Victory for Solent Protection Society on single hull tankers

Posted on 04 Sep 2005

After a long crusade The Solent Protection Society has basic understanding from both the oil companies operating in Solent waters that they will use only double hull tankers, significantly diminishing the possibility of an oil spill in the Solent, which would have devastating consequences.

Solent Protection Society started its campaign against single hull tankers over two years ago. BP have used the safer double hull tankers at their Hamble terminal for some time now, and Exxon Mobil has recently confirmed its agreement to use only double hull tankers to ship crude oil in and out of the Solent.

Solent Protection Council Member, Tom Young, who spearheaded the campaign, said:

“We are delighted to receive this news from Exxon after our two year campaign to secure their agreement to do so. They have confirmed that this year their shipments of crude oil have all been carried out in double hull tankers but, when we first approached them, they were covering nearly 20% of their requirements in single hull tankers, although they agreed that double hull tankers did offer greater environmental protection in the event of a collision or grounding.

“Exxon Mobil claim they still wish to retain their right to use single hull tankers in the Solent, which is their legal entitlement until 2010. In the unlikely event that they do have to use a single hull tanker, we have requested that they provide an extra escort tug, and await their response to this request. Solent Protection are grateful to all those who have helped and supported our campaign.”

Andrew Turner, MP for the Isle of Wight, welcomed information that Exxon Mobil are no longer using single hulled tankers for oil movements in the Solent.

Mr Turner said:

“I congratulate the Solent Protection Society on achieving this understanding with a major oil company. The Solent is an important and unique stretch of water that must be protected for future generations. It has always been a busy waterway and over recent years the number of larger cruise liners, containers and car carriers has increased significantly which of course brings a higher risk of collision.

“This is an example where quiet but persistent lobbying by a voluntary group has achieved real and quantifiable results. There have been no oil movements in single hulled tankers at all this year in the Solent, which must be good news for the local marine environment. I also applaud Exxon Mobil for putting a potential risk to the environment before profit.”