Revised phase-out schedule for single-hull tankers enters into force


A revised schedule for the phasing out of oil tankers and a new regulation banning the carriage of heavy grade oil in single-hull oil tankers enter into force on 5 April 2005.

The measures were adopted in December 2003 as amendments to Annex I of the MARPOL Convention*, following the November 2002 sinking of the oil tanker Prestige off the Spanish coast.

A revised regulation 13G of MARPOL Annex I brings forward the phase-out schedule for existing single-hull tankers that was first established in 1992 and was subsequently revised in 2001 following the Erika incident. It specifies that tankers of single hull construction should be phased out or converted to a "double hull" according to a schedule based on their year of delivery. The double hull requirements for oil tankers are principally designed to reduce the risk of oil spills from tankers involved in low energy collisions or groundings.

Single-hull oil tanker phase-out
Under the phase-out schedule, "Category 1" single-hull oil tankers will not be able to trade after 5 April 2005, (for ships delivered on or before 5 April 1982 or earlier) or after their anniversary date in 2005 (for ships delivered after 5 April 1982). Category 1 oil tankers, (commonly known as Pre-MARPOL tankers) include oil tankers of 20,000 tonnes deadweight and above carrying crude oil, fuel oil, heavy diesel oil or lubricating oil as cargo, and tankers of 30,000 tonnes deadweight and above carrying other oils, which do not comply with the requirements for protectively located segregated ballast tanks.

Category 2 oil tankers, which have some level of protection from protectively located segregated ballast tank requirements will be phased out according to their age up to 2010. The year 2010 is also a final cut off date for Category 3 oil tankers which are generally smaller oil tankers. Category 2 oil tankers (commonly known as MARPOL tankers) include oil tankers of 20,000 tonnes deadweight and above carrying crude oil, fuel oil, heavy diesel oil or lubricating oil as cargo, and oil tankers of 30,000 tonnes deadweight and above carrying other oils, which comply with the protectively located segregated ballast tank requirements. Category 3 oil tankers are oil tankers of 5,000 tonnes deadweight and above but less than the tonnage specified for Category 1 and 2 tankers.

Heavy grade oil (regulation 13H)
Regulation 13H of MARPOL Annex I on the prevention of oil pollution from oil tankers when carrying heavy grade oil (HGO) bans the carriage of HGO in single-hull tankers of 5,000 tons deadweight (DWT) and above from 5 April 2005, and in single-hull oil tankers of 600 DWT and above but less than 5,000 tons DWT, not later than the anniversary of their delivery date in 2008.

Under regulation 13H, HGO means any of the following:

  - crude oils having a density at 15ºC higher than 900 kg/m3;
  - fuel oils having either a density at 15ºC higher than 900 kg/ m3 or a kinematic viscosity at 50ºC higher than 180 mm2/s;
  - bitumen, tar and their emulsions.

Condition Assessment Scheme
The Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) for oil tankers was adopted in 2001 and is applicable to certain oil tankers under regulations 13G and 13H. Under the revised regulation 13G, the CAS is applicable to all single-hull tankers of 5,000 DWT and above aged 15 years, or older.

Although the CAS does not specify structural standards in excess of the provisions of other IMO conventions, codes and recommendations, its requirements stipulate more stringent and transparent verification of the reported structural condition of the ship and require that documentary and survey procedures have been properly carried out and completed.

The requirements of the CAS include enhanced and transparent verification of the reported structural condition of the ship and verification that the documentary and survey procedures have been properly carried out and completed. The Scheme requires that compliance with the CAS is assessed during the Enhanced Survey Programme of Inspections concurrent with intermediate or renewal surveys currently required by resolution A.744(18), as amended.

Exemptions
The revised regulation 13G allows the Administration (flag State) to permit continued operation of Category 2 or 3 tankers beyond their phase-out date in accordance with the schedule subject to satisfactory results from the CAS, but the continued operation must not go beyond the anniversary of the date of delivery of the ship in 2015 or the date on which the ship reaches 25 years of age after the date of its delivery, whichever is earlier.

In the case of certain Category 2 or 3 oil tankers fitted with only double bottoms or double sides not used for the carriage of oil and which extend to the entire cargo tank length, or tankers fitted with double hull spaces not meeting the minimum distance protection requirements which are not used for the carriage of oil and which extend to the entire cargo tank length, the Administration may allow a ship to continue operation beyond its phase-out date in accordance with the schedule, provided it was in service on 1 July 2001, the Administration is satisfied by verification of the official records that the ship complied with the conditions specified and that those conditions remain unchanged. Again, such continued operation must not go beyond the date on which the ship reaches 25 years of age after the date of its delivery.

