Federal Legislation to Speed Phase-Out of Single-Hulled Tankers Backed By Jean-Michel Cousteau, Ocean Futures Society

(SANTA BARBARA, CA): New federal legislation to speed the phase-out of aging, single-hulled tankers and protect America’s coastal shorelines has received strong support from ocean advocate and explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau and Ocean Futures Society.

Cousteau praised the legislation, sponsored by U.S. Cong. Lois Capps, D-CA, as "an inspiration for significant legislation globally to protect the ocean, marine species and humanity." He urged quick action by the U.S. Congress to enact Capps' bill.

"It is absolute nonsense to allow these aged vessels, which for the most part have been paid for several times over, to continue to sail the seas and put the world at risk," Cousteau said. "Toxic oil spills, which are the inevitable result of reliance on single-hulled tankers, are not only environmental disasters, but catastrophes for the social, economic and cultural fabric of humankind."

Under Capps' legislation, called the Stop Oil Spills (S.O.S.) Act, single-hulled tankers would be phased out by 2007, approximately three to eight years sooner than current federal law. The legislation would also: reinstate an expired user fee on oil transported by single-hulled tankers to the U.S. for an insurance pool to fund environmental clean-ups and restrict single-hulled tankers to an area 100 miles from U.S. shores unless accompanied by a response vessel.

"Ocean Futures Society and I strongly support these measures as the minimum a country should do to protect itself," Cousteau said. "If we protect the ocean, we protect ourselves."

Cousteau, who recently returned from filming the massive Prestige oil spill off the coast of Spain and France, said world leaders should phase out single-hulled tankers as quickly as possible and create well-equipped, rapid response units around the globe to instantly address a toxic spill on the ocean. The Prestige oil spill is still spewing 150 tons of oil per day along the European coastline and is expected to continue through 2006.
"The Prestige spill, which is more than twice the size of the Exxon Valdez spill 13 years ago in Alaska, has already cost $1 billion, killed tens of thousands of marine and wildlife species, and destroyed the way of life of countless people in Europe," Cousteau said. "There are dozens of other spills around the world that get less attention, but do the same kind of damage and it must be stopped."

Cousteau noted that there are approximately 3,500 single-hulled tankers still transporting chemicals and oil on the world's ocean.
Through Ocean Futures Society, Cousteau continues to produce environmentally oriented programs and television specials, public service announcements, multi-media programs for schools, web-based marine content, books, articles for magazine and newspaper columns, and public lectures, reaching millions of people all over the world. He also meets with world leaders and policymakers, both at the grassroots level and the highest echelons of government and business, seeking positive change and hope for the ocean.

The mission of Ocean Futures Society is to explore our global ocean, inspire and educate people throughout the world to act responsibly for its protection, documenting the critical connection between humanity and nature, and celebrating the ocean's vital importance to the survival of all life on our planet. Ocean Futures Society is based in Santa Barbara, CA. For more information about the endeavors of Ocean Futures Society and Jean-Michel Cousteau, visit their website at www.oceanfutures.org.

For more information on the Stop Oil Spills (S.O.S.) Act, visit: http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/ca23_capps/pr030224oilpresser.html