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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 23:13 GMT
France intercepts oil tanker
Clean-up works at one of Spain's beaches
The Prestige spill has spurred the EU into action

The French navy has escorted an ageing Maltese-registered oil tanker away from the country's Atlantic coastline.

The Enalios Titan was carrying almost 90,000 tons of heavy fuel oil.

The vessel is a single-hulled tanker, similar to the Prestige, which sank off the coast of Spain two weeks ago, causing fuel to spill along the Spanish coast.

The interception came on the day that the European Commission published a blacklist of 66 ships which have failed to comply with international maritime safety rules.

The commission also proposed a ban on all single-hulled tankers carrying heavy fuel in European waters.

'Get-tough' policy

The 24-year-old Enalios Titan was escorted beyond France's 200 nautical mile economic exclusion zone.

According to a spokesman for the French maritime authorities, the tanker was considered a risk.

The ship had loaded in the Baltic port of Muuga and was heading for Singapore.

In the wake of the Prestige disaster, the European Commission has called for EU leaders to pass new maritime safety legislation at next week's Copenhagen summit.

The Enalios Titan is not on the blacklist of unsafe ships, but France is among a handful of EU countries applying unilateral get-tough policies on vessels they consider dangerous.

Last week, it demanded that the Estonian authorities carry out extra safety checks on another 26-year-old tanker due to pass through French waters on its way from Estonia to Singapore.

Spain's coast and maritime fauna are threatened by the oil spill from the break-up of the Prestige

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03 Dec 02 | Europe
21 Nov 02 | Europe
03 Dec 02 | Europe
01 Dec 02 | Europe
19 Nov 02 | Science/Nature
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