New ship reporting system for English Channel

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ships using the busy English Channel will be required to give coastal authorities more detailed information about their planned route and cargo, the International Maritime Organization said Sunday.

Ships using the busy English Channel will be required to give coastal authorities more detailed information about their planned route and cargo, the International Maritime Organization said Sunday.

The new rules, which come into effect in mid-2001, are being introduced to ease concerns following the disastrous sinking of the "Erika" oil tanker off France's northwestern coast in December.

The ship, a 24-year-old single-hulled tanker, split in two and sank, spilling at least 3 million gallons (11.4 million liters) of foul-smelling, gluey oil into the Atlantic Ocean. The oil washed up on France's popular beaches and rocky coastlines, killing thousands of birds.

Under the new system, all ships of more than 300 tons would be required to give coastal authorities details about the ship's name, position, destination and cargo, particularly if the vessel is carrying any potentially dangerous materials. The changes will allow for greater oversight of ships using one of the world's busiest waterways.

The International Maritime Organization, an arm of the United Nations, said the new rules would "make it easier to avert hazardous situations which can be caused by unidentified ships adopting erratic or even dangerous routes, stopping in a (shipping) traffic lane after sustaining damage, or otherwise behaving in a manner which could give rise to confusion in the absence of information."

The maritime group's navigation safety committee approved the new rules following representations from British and French shipping authorities.

Comments