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    NEXT YEAR RUSSIA'S SEA FLEET WILL HAVE ONLY MODERN TANKERS

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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 29 (RIA NOVOSTI) - The new rules of the International Maritime Organization concerning the withdrawal from use of single-hull tankers will not tell on the operation of the Russian fleet, Vyacheslav Ruksha told the Moscow press conference on Thursday. He is the first deputy transport minister.

    He explained that, in line with the new rules, Category-1 single-hull tankers of 20,000-ton and more deadweight shall be removed from service before April 5, 2005. Category-2 and 3 tankers of between 5,000 and 20,000 deadweight shall be discarded at least by 2010.

    "An analysis of the Russian tanker fleet shows that the new international requirements actually entail no negative economic effects for Russian ship-owners," Ruksha said.

    Now five Russian shipping companies operate on the international market. Only four single-hull tankers, owned by the Novorossiisk sea shipping company (the Black sea), do not meet the new rules, Ruksha said. They will be removed from service before April 4, 2005.

    The deputy minister said that new state-of-the-art two-hull tankers will replace the out-of-service ones. All companies have established the safe-service control system, Ruksha said. "Safety and quality are the main principles of the tanker fleet of the Russian shipping companies," he emphasized.

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