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Shipping cos plan to phase out single-hull vessels

GE Shipping says it is considering a fleet-age limit of 25 years to phase out its single-hull vessels while SCI says it may convert some of its vessels. While the global deadline for the phase-out is 2010, India is among the many countries which have accepted a deadline of 2015. The phase-out was proposed to curb oil spills

The clock might be ticking for phasing out single-hull vessels by 2010 the world over, but Indian shipping companies will exercise the transition in their own timeframe and with their own strategies.
On being asked whether GE Shipping would phase out all of the five single-hull vessels in its present fleet by 2010, Anjali Kumar, head of corporate communications, said, “We may not necessarily phase out all the vessels by 2010. We will plan the phase-out as per the opportunities available and will consider fixing a fleet-age limit of 25 years.”

Officials from Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), which has around 10 single-hull vessels, said the state-run firm might consider converting some of those vessels. “We will be phasing them out by 2010, unless we change our mind and convert some of them,” Captain KS Nair, director, bulk and tanker division, said. SCI has already sold five of its single-hull vessels. All of the 10 remaining single-hull vessels have completed 25 years.

As per International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations, single-hull vessels have to be phased out by 2010. However, considering the economic constraints that developing countries could face in this exercise, countries were allowed to extend the phase-out up to 2015. “In 2003 it was envisaged that many countries, specifically the developing countries, would not have the money to replace all single-hull tankers with double-hull tankers. So, it was decided to insert a clause that allows operation of single-hull tankers up to 2015 or 25 years of the age of the vessel, whichever is earlier,” said IN Bose, who has been representing India at the IMO. India is one of the many countries that chose to extend the deadline.

The clause also allows certain countries to deny entry to single-hull vessels post the 2010 deadline. The countries which will be exercising these restrictions are South Korea, the European Union and the United States. However, many countries—like those from the Middle East, Singapore, Japan and China—will not be imposing these restrictions.

Speaking about how shipping companies are looking at these restrictions, SS Kulkarni, secretary, Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA), said, “If you are not able to trade in a particular zone, you will trade in another zone. People will stick to the IMO regulations. Depending upon wherever single-hull vessels will be allowed, the operators will run the service. Shipping companies are anyway gearing up for the phase-out.”

However, the phase-out is not likely to decrease the supply pressure on the tanker segment. “There are a number of new deliveries in the pipeline. So, the constraint on the tanker segment in terms of low demand will continue,” added Captain Nair.

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