ROTTERDAM CUTS CHARGES FOR SAFER SUPERTANKERS

ROTTERDAM CUTS CHARGES FOR SAFER SUPERTANKERS

A supertanker equipped with segregated ballast tanks will save about $24,000 each time it calls at Rotterdam from next year, following the recently announced decision by the Dutch port to reduce charges for environmentally friendly ships.

The decision by Rotterdam, Europe's largest port, follows a long campaign by tanker owners to end discrimination against safer ships.Ships with segregated ballast tanks have been paying higher port dues than those without, even though the cargo carrying space is smaller, because port dues have been assessed on the basis of gross tonnage.

However, as of Jan. 1, oil tankers with segregated ballast tanks will benefit

from a 10 percent discount. This will amount to about $24,000 a call for a supertanker, said the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, which has been lobbying hard in support of financial concessions for environmentally safer ships from both ports and canals.

Intertanko welcomed the Rotterdam announcement as a step toward full implementation of the International Maritime Organization agreement to exclude the segregated ballast spaces when assessing port charges. Germany and Scandinavian countries already have adopted this principle. Tanker owners hope other ports will follow Rotterdam's example.

The saving from Rotterdam's new tariffs for a very large crude carrier completing five voyages a year between the Middle East and Rotterdam will be about $120,000.