The U.S. Maritime Administration has withdrawn a solicitation for a study on the "safety, economic and environmental issues of vessels with double hulls."
Agency spokesman Michael Novak said the request "was allowed to expire due to lack of available funding and interest."
MarAd noted that following the Exxon Valdez
disaster, the passing of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 led to the requirement to replace single-hull petroleum tankers with double-hull tank vessels sailing in U.S. waters, a requirement that was later adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and became a worldwide regulation.
"This means that, today, tank vessels worldwide are carrying thousands of extra tons of steel in order to meet the double hull requirements," MarAd said in its original solicitation for companies to perform the study. "Though these double hulls reduce the threat of oil pollution as a result of grounding, they significantly increase the amount of energy needed to propel a vessel and increase the amount of air pollution into the atmosphere. As a result, the maritime industry’s carbon footprint and criteria pollutant emissions are increased."
Bill Box, a spokesman for the primary trade group for the tanker industry, Intertanko, told the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National
last month "from our members' experience, double-hull designs have evolved into safe and reliable ships with an excellent safety and pollution prevention record.”
He told American Shipper
Wednesday Intertanko had not contacted MarAd and did not know whether its statement played a role in its decision not to do the study. - Chris Dupin