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February 12, 2002

EU may implement TBT ban early
Intertanko, the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, is trying to persuade the European Union not to impose new IMO rules on TBT-containing antifoulings before the new convention on the issue comes into force.

For many years a European Union (EU) directive on the sale and use of harmful chemical substances (directive 76/769) has been in force in Europe, but with an exemption for TBT on vessels in international trades. For a long time, therefore, the question has been: whether there would be an IMO agreement on a bansoon enough to prevent the EU from adding TBT to the rules of its previous directive on a regional basis.

At a hearing with industry in Brussels earlier this week,reports Intertanko, it again became clear that the EU wants to apply the new IMO rules (the Anti-fouling Convention) from January 1, 2003. Intertanko says the Convention is unlikely to have come into force by that time.

There is an important internal disagreement within the European Commission, says Intertanko.Some officials argue that a ban on TBT should be imposed on all vessels (irrespective of flag) trafficking in EU waters from next year whereas others - including the officials dealing with maritime transport - argue that such regional rules should at this stage only be applied to EU flagged vessels and that the rules should only be applicable to third country vessels when the Anti-fouling Convention comes into force.

It seems unlikely that application of the ban to EU vessels can be resisted. INTERTANKO will, however, raise its concerns over application of a regional ban to third country vessels at a meeting with the European Commission later this week.

Carnival wave bookings run ahead of capacity increases
With cruise lines adding new capacity at a rapid rate, even before September 11 it looked as though the industry might have trouble filling all the new berths it was bringing onto the market.

Now there's good news from the world's largest operator of cruise ships, Carnival Corporation. It reports that its net bookings during the first five weeks of "wave season" have increased 8 percent over the same period last year, compared to a 3 percent capacity increase for the first nine months of 2002. Carnival says pricing has also recovered from the significantly discounted prices experienced after the events of September 11, with pricing during recent weeks almost equal to last year's levels.

Because of the improved booking levels and pricing, the company now estimates that net revenue yields for the first quarter of 2002 will be down approximately 8 percent. This compares to the company's most recent guidance for the first quarter of a decrease in net yields of between 10 percent and 15 percent.

While cumulative advance booking levels and prices for the second through fourth quarters of 2002 are still below last year's levels, Carnival expects that net revenue yields for the remainder of 2002 should continue to improve compared to the first quarter.

"Although the booking curve continues to be very close-in, I am very pleased to see that the close-in pricing is above last year's levels," said Chairman and CEO Mickey Arison. "This gives me a great deal of optimism for the remainder of 2002, especially as we see the booking curve starting to move toward more historical patterns."