The Spanish government has tightened its rules around ship-to-ship oil transfers after an uptick in the activity along its coastline.
Oil tankers seeking to carry out operations off the Mediterranean and Atlantic shores, even outside territorial waters, will have to seek authorization from the closest Spanish port captaincy, according to a new rule due to come into force 20 days after it was published on March 22.
Boats seeking to service these tankers loaded with crude oil, refined products or other chemicals will also have to request specific authorization, the rule said.
Fuel trading has been complicated by the Group of Seven industrialised nations’ imposition of a price cap on Russian oil in December and separate European Union measures to prohibit the import of Russian crude and oil products.
As a result, ship-to-ship opertations have become more common, but industry sources say they are also becoming an increasing safety concern.
Spanish authorities have intercepted in recent weeks several oil tankers suspected of spilling oil into the Meditarranean near Barcelona and off the Canary Islands.
(Reuters - Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Angus MacSwan)