A new amendment to MARPOL Annex 1 came into force on 1.8.07. New regulation 12A, on oil fuel tank protection, sets out the requirements concerning the location of oil fuel tanks in all ships with an aggregate oil fuel capacity of 600 cubic metres and above and which are delivered on or after 1.8.10, which term includes ships for which the building contract is placed on or after 1.8.07 or, in the absence of a contract, its keel is laid on or after 1.2.08. The new regulation will therefore be immediately applicable for all categories of ships on the drawing board with oil fuel tanks of the relevant capacity, or above.

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.