tankers that ship gasoline, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products, Bautista said.

At least one crude-oil tanker, the Atora, is sailing toward a Philippine port.

The double-hull carrier built in 1991 is due to arrive at Bataan January 26, according to AISLive on Bloomberg. Two double-hull refined petroleum tankers, Petro Celine and Kirana Dwitya, are also sailing for the country’s ports.

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