The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko) has urged Gulf states to help to prevent marine oil pollution by building port facilities able to take the vessels’ dirty ballast. However, the Kuwait-based Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment says the high expense of loading arms, jetties and storage tanks is a big obstacle and Gulf states will need financing help from ship owners among others.

Only five out of 25 ports in the Gulf region have dirty ballast handling facilities, according to an Intertanko consultant. ‘The cost of oil transport at less than half a cent a litre is not enough to pay for the standard of pollution prevention and safety which the world demands,’ the consultant Philip Rankin told a conference on pollution in Kuwait in late January.