A Party to MARPOL 73/78 may deny entry into the ports or offshore terminals under its jurisdiction of single-hull tankers which have been allowed to continue operation under the exemptions mentioned above.

In the case of certain Category 2 or 3 tankers carrying HGO as cargo, fitted only with double bottoms or double sides, not used for the carriage of oil and extending to the entire cargo tank length, or tankers fitted with double hull spaces not meeting the minimum distance protection requirements which are not used for the carriage of oil and extend to the entire cargo tank length, the Administration, under certain conditions, may allow continued operation of such ships beyond 5 April 2005 until the date on which the ship reaches 25 years of age after the date of its delivery.

Regulation 13H also allows for continued operation of oil tankers of 5,000 DWT and above, carrying crude oil with a density at 15ºC higher than 900 kg/ m3 but lower than 945 kg/ m3, if satisfactory results of the Condition Assessment Scheme warrant that, in the opinion of the Administration, the ship is fit to continue such operation, having regard to the size, age, operational area and structural conditions of the ship and provided that the continued operation shall not go beyond the date on which the ship reaches 25 years of age after the date of its delivery.

The Administration may allow continued operation of a single-hull oil tanker of 600 DWT and above but less than 5,000 DWT, carrying HGO as cargo, if, in the opinion of the Administration, the ship is fit to continue such operation, having regard to the size, age, operational area and structural conditions of the ship, provided that the operation shall not go beyond the date on which the ship reaches 25 years of age after the date of its delivery.

The Administration may exempt an oil tanker of 600 DWT and above carrying HGO as cargo if the ship is either engaged in voyages exclusively within an area under the Party's jurisdiction, or is engaged in voyages exclusively within an area under the jurisdiction of another Party, provided the Party within whose jurisdiction the ship will be operating agrees. The same applies to vessels operating as floating storage units of HGO.

A Party to MARPOL 73/78 can deny entry into the ports or offshore terminals under its jurisdiction of single-hull tankers carrying HGO which have been allowed to continue operation under the exemptions mentioned above, or deny ship-to-ship transfer of heavy grade oil in areas under its jurisdiction except when this is necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship or saving life at sea.

Parties to MARPOL applying the provisions allowing for extended operation of Category 2 or 3 tankers and Parties which will deny entry into the ports or offshore terminals under its jurisdiction to those tankers must communicate this information to IMO.

Amendments
The amendments to Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 enter into force for all Parties to the MARPOL Convention. They were adopted by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) by resolution MEPC.111(50) in December 2003. MARPOL (Annexes I and II) has been ratified by 130 countries representing 97.07 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage.

The revised regulations 13G and 13H are included in a revised Annex I of MARPOL, adopted in 2004 with an anticipated entry into force date of 1 July 2007, and will then become regulation 20 Double hull and double bottom requirements for oil tankers delivered before 6 July 1996 and regulation 21 Prevention of oil pollution from oil tankers carrying heavy grade oil as cargo.

Revised phase-out schedule:

Category of oil tanker
Date or year for phase-out
Category 1 - oil tankers of 20,000 tonnes deadweight and above carrying crude oil, fuel oil, heavy diesel oil or lubricating oil as cargo, and of 30,000 tonnes deadweight and above carrying other oils, which do not comply with the requirements for protectively located segregated ballast tanks (commonly known as Pre-MARPOL tankers) 5 April 2005 for ships delivered on 5 April 1982 or earlier
Anniversary date in 2005 for ships delivered after 5 April 1982
Category 2 - oil tankers of 20,000 tonnes deadweight and above carrying crude oil, fuel oil, heavy diesel oil or lubricating oil as cargo, and of 30,000 tonnes deadweight and above carrying other oils, which do comply with the protectively located segregated ballast tank requirements (MARPOL tankers), and

Category 3 - oil tankers of 5,000 tonnes deadweight and above but less than the tonnage specified for Category 1 and 2 tankers
5 April 2005 for ships delivered on 5 April 1977 or earlier
Anniversary date in 2005 for ships delivered after 5 April 1977 but before 1 January 1978
Anniversary date in 2006 for ships delivered in 1978 and 1979
Anniversary date in 2007 for ships delivered in 1980 and 1981
Anniversary date in 2008 for ships delivered in 1982
Anniversary date in 2009 for ships delivered in 1983
Anniversary date in 2010 for ships delivered in 1984 or later


*International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78)

Briefing 18, 4 April 2005

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