The US, UK, Denmark and other countries have called for more action, including more surveillance, on the growing practice of unregulated oil transfers at sea, as fears grow of potential pollution, according to in a paper submitted to the UN
“These transfers weaken the laws based on the international order and increase the risk of pollution in neighboring coastal states. This threatens the global efforts to prevent pollution from ships,” said the newspaper. .
The paper was submitted to the United Nations’ shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), by member states ahead of a session of the committee on the protection of the marine environment in July. It is also supported by Australia, Canada, Spain and Ukraine.
Hundreds of “ghost” tankers, which are not fully regulated, have participated in this opaque parallel trade over the past few years, transporting oil from countries hit by Western sanctions and restrictions, including Russia and Iran.
The number of incidents last year, including groundings, collisions and near misses involving these ships reached the highest level in years, a Reuters investigation showed.
“These dangerous acts, even if under the jurisdiction of a flag state, unjustifiably expose the national and local governments and authorities to pay for the response and the costs of cleaning up and compensating the victims ,” said the newspaper.
Tactics used by these vessels include turning off tracking transponders, falsifying locations and also conducting ship-to-ship (STS) operations in locations outside of authorized transfer zones and sometimes in bad faith. time to hide activities.
The paper, which will be discussed at the IMO session, says fraudulent shipping practices are also a “serious threat to the safety and security of international shipping,” including crew members.
Countries recommend that when flag states become aware of such practices they should step up inspections of vessels and step up monitoring of activity including around territorial waters.
Ship insurer West said in a recent advisory that it would agree to cover STS operations on ships subject to certain provisions, including “no geographical deviation.” It also said transfers should take place in good time, in a dedicated STS transfer area and under the supervision of a qualified mooring specialist.
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