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Old July 12th, 2005, 05:19 PM   #1
hkskyline
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EU Agrees on New Rules to Punish Ship Polluters

EU agrees on new rules to punish ship polluters
12 July 2005

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Ship captains and owners could face criminal charges for sea pollution under new rules adopted by EU finance ministers on Tuesday.

"The threat of criminal sanctions will help to protect our coasts," said EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot.

For the first time, prosecutors will be able to charge anyone found responsible for serious pollution: the captain, the owner or the company which chartered the ship.

They will also be able to levy fines of up to euro1.5 million (US$1.8 million) and punish accidental pollution if anyone responsible for the ship failed to take basic safety measures.

The new law covers pollution in European waters and on the high seas. It will enter into force in 30 European countries in March 2007.

Non-EU ships which cause pollution outside territorial waters will be exempt from prison sentences.

Two massive oil spills off the coasts of France and Spain triggered a raft of new EU legislation to tackle marine pollution.

The Prestige tanker discharged some 64,000 tons of oil off the coast of northwestern Spain when it broke apart in 2002. Another tanker, the Erika, spilled 20,000 tons when it sank off Brittany in northern France in 1999.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 05:20 PM   #2
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Fresh chapter opens for rise of ‘green’ regulation
29 April 2009
Lloyd's List

CONCERNS over shipping and the environment have widened in scope in the last decade, says Ince & Co partner Colin de la Rue, writes Sandra Speares.

Although the emphasis in the past may simply have centred on oil pollution and hazardous cargoes, now that the environmental impact of shipping has attracted the greater attention of the regulators other issues have arisen, including dismantling of vessels, dumping at sea and wreck removal. Other topics include access to places of refuge and the fair treatment of seafarers.

Many of these new regulations have arisen from the Erika and Prestige oil spills. A number of new chapters in Shipping and the Environment consider these new developments. The regulatory section has been extended to reflect developments of Marpol and safety improvements under Solas.

While the issue of dumping at sea was highlighted in the Christos Bitas case in 1978, when an agreement was made with the salvors to sink the vessel rather than salve it, such dumping at sea would be “unlikely to be allowed now”, Mr de la Rue said.

Other issues that have arisen include the shipment of toxic waste, as outlined in the Probo Koala case, and the export of ships for breaking — which is the subject of an IMO conference in May.

Co-author and Skuld North America senior vice-president Charles Anderson’s father was commodore of the USS United States, which had its own environmental issues, being full of asbestos.

Other issues that the book highlights include the growth of enforcement of rules against pollution by coastal states and memoranda of understanding. Moves by coastal states to use aerial observation of ships to detain polluters have raised possible conflicts with international law.

Mr de la Rue said there were concerns in international law over the balance to strike between the interests of coastal states and the international community over the ability to apprehend passing traffic.

By contrast, in the US there was relatively little need for aerial detection, as most prosecutions were brought for falsification of ships’ documents and lying to the authorities. Interception of passing ships also raised issues over the importance of observing freedom of navigation, Mr de la Rue said.

However, protests that international rules have been breached have tended to fall on deaf ears.

Another significant development in the years since the publication of the first edition of the book has been the development of a new relationship between the International Maritime Organization and the European Union, Mr de la Rue said. The EU has become more forceful in putting forward proposals at IMO and has also sought to regulate independently of the international community.

As the book mentions, the proposed Civil Liability Directive proved controversial and was vigorously opposed by shipping and the insurance industry.

Criminalisation is the third and final area of development in recent years, Mr de la Rue said. As the book’s preface noted: “Given so much effort towards regulatory improvement, it is both sad and ironic that our final chapter, on criminal liability for pollution from ships, is also our longest. Violations of international rules continue to be committed by a small minority of operators failing fully to embrace proper shipboard waste management practices; regrettably, public outrage at such incidents has found expression in the growing criminalisation of those caught up in genuine accidents.

“As this book goes to print, criminal charges are pending against a number of seafarers, in various parts of the world, who have been detained on grounds which both they and the international maritime community find hard to understand. We hope that this book will contribute to a better understanding of these important issues by all concerned.”

Mr de la Rue said: “Every time a chief engineer by-passes the oily water separator it puts another nail in the coffin of the seafarer involved in a genuine accident.”
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