Written Answers. - Sea Pollution.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

161 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the degree to which he has influenced his EU colleagues in regard to the elimination of potential pollution at sea; if the laws of the sea are being duly observed in all instances with particular reference to oil transport by sea; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7742/01]

My Department has always taken a full and active part in European and International matters concerning the prevention of pollution at sea. Ireland led the campaign at the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, to have the INF code made mandatory and following this the EU adopted a directive requiring all vessels carrying such materials bound for or leaving a Community port to comply with strict notification and controls.

In accordance with the EU directive on port state control, inspections relevant to pollution prevention, safety related matters and crew ability and competence are carried out on foreign vessels, including tankers, entering our ports. When deficiencies are noted, the vessel may be detained until they have been rectified.

Since theErika incident in December 1999, we have participated in the drawing up of measures which include the phasing out of certain single hulled tankers in favour of double hulled types, improvements in liability regimes, enhanced inspection of foreign ships, very stringent condition assessment of certain older tankers and fitting of data recorders – black boxes.

In December 2000, the European Union adopted a directive on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues. The purpose of the directive is to improve the availability and use of port reception facilities for such waste. Regulations will need to be introduced to give effect to the directive in Irish law by December 2002 and arrangements made for implementation.

Question No. 162 answered with Question No. 159.