The United States’ Maritime Administration has officially cancelled a widely opposed study that sought to revisit the use of double hulled tankers more than 20 years after the passing of OPA 90, which of course led to the international phase out of single hull tankers.
In August, MARAD issued a surprising SOW (Statement of Work) listing to the Federal Business Opportunities website seeking a third party contractor for a study looking to answer the question of whether or not the added weight of double hulls (i.e. increased energy needed to propel them) justifies the lower risk of pollution from grounding. The listing created quite the uproar, and led many to question MARADs use of taxpayer dollars and reasoning for such a study in to be conducted in the first place.
Now, MARAD says it is officially scrapping the study saying only “This solicitation is being cancelled in its entirety at the convenience of the Government.”
As we know, the required phase out of single hull tankers began when the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) was signed into law and was largely in response to rising public concern following the Exxon Valdez disaster. The requirement was soon adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and became a worldwide regulation.