Prevention of Pollution by Oil
Oil tankers transport some 1,800 million tonnes of crude oil around the world by sea including 50 percent of U.S. oil imports (crude oil and refined products). Most of the time, oil is transported quietly and safely.
Measures introduced by IMO have helped ensure that the majority of oil tankers are safely built and operated and are constructed to reduce the amount of oil spilled in the event of an accident. Operational pollution, such as from routine tank cleaning operations, has also been cut.
The most important regulations for preventing pollution by oil from ships are contained in Annex I of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto MARPOL 73/78.
Oil pollution – background.
The world's first oil tankers appeared in the late 19th century and carried kerosene for lighting, but the invention of the motor car fuelled demand for oil. During the Second World War, the standard oil tanker was the T2, 16,400 tonnes deadweight, but tankers grew rapidly in size from the 1950s onwards.
The first 100,000-tonne crude oil tanker was delivered in 1959 to cover the route from the Middle East to Europe round the Cape of Good Hope (thereby avoiding the Suez Canal which had been temporarily closed following political conflicts in 1956). Shippers saw economies of scale in larger tankers and by the mid-1960s, tankers of 200,000 tonnes deadweight- the Very Large Crude Carrier or VLCC - had been ordered. …
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