Term Paper: Flags of Convenience

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[. . .] The oil spill was so dramatic that it immediately began to destroy and paralyze fishing in the local area while Portugal waited to find out how badly their immediate eco system was going to be affected by the spill.

The spill blacked out almost 300 kilometers of Spanish coastline. It was filled with dying sea birds and washed up fish by the countless thousands who were tainted, poisoned and killed in the polluted mess following the spill.

Local Spanish fisherfolk anxiously watched whether a southwesterly wind might drive ashore yet another oil slick with another 10,000 tonnes of escaped fuel oil, provoking a major environmental catastrophe on a coastline with a delicate nature balance including 90 marine species, which is largely dependent for the sea for its livelihood."

In the spill more than 10,000 gallons of oil spewed into the sea with more than 250 birds from 18 different species being killed in the process.

The single-hulled Prestige was carrying 77,000 tonnes of oil, nearly one and a half times the amount of oil as the Exxon Valdez, which went down in 1989 off the coast of Alaska.

Madrid has launched legal proceedings against the tanker's owners and insurers, although the ship's complex web of owners and operators could make it difficult to pin down responsibility. The vessel, which sailed under a Bahamanian "flag of convenience," was owned by Liberia-registered Mare Shipping Inc. And operated by Athens-based Universe Maritime company. EU Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio said the disaster showed member states must urgently implement regulations about ship safety and stop the use of "rust buckets" and "ecological time-bombs" in seas around Europe."

This is one of the biggest risks and dangers of FOC states to the eco system regarding maritime oil pollution. The haphazard methods used to transport oil by the FOC states has set the stage for a worldwide natural resource disaster if there are not mandates and regulations put into place to stop them. (Olliver, 2003)

Chirac Vows Punishment Over Oil Spill

Dateline: PARIS

President Jacques Chirac expressed outrage Friday that patches of oil from a sunken tanker had reached French shores, and vowed to punish the "rascals" responsible.

Chirac's issued the angry comments at an impromptu news briefing came while workers in southwest France mobilized to clean the coast. Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin was to visit the area's sandy beaches as larger slicks of gooey heating oil began washing ashore.

Workers have combed affected beaches the past few days, picking up small clumps of hardened oil.

Officials in the southwestern Gironde region said Friday every incoming tide brought new and larger patches of oil to hundreds of miles of French beaches.

Tests have shown that some, if not all, the oil comes from the aging, single-hulled Prestige tanker that split in two and sank off the Spanish coast on Nov. 19. Many Spanish beaches already have been blackened.

Chirac said France would relentlessly pursue ship owners and crew members who try to sidestep maritime rules by registering their vessels under so-called flags of convenience _ the registration of ships in countries with lax safety, labor or tax rules.

France and Europe will not allow shady businessman, rascals of the sea, to cynically profit from the lack of transparency," Chirac said.

Captains, owners and contractors of ships" will be "pursued and criminally punished," he added.

Chirac said he wanted to express his "outrage" publicly, and instructed Raffarin to personally oversee management of the cleanup effort.

The government of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar drew stiff criticism at home for its handling of the oil slick _ notably for not acknowledging the scale of the disaster fast enough and failing to allocate adequate resources.

Chirac said "everything has been put in place to face up to the situation, " yet local leaders were bracing for more pollution.

Michel Sammarcelli, the mayor of the coastal town of Cap Ferret, known for its oyster beds, said, "I think that the worst is still to come."

He told LCI television that "millions of small patches of oil are lying on our beaches." Cleanup will be painfully slow, he said, with no option other than to spear each viscous mound and dump it into collection bags.

Image Caption: French President Jacques Chirac gestures during a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris Friday Jan. 3, 2003. Chirac reacted angrily to the oil pollution on French coasts. French authorities closed some beaches to public access as gooey black patches of oil from the sunken tanker Prestige washed onto the country's southwestern coast. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

CHRISTINE OLLIVIER, Associated Press Writer, Chirac Vows Punishment Over Oil Spill., AP Online, 01-03-2003.

SAFETY AT SEA: MEPS CALL FOR A EUROPEAN COASTGUARD SERVICE

The European Parliament takes the view that Member States must be obliged to accommodate ships in distress. In this connection, the Commission is urged to strengthen existing legislation by presenting, as soon as possible, a proposal for the establishment of a mandatory system for the accommodation of ships in distress in ports of refuge or sheltered areas in all coastal Member States. In keeping with the position expressed when the Erika II legislative package was adopted, the Parliament wants the proposal to be accompanied by the introduction of a system of compensation for any resulting damage. Stressing the importance of Port State Control, the Parliament urges the Member States to meet the 25% target of Port State Control inspections as required by Directive 95/21/EC and presses the Commission to pursue Member States which continue to fall short of this target. The European Parliament also proposes that the EU should review the liability regime of those responsible within the shipping industry, in case of accidents, in particular as regards their financial liability, in order to have a full compensation. The scope of the forthcoming Directive on environmental liability should be extended to apply to cases of pollution, for example of maritime oil pollution, MEPs say. In view of the EU's oil supply requirements, the Parliament is reported to be concerned about the implications of the plan to accelerate the phase-out of single-hull tankers and ban single-hull tankers carrying heavy fuel from entering EU ports (see separate article). It points to the need to assess present double-hull oil tanker capacities so as to avoid the Union running short of oil transport capacities. The Commission is called on, as a matter of urgency, to consider using all the necessary financial instruments to tackle the economic, social and environmental consequences of the wreck of the "Prestige" and assist the economic sectors affected. Measures should be adopted immediately to alleviate the damage occasioned to those affected, through the use of the Solidarity Fund. Debates. The vote on the motion was preceded by a long-drawn-out debate the day before, when the focus was on the issues liability, phasing out single-hull tankers, flags of convenience and designating places of refuge for ships in distress. The Council of Ministers came in for a lot of flak about its responsibility for watering down the Erika I and III measures, particularly the timetable for phasing out single- hull vessels. Brian Simpson, on behalf of the PES group, spoke of the need to ban ships flying flags of convenience. Salvador Jove Peres (EUL/NGL) also focused on the idea of such a ban, suggesting that the Copenhagen Summit declaration did not go far enough on this issue. He attacked some Member States' relaxed attitude to these flags. Monica Frassoni (Greens/EFA) called for the adoption of two types of further measures, so as to step up ship inspections and restrict the size of tanker vessels for dangerous substances to a maximum 10,000 tonnes capacity. She also said the EU needs to have a financial liability system on the lines of the American one. Jose Ribeiro E. Castro (UEN) thinks measures should be adopted in the case of standards applied to vessels, legal standards for flags of convenience and the credibility of shipworthiness. As for Rijk van Dam (EDD), he stressed the issue of the EU's dependency on oil imports and said investment in renewable sources of energy would be one solution for reducing this dependency, as would the idea of transporting oil by pipeline. Other statement accentuated [END OF PREVIEW]

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Flags of Convenience.  (2003, June 15).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/flags-convenience/5740396

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"Flags of Convenience."  Essaytown.com.  June 15, 2003.  Accessed July 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/flags-convenience/5740396.