SNP MEP Ian Hudghton is backing new European plans for safer oil tankers which are designed to reduce the risk of oil spills in the event of tankers foundering.

The MEP hopes the new rule requiring oil tankers to be fitted with a safer double hull will help stop disasters such as the Braer oil tanker catastrophe of 1993 being repeated elsewhere. The single hulled tanker ran aground on the coast of the Shetland Islands spilling thousands of tonnes of crude oil into the sea.

The European Parliament is set to vote to amend European regulations to speed up the phasing in of double hulled oil tankers. The vote is designed to close a loophole which currently allows single hulled ships registered in EU countries to continue operating outside the European Union.

The SNP MEP commented:
"Even though the Braer disaster happened almost fourteen years ago, it is still fresh in the minds of many of us in Scotland. We saw at first hand the risks involved with single hulled oil tankers and it's very disappointing that it's taking so long to outlaw their use.

"This isn't the end of the story and we'll need greater international co-operation to ensure that single hulled oil tankers are banned from operating anywhere. Governments also have a duty of care to ensure oil tankers are not allowed to sail close to environmentally sensitive areas.

"Europe is taking positive steps in this area at least, and I intend to vote in favour when this comes before the European Parliament this week."

Note:

The European Parliament is this week expected to approve an amendment to a European Commission regulation on double hulled oil tankers. This would remove a current anomaly which allows single hulled oil tankers to continue operating if they are flying the flag of an EU member state but operating outside EU ports.

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