Oil Fuel Tank Requirements - MARPOL I Regulation 12A in Force

September 2007

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On 1 August 2007 an important amendment to Annex I of MARPOL came into force. New regulation 12A, on oil fuel tank protection, adopted by MEPC 54 on 24 March 2006, sets out the requirements concerning the location of oil fuel tanks in all ships with an aggregate oil fuel capacity of 600m3 and above and which are delivered on or after 1 August 2010. In this context, “ship delivered on or after 1 August 2010” also refers to a ship for which the building contract is placed on or after 1 August 2007 or, in the absence of a contract, its keel is laid on or after 1 February 2008. The new regulation will, therefore, be immediately applicable for all categories of ships “on the drawing board” with oil fuel tanks of 600 m3 capacity, or more.

In essence, the protection requirements oblige the oil fuel tanks to be located inside the double hull, thus helping prevent spillages of oil fuel in case of collision or grounding.

The new regulation 12A will thus close a gap in MARPOL Annex I which, while mandating strict hull standards for tankers of 600 tonnes dwt and above, had not yet addressed the issue of large ships, not necessarily oil tankers, which can carry as much as 5,000m3 of oil fuel, or above, which is more than the cargo carried by some smaller oil tankers. 

Based on IMO briefing 27/2007